Users Without System32 Permissions Cannot Log On

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Article ID: 137155 - View products that this article applies to.
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When you attempt to log on to your computer, you may receive an error message that states that you do not have sufficient permissions to log on to the local computer. When you click OK, you may experience one of the following symptoms:
  • Microsoft Windows NT 3.5:

    You return to the logon background screen, Program Manager does not open, and you do not receive any error messages.
  • Microsoft Windows NT 3.51:

    The computer shuts down. The "Shutdown in Progress" message appears on the screen, and then the Shutdown Complete and Restart buttons appear on the screen.
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0:

    You return to the "Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to log on" message.
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 and later:

    You return to the "Press Ctrl-Alt-Del to log on" message.


This behavior can occur if one of the following conditions is true:
  • You attempt to log on to a user account that has insufficient permissions for the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder on the local computer.
  • The computer is based on a DEC Alpha processor, and both of the following conditions are true:
    • The system files are stored on a file allocation table (FAT) partition.
    • The "Secure the System Partition" option in Disk Administrator is turned on.

      NOTE: By default, this option is turned off. If this option is turned on, only the users in the Administrators group can log on to the computer.


To resolve this issue, use the appropriate method.

Increase User Permissions

NOTE: If you use Windows NT 3.51 and your computer shuts down when you attempt to log on, obtain the latest service pack for Microsoft Windows NT version 3.51 before you proceed. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
128465 How to Obtain Windows NT Version 3.51 U.S. Service Pack
To resolve this behavior for NT4 and Windows 2000 machines, assign a minimum permission level of Read and Execute for the %Systemroot%\System32 folder to any user that needs to log on to the workstation.

To increase user permissions, use the following steps:
  1. Install Windows NT on another partition or hard disk.
  2. Log on to the new installation of Windows NT as an administrator.
  3. Take ownership of the original %Systemroot%\System32 folder.
  4. Assign a permission level of at least Read and Execute for the %Systemroot%\System32 folder to the Everyone group.
For additional information about this issue, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
247900 Cannot Log On After Removing Everyone Group from Permissions
155315 Cannot Log On After User Access to Boot Partition Removed

Turn Off the "Secure the System Partition" Option

If you use a computer that is based on a DEC Alpha processor, log on to the computer as a member of the Administrators group, and then use the Disk Manager tool to turn off the "Secure the System Partition" option.


If you do not have at least Read and Execute permissions for the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder, you cannot log on to the computer. If the Everyone group does not have at least Read and Execute permissions for the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder, no user can log on to the computer, including the administrator. By default, the Everyone group has Change permissions (Read, Write, Execute, and Delete) for the %SystemRoot%\System32 folder.


Article ID: 137155 - Last Review: February 24, 2014 - Revision: 2.2
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
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