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Controling Windows XP File Permissions

Windows XP has "hidden" the fine control of file permissions which was available in Windows 2000 behind something called Simple File Sharing. These instructions tell you how to get back full control of file permissions.
Last updated: 23 September 2011

In Windows 2000 it was possible to have complete control of access to files and folders by other users on the same computer. While this is still possible in Windows XP, the default is to hide this from the user and instead use something called Simple File Sharing. This is a good thing for most casual users, but for those who want complete control of file access permissions, here is how to enable it:

  1. Go to the Control Panel, by pressing the "Start" button and selecting the "Control Panel" item.

  2. Select "Appearance and Themes" and then "Folder Options"

  3. Under the "View" tab find the list of "Advanced settings" and scroll down to the item "Use simple file sharing (recommended)". It's probably at the very bottom of the list. Uncheck this item.
By the way, if you really prefer the look and feel of Windows 2000 then in the top level of the control panel you can select the item "Switch to Classic View". In this view the "Folder Option" item will be one of the many items in the single control panel folder.


  1. Microsoft Corporation, How to configure file sharing in Windows XP , http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;304040
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