Transferring Ownership of Files: Good or Bad?

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 11 May 2005 / Last Updated on 11 May 2005]

Windows Server 2003 lets you easily transfer ownership of files, but should you?

Windows NT/2000 let you allow someone to ownership of a file you created but you couldn't give (assign) them ownership of the file. Windows Server 2003 changed this and the GUI now lets you assign ownership of a file to someone else quite easily. In fact though, even on NT/2000 you could do this provided you were willing to get down and dirty into the command line and use a rather complex little Resource Kit tool called subinacl.

 

The question is however, now that it's easy to transfer ownership of files as administrator, should you do it? Your company's privacy policy may prevent you, as administrator, from viewing users' files without their knowledge, so don't go around taking ownership without first obtaining proper consent or informing management of the reasons for your action. Technically, you can easily cover your tracks when snooping around users' home directories like this, but legally, you may be on dangerous ground if you do so without proper permission.

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