Puzzling "Z:\ is unavailable. ..." mesasage


  1. Posts : 720
    Win10 x64 Pro - 2 desktops, 2 laptops
       #1

    Puzzling "Z:\ is unavailable. ..." mesasage


    I keep a set of setup and configuration files on a NAS drive mapped to drive letter Z:. And I have some programs that configuration files in system folders - Firefox references a user-provided "Distribution" folder in its Program Files folder; OpenVPN has (or had) a user-modified "Config" file in its Program Files folder.

    Copying these files presents no problem on 4 of my computers, but on a new Dell laptop I get a "Z:\ is unavailable. ..." message when I try copying into system files. I get the expected message requiring Admin access, but after giving permission I get that "unavailable" message. I get around this by first copying the data into a non-system folder on my C: drive and then copying from there into the system folder. This gets the job done, but the extra step is irritating because it provides no extra security and because it's not necessary on my other computers.

    All the computers are running Win 10 20H2. And just to be sure, I just copied from my Z: drive into Program Files with no problem on one of the 4 older computers so I know it's not some recent maintenance that's preventing the copy.

    This feels like a permissions issue but the error message does look like a permissions error. I don't recall doing anything on my other computers that circumvented this. Is it a special Dell "feature"? Is there any way around it?
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  2. Posts : 9,746
    Mac OS Catalina
       #2

    What in the world are you trying to do with copying into system folders. You will always break the OS. There is no special Dell feture stopping you, it is the OS trying to stop you from breaking it.
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  3. Posts : 720
    Win10 x64 Pro - 2 desktops, 2 laptops
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Sorry, but I gave 2 very legitimate examples of copying into system folders.

    Firefox looks for a "Distribution" folder in its Program Files folder and reads policy files from it if present. Every update deletes the folder so it has to be copied back. (Group Policies can apparently be used for the same purpose, but I haven't tried that yet.)

    OpenVPN comes with a skeleton Config folder in its Program Files folder. It requires that a Cert file and a Config file be added (manually) by the user. No utility is provided for this; the user copies the contents there. The latest version of OpenVPN allows this config folder to be put in the user's AppData folder but all previous versions required the copy into Program Files. (And anyway, I think I ran into the same problem copying into AppData. I can't check right now because I don't have access to the laptop.)

    All that is a side issue. I'm able to do these copies on 4 computers. I'm not allowed to on the new Dell. I know that it is something in Windows, not Dell code, that is preventing the copy, but I think it's something that Dell set in its OEM installation of Wiindows. I suspect I could get around the problem by doing a clean install of Windows, but I'd much rather just change change some permissions, etc.

    - - - Updated - - -

    A little more information:
    • This error message appears only when adding a file, not when replacing it. (There is, of course, still the UAC prompt.)
    • The source and destination permissions are the same (as near as I can tell) on both the computers without this problem and the computer with the problem.
    • For a test I disabled my security package (Kaspersky Internet Security) but that made no difference. I didn't expect it to since I've tried to configure it the same on all computers, and since there was no security violation logged.
    • There is no record logged in the Windows Even Log at the time of the attempted copy.
    • There is a WLAN event ID 4003 logged when the laptop establishes a connection with my router, (At least I assume that's when it happens.)
      Event ID: 4003 Source: Microsoft-Windows-WLAN-AutoConf

    I'll look into this error.
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  4. Posts : 720
    Win10 x64 Pro - 2 desktops, 2 laptops
    Thread Starter
       #4

    I'd like to resurrect this thread, get it back on topic, and provide more accurate information.

    I have (at least) 3 products that save configuration data in their "Program Files" folders. When doing a clean Windows reinstall or move to a new computer I have to manually copy these configuration files into the Program Files folders. (I know this is probably in violation of Windows rules, and 2 of the products provide alternative techniques for saving config data, but this technique is supported by the products and is an easy technique.) I keep a copy of the config data files on a NAS drive mapped to drive letter Z..

