Reader Challenge March 2011

My mailbox has a number of queries with the same general question, and I file them under the heading, "The mystery of an inaccessible file." The text in the e-mail goes something like this: "I tried to open a file in a shared folder and received the message 'Access Is Denied.' My IT department says the folder has been configured for full permissions for me and nobody can explain why I cannot open the file."

What's the most common reason for this scenario?

A. The permissions for Full Control are local, not for the Domain.

B. The file was encrypted by another user.

C. The file is password protected.

D. The file is marked Read Only.


B. An encrypted file is only accessible to the person who encrypted the file. It doesn't matter what permissions are attached to the file or to the folder it resides in. To see if the file is encrypted open the folder in Windows Explorer or My Computer and select Detail in the View menu. Click Choose Columns in the View menu and add the Attributes column. If you see an "E", the file is encrypted.

How to Play

Solve this month's UPDATE challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by March 22, 2011. You MUST include your full name, street mailing address (no P.O. Boxes), and a telephone number in the body text of your e-mail (no embedded graphics or attached datafiles). Without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it’s correct.

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I’m a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance.

Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for an email receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem here in a month.

February 2011 Reader Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Toby Adams of Wisconsin, the winner of our February 2011 Reader Challenge. The prize is a copy of Windows 7 Administrator's Pocket Consultant from O'Reilly Media (

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