Friday, February 05, 2010

Access denied: VMWare Shared Folders on Windows 7

Between Dell machines shipping with motherboard disconnected SATA cables, a Clampi Trojan on my Windows 2003 server, a mysteriously vanished backup [1], Windows 2003 blue screening on a new Dell workstation, a failed Acronis disk image and the horror of 64 bit Windows 7 it's been another fun week in tech.

Today was a bit better. I installed VMWare Player on a 64bit Windows machine and created a 32 bit Windows 2003 VM - giving it all four cores and 3GB of memory. After VMWare tools installed and I enabled hardware graphics acceleration it felt faster than on the prior 3 yo workstation lost to the wretched corporate refresh cycle.

Mostly easy, until I dealt with the second drive in the box. Even after I used shared folders to map to drive E:, and the ancient DOS subst command to assign a drive letter to the shared folder, I still couldn't write to the new shared folder. I could read, but I couldn't delete anything. If I tried, I got an "access denied" message.

Worse, it seemed I could write to the drive, but the data wasn't there. VMWare showed files as having been copied, but in Win 7 they weren't there. On restart the VM didn't see them either.

The fix was to right click the drive letter in Windows 7, choose properties then security, and allow "EVERYONE" full control of the E: Drive. Then Windows 2003 in the VM could read and write.

I suspect there's a less severe fix. After I left work it occurred to me that I should study the read/write permissions on the C: drive. I suspect the vmware_user (__vmware_user__) group has special privileges on that drive, I just need to study them and replicate them for the E: and F: drives.

I'll update this post with what I find.

PS. It's unnerving that my Google searches really didn't turn up anything useful on this topic!

[1] Retrospect Pro backup on external drive. It vanished! Dir *.* and Attrib *.* showed nothing with 325 GB used. Retrospect could find the files though -- it restored from the backup drive.
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1 comment:

Brian Allred said...

I found this old post when I was searching for causes of the same problem I was having. For me, it turned out that I was trying to copy over the top of a read-only file. It was annoying that the only clue I got was the "Access denied" message, rather than an explanation that the file was read-only.
I don't know if this will get posted twice. I attempted once but got no feedback.