• United States

Moving files and folders without compromise

Sep 18, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* How to successfully move files and folders without losing trustee rights

We’ve been looking at file systems and trustee rights over the past couple of weeks and there’s one more issue I want to cover before we move on and that’s how to successfully move files and folders without losing trustee rights and other valuable information.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, using DOS or Windows tools (COPY and XCOPY, or simply “Drag and Drop”) will not only change the location of a file or folder but also the name of the owner and any associated trustee rights (that is, it removes all trustee rights since DOS knows nothing about them). Even Novell’s own, venerable (that means “old”, but in a nice way) NCOPY simply parrots the behavior of COPY and doesn’t preserve the important ownership and trustee information.

Pre-NetWare 5, the operating system had two utilities, GRANT and REVOKE, which were used (surprise) to assign or remove trustee rights. Administrators could gather trustee information (with the almost as venerable TLIST utility), then create a batch file which used GRANT to restore the trustee rights to files and folders that had been moved to a different volume or server. Not easy, not fast, but it worked. These two utilities  were rolled into one, called RIGHTS, beginning with NetWare 5.

A few years ago Novell released the TCOPY utility (see, which can be used to copy trustees and rights from one folder structure to another (but only after the files have been copied and only if the structure in the new location is the same as in the old location).

None of these methods, by the way, will handle inherited rights filters (IRF) or the older inherited rights masks (IRM) if they’re present in the folder entry.

Novell’s NetWare Cool Solutions has a number of useful scripts, utilities and applications for dealing with trustee rights and assignments ( including NJCOPY (, a first attempt at a tool to copy both files and trustee assignments at one go. It is written in Java, so it’s slow, and it is a bit quirky but it can be useful. NJCOPY also tries hard to preserve IRFs.

For me, though, the best way to move a large amount of data while preserving the “meta data” associated with the files – ownership, trustees, date and time stamps, IRFs, etc.) is still to use your backup/archive application. Some have a built-in utility to copy or move file and folder structures while others will require that you backup from one location and restore to another but in either case, all the important information is preserved. If that means it takes a little bit longer to do, it is still time well spent.