Keeping files from being moved or deleted on shared drives

Where I work, we utilize a shared network drive as a source of data for a number of reports. This data is primarily spreadsheet and database files, is updated daily, and is linked by many users. Yesterday we discovered that some of those files had been moved, probably in a drag-and-drop accident although we don’t know. Is there any way to protect files so that they can’t be moved or deleted?

what operating system and version are you using?

As a long shot, have you thought of using an SVN repository instead of a shared drive. It’s really more meant for text files than spreadsheets, but still can be used for them and would make sure people would have to explicitly check in changes instead of doing it absent-mindedly and allow rolling back of changes that cause problems.

John, we’re using Windows XP. Leah, we don’t really have that option. Our network options are strictly controlled by the powers that be. That’s why I’m looking for options at the file or folder level.

In the first place, you are taking regular backups of the drive, right?

Secondly, windows permissions allows very flexible options. So you can give certain people the ability to move or delete files, and block other people from doing so.

It’s worth pointing out that if the server hosting the files isn’t using Windows, it might not respect the Windows permissions. So do a few tests and ensure it works before calling it “done and done”.

Other than that, it’s just contacting your IT people and hoping they know what they’re doing, or just being prepared to restore from backup if necessary.

It’s easy to give someone access to read a file but not change it in any way. It’s a little trickier to give someone access to modify a file but not delete it, but still possible as NTFS permissions call out delete as a separate permission. I don’t know if it’s possible to prevent someone with modify access from moving a file though, as a move operation doesn’t really involve a delete (when you move a file to a different location on the same drive it’s not copied to the new location and then deleted from the original, its location information is simply updated).

The discussion is probably moot though, since if your “powers that be” know anything about network file security then you probably don’t have the permission to modify said security. Your best route is to contact your IT department, as Blakeyrat mentions.

Since it’s only happened once, I wouldn’t bother doing anything about it.

Having your IT people mess around with security levels, modifying persmssions, etc. is more likely to cause productivity-damaging problems, in my experience.

Just ensure that you have effective nightly backups, and that you have a good working procedure for restoring from these backups when needed. If this problem occurs frequently, you can schedule the files to be restored from the most recent backup copies every night.