Installing Security Configuration Manager from SP4 Changes Windows NT 4.0 ACL Editor

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After you install Security Configuration Manager for Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4, the Access Control List (ACL) editor is modified.


Because Security Configuration Manager was originally designed for Windows 2000, the Windows 2000 ACL Inheritance infrastructure was also back-ported to Windows NT 4.0 and is available when the Security Configuration Manager is installed. This is most readily apparent when setting security through Windows NT Explorer after Security Configuration Manager is installed. When the Security tab is selected from a file system object's Properties dialog box, the Windows 2000 ACL Editor is exposed on the Windows NT 4.0 computer.


The Windows 2000 ACL inheritance model is characterized most significantly by its dynamic rather than static nature. By default, permissions on child objects are automatically inherited from their parent. This is specified by the check box labeled Allow Inheritable Permissions from the parent to propagate to this object available on the first page of the ACL Editor dialog box. When checked, the inheritable permissions defined on the parent object are automatically applied to the child object and cannot be changed at the child object.

The degree to which a permission is inheritable is defined by the Apply To dialog box exposed on the Advanced page of the ACL Editor dialog. For example, assume the following directory structure:

If the Everyone group has Full Control permissions on the Parent directory and these permissions apply to this folder, subfolders and files, Everyone will also have Full Control on the Child directory as long as the Child directory Allows inheritable permissions from parent to propagate to this object. This permission on the Child directory cannot be modified on the Child object itself as long as the Allow inheritable permissions from parent to propagate to this object is checked. If permissions on the Parent are changed so that Everyone has Read Only, this modification will also impact the Child directory automatically. If the inheritance properties for the Everyone group is modified on the Parent directory so that the permission apply only to this folder, Everyone will automatically be removed from the Child directory.

An administrator can define additional permissions on a child object beyond those that are automatically being inherited. Such permissions are called Explicit and can be modified on the child object itself at any time.

If an administrator does not want a child object to inherit from its parent, then the Allow inheritable permissions from parent to propagate to this object should be cleared. When cleared, the child object is said to be Protected. At the time the child object is protected, the ACL editor will ask the administrator what should be done with the permissions that are currently being inherited. These inherited permissions can be copied to the child object or removed altogether. When an object is protected, it contains only Explicit permissions. Note that the child objects with Windows NT 4.0-style permissions that are not consistent with the inheritable permissions defined on the parent are automatically protected under the new ACL inheritance.

Security Configuration Manager allows administrators to override the normal behavior of the ACL inheritance model by specifying that all child objects of a given object should be reconfigured whether they are protected or not. In fact, this is the only mode of operation that is supported in the Windows NT 4.0 version of Security Configuration Manager and is specified by selecting the Overwrite radio button when defining the security of a File System or Registry object through Security Configuration Manager.

In Overwrite mode, all children of the specified object are set to inherit from the object whose security is being defined. To specify different security settings for child objects, those child objects must be explicitly added to the security configuration file. These child objects may be protected, in which case the object is not impacted by the security of its parent, or the child objects may inherit, in which case additional explicit permissions may be defined on the child object. Finally, for child objects that the administrator does not wish to touch, those child objects should be added to the security configuration file with the Ignore, rather than Overwrite, attribute.

SCM is available for download and in the Mssce folder on your Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 CD-ROM. For more information on downloading SCM, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

195227 SP4 Security Configuration Manager Available for Download

Known Issues with the New Permissions Editor

  • The new Permissions Editor is not exposed when using Regedt32.exe; however, it is used by Security Configuration Manager when configuring security for registry keys.
  • Permissions edited using the new editor are not viewable using the old editor. This is because the old editor is limited in terms of its capabilities to display and edit different kinds of valid permissions. The old editor works only with permissions that are very simple or have been edited using itself.

Uninstalling the New Permissions Editor

Uninstalling the new Permissions Editor is not recommended because it will render Security Configuration Manager nonfunctional. If you must uninstall it, perform the following steps:

  1. Go to the %windir%\System32.
  2. Rename Rshx32_5.dll to Rshx32_5.sav.
  3. Rename Rshx32.dll to Rshx32_5.dll.
Start Windows NT Explorer and look at the properties on an NTFS file or folder. The old Permissions Editor should appear on the Security tab.

After reinstalling the old editor, you must examine the security on all files and folders that you may have edited with the new editor. This will display an error message stating that the permissions are not viewable and will give you the opportunity to reset them and redefine new permissions.


Article ID: 195509 - Last Review: October 11, 2013 - Revision: 2.2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4
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