Windows Server 2016: Assigning Permissions to Folders & Files

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Conor O'Nolan

Conor has a masters in electronic arts. He's been programming since 1981 and created games, apps and websites.

Windows Server 2016 has permissions at share level and NTFS or file system level. By using both techniques, we can guarantee strong security in the company. This lesson will explain the permissions of architecture and their assigning methods. Updated: 04/10/2022

Windows Server 2016 Permissions

Windows Server 2016 has permission at share level and file system level, otherwise known as NTFS. Let's take a look at them one by one as we move through this lesson. Traditionally, Windows systems provided access permissions based on share permissions. They manage user access to shared folders on a network, but not for files locally on the machine or local users. Share permissions apply to all sub-folders and files within a folder. With this technique, restricting access to specific files is impossible, unless the file is in a folder with its own set of permissions on a shared drive.

Share permissions have three types of share:

  1. Read: This involves viewing files and sub-folders and reading data in those files
  2. Change: This involves users adding and deleting files, sub-folders, or even changing the data
  3. Full Control: This is the default administrators role which allows change to NTFS permissions

NTFS permissions are for the file system used in Windows systems since Windows NT 3.1. Because it's based on the file system, it offers granular control of who can access the file. As a consequence, it requires more administration or operational processing compared to share permissions.

NTFS permissions apply to users locally on the machine as well as for the network users. The set of permissions granted to users when they log in to their Windows system and also applies to individuals.

NTFS permissions have five basic types of permission:

  1. Write: This edits a file or adds files in a folder
  2. Read: This views files, folders, and their properties
  3. Read & Execute: This reads files and runs executable scripts
  4. Modify: This views, modifies, adds, and deletes files and their properties
  5. Full Control: This adds, modifies, and deletes folders and files and changes their permissions

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Coming up next: Establishing & Configuring NTFS Permissions in Windows Server 2016

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  • 2:10 Share vs NFTS
  • 3:02 Inheritance
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Share vs NTFS

The two types of permission are not competing in nature; rather, they are complimentary. However, there is scope for confusion when assigning these permissions. For any file or folder, the most restrictive permission is the one that overrides the other. For example, a folder with share permission set to ''Read'' overrides an NTFS permission that was set to ''Modify.''

There are a few other differences to consider:

  1. Drives on FAT and FAT32 systems can use share permissions (although these are less likely to be encountered)
  2. Share permissions allow a restriction on the number of users of a folder, while NTFS doesn't
  3. We can access share permissions in the ''advanced sharing'' under ''permissions'' tab. We configure NTFS permissions under the ''security'' tab of any file or folder properties.


Inheritance, with respect to permissions, means that a folder or directory within a parent folder has the same permissions as the parent folder. This inheritance applies to all the files within sub-folders and nested folders.

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