Windows 7 Task Scheduler: “The user account does not have permission to run this task”

14 02 2012

I was encountering a problem with the Windows 7 Task Scheduler. I had a task configured, and it was running correctly at the specified time. But whenever I would open the Task Scheduler and try to run the task manually, it would fail with this error:

I had no idea what this error meant. It could’ve meant that the user account that the task was configured to run under didn’t have permission to run the task — but that didn’t make sense, because the task ran fine at its scheduled time. It could’ve meant that the user account I was using didn’t have permission to run the task — but I was running as a system admin. I spent a while searching Google, and while I found people talking about the error, I couldn’t find any useful information about what it meant or how to fix it. Finally, I whipped out my old friend ProcMon, which helped me see what was happening:

The Windows 7 Task Scheduler stores tasks as individual XML files in the directory C:\Windows\System32\Tasks. This task in particular had been created by a script using the Schtasks.exe utility. The way Schtasks had configured the permission on the task file was very strange — it had granted the Administrators group all permissions except Execute:

Oddly enough, you need to have Execute permission on the task file in order to run it. This can be edited through the Windows UI, or from the command line by running:

cacls "C:\Windows\System32\Tasks\Task Name" /g Administrators:F

Naturally, you’ll need to replace “Task Name” with the actual name of the task, and Administrators with the user or group to grant access.

Allowing Unauthenticated Access to Windows Shares

1 01 2012

At my job, we have a Windows-based test environment on a standalone Active Directory domain. I wanted to allow users to to access file shares within the test domain from their computers on other domains without being prompted for credentials. (Since it’s a test environment, I don’t really care about security.)

Google sent me on a wild goose chase into the Local Security Policy, but the solution was deceptive simple. It turns out that when you connect to a file share on another domain, the server tries to authenticate you with the local Guest account. The problem is that by default, Windows (correctly) disables the Guest account. You can enable it from Computer Management (Start > Run > compmgmt.msc):

Next, you have to update the permissions on the share and the NTFS permissions on the underlying folder so that Guest will have access. Guest is a member of the Everyone group, so if you grant permission to Everyone, you should be good to go. If you want to set special permissions for Guest — maybe you only want to grant anonymous users read-only access — you can do that too. Just make sure to grant the permission to either the local Guest account or the local Guests group, not the domain Guest account: