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How inheritance affects file and folder permissions

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

How inheritance affects file and folder permissions

After you set permissions on a parent folder, new files and subfolders that are created in the folder inherit these permissions. If you do not want them to inherit permissions, select This folder only in Apply onto when you set up special permissions for the parent folder. In cases where you want to prevent only certain files or subfolders from inheriting permissions, right-click the file or subfolder, click Properties, click the Security tab, click Advanced, and then clear the Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here. check box.

If the check boxes appear shaded, the file or folder has inherited permissions from the parent folder. There are three ways to make changes to inherited permissions:

  • Make the changes to the parent folder, and then the file or folder will inherit these permissions.

  • Select the opposite permission (Allow or Deny) to override the inherited permission.

  • Clear the Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here. check box. You can then make changes to the permissions or remove the user or group from the permissions list. However, the file or folder will no longer inherit permissions from the parent folder.

In most cases, Deny overrides Allow unless a folder is inheriting conflicting settings from different parents. In that case, the setting inherited from the parent closest to the object in the subtree will have precedence.

Only inheritable permissions are inherited by child objects. When setting permissions on the parent object, you can decide whether folders or subfolders can inherit them with Apply onto. For more information, see Selecting where to apply permissions.

You can find out what permissions a user or group has on an object with the Effective Permissions tool.

For more information, see Set, view, change, or remove permissions on files and folders.

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