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How to gain access to the System Volume Information folder

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Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q309531
Summary
This article describes how to gain access to the System Volume Information folder. The System Volume Information folder is a hidden system folder that the System Restore tool uses to store its information and restore points. There is a System Volume Information folder on every partition on your computer. You might need to gain access to this folder for troubleshooting purposes.
More information
To gain access to the System Volume Information folder, use the steps in the appropriate section.

Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition Using the FAT32 File System

  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. On the View tab, click Show hidden files and folders.
  4. Clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the change.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Double-click the System Volume Information folder in the root folder to open it.

Windows XP Professional Using the NTFS File System on a Domain

  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. On the View tab, click Show hidden files and folders.
  4. Clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the change.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Right-click the System Volume Information folder in the root folder, and then click Sharing and Security.
  7. Click the Security tab.
  8. Click Add, and then type the name of the user to whom you want to give access to the folder. Choose the account location if appropriate (either local or from the domain). Typically, this is the account with which you are logged on. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  9. Double-click the System Volume Information folder in the root folder to open it.

Windows XP Professional using the NTFS File System on a Workgroup or Standalone Computer

  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. On the View tab, click Show hidden files and folders.
  4. Clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box. Click Yes when you are prompted to confirm the change.
  5. Clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Right-click the System Volume Information folder in the root folder, and then click Properties.
  8. Click the Security tab.
  9. Click Add, and then type the name of the user to whom you want to give access to the folder. Typically, this is the account with which you are logged on. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  10. Double-click the System Volume Information folder in the root folder to open it.

    NOTE: The System Volume Information folder is now accessible in normal mode to users of Windows XP Home Edition.

Using CACLS with Windows XP Home Edition Using the NTFS File System

In Windows XP Home Edition with the NTFS file system, you can also use the Cacls tool, which is a command-line tool, to display or modify file or folder access control lists (ACLs). For more information about the Cacls tool, including usage and switches, search the Help and Support Center for "cacls."
  1. Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK.
  2. Make sure that you are in the root folder of the partition for which you want to gain access to the System Volume Information folder. For example, to gain access the C:\System Volume Information folder, make sure that you are in the root folder of drive C (at a "C:\" prompt).
  3. Type the following line, and then press ENTER:
    cacls "driveletter:\System Volume Information" /E /G username:F
    Make sure to type the quotation marks as indicated. This command adds the specified user to the folder with Full Control permissions.
  4. Double-click the System Volume Information folder in the root folder to open it.
  5. If you need to remove the permissions after troubleshooting, type the following line at a command prompt:
    cacls "driveletter:\System Volume Information" /E /R username
    This command removes all permissions for the specified user.

The following steps also work if you restart the computer to Safe mode because simple file sharing is automatically turned off when you run the computer in Safe mode.
  1. Open My Computer, right-click the System Volume Information folder, and then click Properties.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click Add, and then type the name of the user to whom you want to give access to the folder. Typically, this is the account with which you are logged on.
  4. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  5. Double-click the System Volume Information folder to open it.
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Article ID: 309531 - Last Review: 05/22/2013 15:26:00 - Revision: 3.0

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional

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