Tech Docs: XP Permissions

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One of the many features in Windows XP is a full security system and that's something new to many users.  You might use XP and never be aware of the security features.  If you don't take advantage of XP's ability to define multiple users and keep their settings and files separate from each other, you won't run into security issues; you don't need to read any further!  If you do set up multiple users on an XP computer, and security is not set correctly, you will immediately encounter problems running Facil. 

Having a problem installing Facil on XP?

Log in as the Administrator or a user with Administrator privileges to do the installation.  Every system must have at least one user with Administrator privileges; XP won't allow you to delete the last Administrator.  If you try to install while logged in as a user who is not an Administrator, you may not be able to complete the installation or other users may not be able to use Facil.

Facil Won't Run For Other Users...

You may complete the installation, and be able to use Facil successfully, and then a problem occurs when another user tries to run Facil.  Two error messages appear:

On startup - "Unexpected Error in form fsubRefHelpDef: F_UpdateCombinedHelp!
Error # 3086, Couldn't delete from specified tables."

And then when you select a Facil user - "Unexpected Error in F_Login. Error # 3027, Can't Update. Database object is read-only"

The issue is that only Administrator level users have permission to modify the files in the Facil program directory (usually "Program Files\Facil").  Because the Facil program file is itself a database, the information in it changes every time you use it.  This is different than most software where the program itself never changes.

Choosing A Solution

There are two possible solutions to the problem, one that preserves security and one that does not.  The secure solution is recommended, if it's available to you.

The insecure solution is to just make everyone who uses Facil an Administrator.  The down side of this is that when everyone is an Administrator, there is no security because they can change permissions, access any file, install software, etc.  For some small organizations, this is acceptable - many used older versions of Windows that had no security at all.  Even if everyone has Administrator privileges, setting up multiple users is still an advantage, because they can have separate desktop settings, document directories, etc. 

The secure solution lets you choose which users can run Facil and still retains complete security. However, this option may not be available to you...

  • if you are using XP Home edition.  Detailed security settings are not available in Home; that's one of the differences between XP Home and XP Professional. 

  • if you are not using the NTFS file system.  The "file system" is the part of the operating system that reads, writes, and controls access to files on your computer.  NTFS is the newer, secure file system.  If you bought a computer with XP on it, or if you wiped clean your hard drive on an older computer before installing XP, you probably are running NTFS.  If you installed XP over an existing version of Windows, you may be running the FAT32 file system, which has no security capabilities.  Click on My Computer, then right click on "Local disk C:", and select Properties.  The third line down is labeled "File System" and names NTFS or FAT32.

    If you are running FAT32, you may want to convert to NTFS regardless of security - it is a faster and more reliable file system.  For instructions on converting to the NTFS file system, click here.

Choose the insecure fix if...

  • you have XP Home and don't want to upgrade to XP Professional.

  • you are running FAT32 and don't want to change over to NTFS.

  • you don't care that much about security between different users of the computer.  It will still be secure from the public - anyone who doesn't have a user account and password.

Choose the secure fix if...

  • you're running XP Professional and the NTFS file system.

  • you want to maintain security between users on the computer.

The Insecure Fix

Change all accounts for Facil users to Administrator level accounts, then all the users will have complete privileges to do anything on the computer.  Here's how...

  • Click Start and select the Control Panel.

  • In Control Panel, select User Accounts.

  • In User Accounts, "pick a task" to Change an Account.

  • The Change an Account window shows all accounts - notice that below the user name some say Computer Administrator, others say Limited Account.

  • Select the user who is a Limited Account and the question "What do you want to change..." appears.

  • Click "change the account type".

  • "Pick a new account type" appears.  Select Administrator and click the "Change Account Type" button.

  • Repeat for each Limited user account.  On the left, under Related Tasks, click "Change another account", select the next account, and change its type.

  • Close the windows when all accounts for Facil users have the type Computer Administrator.

The Secure Fix

Grant specific users permission to modify files in the Facil Program directory.  Here's how...

  • Click Start, then My Computer

  • Double click Local Drive C.

  • Double click the Program Files folder.

  • Find the Facil folder in Program Files.

  • RIGHT click on the Facil folder and select Properties.

  • The Properties dialog should have four tabs - General, Sharing, Security, and Customize.  If there is no Security tab, you will need to follow the instructions below for "Turning Off Simple File Sharing", then continue from this point.

  • Select the Security tab.  The upper part of the form shows the list of "Groups or user names".  The lower part shows the Permissions for the group or user currently selected in the upper list.  Scroll through the list of users and, for each user who will use Facil, check the box "Allow" on the row labeled "Modify".  I.e., this user is now allowed to modify files in this folder.

  • Repeat for each Facil user on the list, then click OK.

Turning Off Simple File Sharing

If you don't see the Security tab when you view the Properties of the Facil program folder, this means that "Simple File Sharing" is in effect.  This is a setting that hides the Security controls; assumedly to make XP easier to use.  To turn it off...

  • In My Computer, select the Tools menu, and then Folder Options.

  • In the Folder Options dialog, select the View tab.

  • In the Advanced Settings list, scroll to the bottom and locate "Use simple file sharing".  Remove the check from that box and click OK.

The Security tab will now be available in the Folder Properties dialog.


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