    On 3 of my 4 computers (and on an old decommissioned computer) this caused no problem at all, but on a new laptop I am not allowed to do this copy. The copy starts fine, reading the directory and determining how many files to copy and then giving me the (expected) UAC prompt, but then I get the attached error popup
    Puzzling "Z:\  is unavailable. ..." mesasage-copy-failure.png
    This message is obviously not correct. The copy process read the source directory and determined the number of files to copy. And the work-around is to copy the config files into a non-system temporary folder (which works file) and then copying from that intermediate folder into Program Files. The only problem seems to be copying directly from the NAS into a folder that Windows considers its own (I guess).

    Contrary to what I said a month ago, this error happens for both the initial copy and on replacements.

    I would be irritated, but not surprised, if this happened on all my computers, but I'm confused that it is only on this new laptop. And I'm a bit worried that the error message displayed is the wrong one ... unless the copy is happening under an ID that does not have the Z: drive letter mapped to this NAS drive.

    BTW, all the computers are running Win 10 Pro 20H2 and all are running the same security package (Kaspersky Internet Security 2021).
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  5. Posts : 1,746
    Windows 10 Pro x64 22H2
       #5

    "Program Files" folders are protected folders.

    Are you copying with elevated privileges?
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  6. Posts : 720
    Win10 x64 Pro - 2 desktops, 2 laptops
    Thread Starter
       #6

    zebal said:
    "Program Files" folders are protected folders.
    Are you copying with elevated privileges?
    Well, I guess it depends on exactly what you are asking. The account has administrative privileges and I get the UAC prompt asking for permission (which I give). This is the case on both the computers where it works and the one where it fails.

    If you are asking if I'm copying via something invoked by "Run as administrator", then no, I'm not using elevated privileges.
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  7. Posts : 6,181
    Windows 11 Pro - Windows 7 HP - Lubuntu
       #7

    On the Dell, I suppose that you mapped the path to the drive on your NAS and assigned a letter Z: to it.
    Is Z:\ shown on Explorer?
    Files on Z: has a owner. Do you have access to them?
    Last edited by Megahertz; 28 Mar 2021 at 15:30.
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  8. Posts : 366
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #8

    One thing I might try is to disconnect and then remap the Z: drive. I worked at a company that had a simple file server set up that all the computers would connect to. Ive had weird errors when trying to access or copy from the shared drive which was mapped as Z:. I found that more often than not, doing what I described would fix the issue. Why? No idea. I just know that it did.

    Give it a try. See what happens.
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  9. Posts : 720
    Win10 x64 Pro - 2 desktops, 2 laptops
    Thread Starter
       #9

    Megahertz said:
    On the Dell, I suppose that you mapped the path to the drive on your NAS and assigned a letter Z: to it.
    Is Z:\ shown on Explorer?
    Files on Z: has a owner. Do you have access to them?
    Yes, I have access to them. As I said, I have no problem if I first copy the files to a (local) intermediate folder.

    However, I checked permissions of one of the config files and the results seem odd. At the file level the permissions are the same on both the Dell and the other computers:
    Group or User names:
    Everyone
    guest (Unix Group\guest)
    guest (OF-PUB-NAS1\guest)

    "Everyone" has Read and Write permissions.

    But if I go up a level the folder permissions are different.
    On other computers it's the same as the file permissions:
    Group or User names:
    Everyone
    guest (Unix Group\guest)
    guest (OF-PUB-NAS1\guest)

    "Everyone" has Read and Write permissions.

    On the Dell:
    Group or User names:
    S-1-0-0
    Everybody
    guest (OF-PUB-NAS1\guest)

    "S-1-0-0" has "Special" permissions.
    "Everyone" has "Special" permissions (no Read and Write)

    I then looked at the permissions on a top-level (i.e., not in a folder) file on the NAS.
    On the Dell (and 2 other computers):
    Group or User names:
    Everyone
    guest (Unix Group\guest)
    guest (OF-PUB-NAS1\guest)

    "Everyone" has Read and Write permissions.

    On one of the other computers
    Group or User names:
    Account Unknown(S-1-0-0)
    Everyone
    guest (OF-PUB-NAS1\guest)

    But "S-1-0-0" has Read and Write permissions so everything works

    I'm guessing my problem is related to the "special" rather than Read and Write permissions at the folder level on the Dell (even though the permissions at the file level seem OK).

    ArazelEternal said:
    One thing I might try is to disconnect and then remap the Z: drive.
    ... Give it a try. See what happens.
    Thanks for the suggestion, but it didn't work.










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