Program opens a file as read-only or returns a sharing violation or "access denied" message when opening from or saving to a network folder


If you open a network folder in Windows Explorer and then try to open a file from or save a file to that folder, the associated program may report a sharing violation, return an "access denied" message, or open the document as read-only. Typically, this problem occurs when you open a network folder and then double-click to open a Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel file. The document opens as read-only.


This problem may occur when the Microsoft Windows XP Shell Column Handler reads the contents of the file in the network folder to obtain additional information, such as author or subject, at the same time that the associated program tries to open or save the file.


Service pack information

To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Microsoft Windows XP. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322389 How to obtain the latest Windows XP service pack

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.
The English version of this fix has the file attributes (or later) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in coordinated universal time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.

Date Time Version Size File name
15-Jan-2003 13:00 6.0.2800.1157 8,240,128 Shell32.dll

Note This is a client-side fix that must be installed on the computer that accesses the remote share.


To work around this problem, do the following:
  1. In Windows Explorer, open the network folder that contains the file that you are trying to open or save.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click Use Windows classic folders, and then click OK.
For testing purposes, you can rename the following registry key. This prevents the shell from opening the file and extracting the optional column information. Change the key from this key:
Use the following key instead:


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section. This problem was first corrected in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2.

More Information

By default, after the hotfix is installed, the Windows XP shell will no longer try to read the whole file to extract file attributes if the file is located on a UNC share, but the whole file may still be read if the data is on a mapped drive. The pop-up descriptions for folder and desktop items will show only the type, size, and date modified for files that are located on the network.

To display the additional column information, follow these steps:
  1. On the View menu, click
  2. Right-click the column header, and then click to put a check mark next to the additional attributes that you want to appear.
If additional columns are displayed, there is a chance that problem that is described in this article may occur if the program tries to open the file exclusively at the same time that Windows Explorer is extracting the column data. To prevent the problem, do not display additional column information.

This hotfix also addresses issues with slow network performance on a wide area network (WAN) or saturated network. Because Explorer no longer opens the file remotely, network traffic is substantially reduced.

For additional information about how to resolve this problem on mapped drives, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
816627 TCP/IP Port Printing May Be Slow on Windows 2000

Article ID: 328170 - Last Review: Oct 23, 2008 - Revision: 1