Windows 10, external hard drive lockout?

So I have an external hard drive, which I have never set up a username or password for so I can access it from any computer I want. So far I have been able to, but recently it has decided that I need admin permission to access anything. I cannot get into the files or change anything in properties and security, as I need admin permission for that as well. I'm using Windows 10 right now (a library computer), and again have never set up an admin username or password. Any ideas as to how to get access again?

3 Answers

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  • 3 months ago

    when you FORMAT a PARTITION on a drive, then you are putting a Filing System onto the partition. if you use FAT32 filing system then your files do not have any special security features and anyone can see them change them or create and delete them. If you format a partition using NTFS, then each file/folder has USER credentials attached to it. this means only the creator of a particular file can decide who or which users can see the files/edit/create/delete/execute etc any file from within a folder. So that is all controlled by the OS thats looking at the drive. Library pc's also have full USER LOGIN details and can prevent attached rives from even opening in my_computer. These rules can be independently configured by the library to prevent spread of computer viruses.

  • Adrian
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    If using an external HDD formatted NTFS (but not FAT32) on different computers, the PC it was originally used on has set all the security identifiers on all the files. When you move the HDD to another machine, it cannot understand which users have which access, because it does not recognize the security identifiers. Hence it asks for Admin rights to be able to write to the drive.

    Usually you can still read the HDD on any other machine. This is why FAT32 is often used for external HDD, it does not carry those security identifiers, making the HDD usable across multiple PCs.

    Another factor may be that the Library PCs have registry entries set to disable external USB devices. This is commonly done to prevent loading of viruses, etc. on the Library machines. Thus your external HDD may not work at all on those machines without admin rights (or they tightened USB security recently - ask them...)

    So, without knowing the entire usage (and formatting) history, hard to say why it worked before, but not now. I suspect one of the machines may have set security on some files/directories recently, or the Library machine disallows USB device usage.

  • 3 months ago

    well if you never setup a password that means you only have default credentials for the external drive. this means its fully possible that someone connected to your network and changed some settings on the device...

    try connecting it locally and seeing if you can access your files there (via usb)

    if you cant then you need to format the drive and learn from your mistake

    • Michael3 months agoReport

      No one connected to my network, it was only ever me. So what mistake would that be? I am not going to lose my work by formatting some idiot machine that worked fine one day, the next deciding to lock me out.

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