How hard is it to copy files from XP to Vista?

March 9, 2011

Bloody hard!

I’ve just been through an unbelievable process to copy files from my Windows XP computer to my Vista laptop. You’d think this would be easy, right? I have a wired network and all the computers can see each other. I have full ownership and admin rights on each computer, and have shared several folders on each computer so that I can copy files easily from one computer to another without dropping them on to a server drive or a thumb drive and double-handling them that way.

Well, I wanted to copy some PDFs over to the laptop to read while I’m on the road for the WritersUA conference. I could see each drive so I just grabbed the files on my XP machine and tried to paste them to the Vista laptop. I got an ‘access denied’ message. What the…?

So I checked all the permissions and sharing permissions and security for each folder and everything said I had full permission to do anything. But I still couldn’t copy from the XP machine to the Vista laptop (‘push’). Next I tried accessing the XP files from the Vista laptop (‘pull’), but I kept getting a ‘Destination Folder Access Denied’ message.

Off to the internet, where I found and tried several solutions on the Windows Vista Forums site (see http://www.vistaforums.com/destination-folder-access-denied-t1585.html). On page 2 I found the solution that worked for me, from a user named gaj90027. His or her instructions didn’t quite match what I saw or had to do, but after a bit of trial and error I got it to work. Thanks gaj90027!

Here’s what worked for me (these instructions assume you have full permissions and admin rights on both the XP and Vista computers):

  1. Go to the Windows XP computer.
  2. Select all the files you want to copy (Hint: Put them in a single folder).
  3. Right-click on the selected files, then select Properties.
  4. Click the Security tab.
  5. Select your name from the list of user names.
  6. Click Advanced.
  7. On the Advanced Security Settings dialog box, make sure you’re on the Permissions tab.
  8. Select your user name again.
  9. Select the Inherit from parent… check box.
  10. Click OK then click OK again to close all open dialog boxes.
  11. Try copying the file over to the Vista machine — it should work now. If it doesn’t, go to the Forum links above and try some of the other suggested solutions (there are five pages of suggestions… and rants about this ridiculous situation).

It shouldn’t be this hard! I’m a bit of a geek, so fiddling around in the security and permission settings doesn’t daunt me, but I know plenty of people who would be scared to go in here — they just want to shift a file from computer A to computer B without any hassle! I’ll repeat — it shouldn’t be this hard!!

Of course, one thing I could have done was copy the files onto a thumb drive then plugged the thumb drive in and copy/pasted them from there. That works. But seriously, that’s like the old ‘sneaker net’. And what if the two machines are nowhere near each other? They could be separated by cubicle partitions or even large oceans.

Note: Copying the files from my XP machine to the server, then copying them from the server to the laptop worked without any problem. But why should I have to do that sort of double-handling?

[Links last checked March 2011]

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