Win 11 using account with Admin privileges but get access denied on some of my own files


d4005

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This is a new PC that came pre-installed with Windows 11 and I connected various existing USB drives and network drives to it. I do backups between the various drives. Just now I noticed that a folder that had about 50 files in it that I haven't accessed since long before I got this new PC has some files that are not accessible to me - it says I don't own them and don't have privileges to read or copy. When I right-click on a file it shows the permissions as being that everyone has access to do everything with it.

Firstly, I don't understand how Win 11 can decide that I don't have access to 8 of the 50 files in the folder. They should all be in the same state, whether that be accessible or inaccessible. In fact, everything on the entire drive should.

Is there a way I can right-click on a drive and force the permissions on ALL of the files on the entire drive to be read/writeable to everyone. I'm not wanting to do this to Drive C, I can imagine that being problematic. Currently I don't know how many more files on those drives are not accessible and at some point will result in something unexpected happening - e.g. if I'm trying to install something from a folder with software installers and resources in it and randomly it won't let me access some of its files.
 
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Berton

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barman58

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Every username that you create is actually a unique ID, this ID, ( known as an SID, which is a long set of numbers and symbols), is what is used to assign permissions if you created a drive or partition on a previous version of windows, (and it is not a created with a Microsoft Email Account that is used on multiple systems), then you have to add your current ID name to the properties of the files on the old drive/Partition for each system that has access to the data .

The easiest way to set this is to take ownership of the Root of the Drive / Partition, or tree and make sure that the system is set to cascade the ownership to sub folders.

You can do this on a file by file or folder by folder method, but it's easier to achieve from the route

It is important that you never perform a take ownership action on any system folders as this will probably break windows
 

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d4005

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Might check this Tutorial about taking ownership:
Every username that you create is actually a unique ID, this ID, ( known as an SID, which is a long set of numbers and symbols), is what is used to assign permissions if you created a drive or partition on a previous version of windows, (and it is not a created with a Microsoft Email Account that is used on multiple systems), then you have to add your current ID name to the properties of the files on the old drive/Partition for each system that has access to the data .

The easiest way to set this is to take ownership of the Root of the Drive / Partition, or tree and make sure that the system is set to cascade the ownership to sub folders.

You can do this on a file by file or folder by folder method, but it's easier to achieve from the route

It is important that you never perform a take ownership action on any system folders as this will probably break windows
Thanks Berton and barman58. I've taken ownership via the Take Ownership context menu but those files still have a padlock icon on them and when I try to open or move them elsewhere I'm given a dialog message that says:

File Access Denied
You'll need to provide administrator permission to move this file


and when I click continue it says

You need permission to perform this action
You require permission from MYMACHINENAME\MYUSERNAME to make changes to this file


So I need to give myself permission to do something, with me being the owner. This is weird.

Update: I've noticed that if I right-click in explorer on one of those files I see a new menu item "File Ownership" which has a sub-menu that contains an unlocked padlock and the word Personal. The other files (that aren't padlocked) in that folder don't have that. It's as if these files had been put into a safe mode like you can do on Android (except you can't see safe mode files in Android without going into the Safe Folder). It gets more and more mysterious.

I wish I could find out which files on the drive are in this state so I could at least assess them case by case and decide I don't care about them, but even then I can't just delete them.
 

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    Acer Predator Triton
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    i7-11800H
    Memory
    32GB
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    GeForce RTX™ 3060
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    2x LG 27"
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    Logitech silent thing
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barman58

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One option that may work, [I say may as taking ownership should be all you need],

you can unhide the hidden administrator and Log in as this and add your "new" username to the permissions of the files - This could be individually or in batches [Just select a number of files right click and], edit the properties to give access rights to your User Name .

Should not be needed, but there is something amiss with the access to those files

Edit

I have seen the MYMACHINENAME\MYUSERNAME used on systems that are sold in the market for home use. they should be replaced on initial setup ... the MYMACHINENAME with the actual name of the system given at the first use and MYUSERNAME with your login name again something that should be automatic :think:
 

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d4005

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One option that may work, [I say may as taking ownership should be all you need],

you can unhide the hidden administrator and Log in as this and add your "new" username to the permissions of the files - This could be individually or in batches [Just select a number of files right click and], edit the properties to give access rights to your User Name .

Should not be needed, but there is something amiss with the access to those files

Thanks. I'll try that in a bit. Currently I'm doing my weekly backup of the only drive that's exhibited this situation so far. I'm hoping the backup software will list all of the files it was unable to copy at the end of the process, then at least I'll know how many of them I'm dealing with.
The bizarrest thing now is that I'm comparing the permissions of two files, one with the padlock icon and one without. Both have the permission of Full Control assigned to Everyone. There isn't a single sub-menu showing anything different in the properties->security tab. But one I can access and one I can't (and has a padlock on the thumbnail and shows File Ownership on the explorer context menu).

The good thing is that this drive is basically just a repository for backups that I have backed up elsewhere so I can reformat it and re-copy everything onto it if I have to.
 

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    GeForce RTX™ 3060
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glasskuter

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Sometimes I've had to go the hard crack method rather than using the 'take ownership' from my context menu. I use it so seldom I had to make myself a little tutorial because I never remember from one time til the next. In your case you will do this at the root of your drive.

How to take ownership of files and folders

Open File Explorer.

Browse and find the file or folder you want to have full access.

Right-click it, and select Properties.

Click the Security tab to access the NTFS permissions.

Click the Advanced button.

  • On the "Advanced Security Settings" page, you need to click the Change link, in the Owner's field.
    Click the Advanced button.
  • On the "Select User or Group" page, click the Find Now button.
  • From the search result, select your user account, and click OK.
  • On “Select User of Group” page, click OK
  • Click Apply
  • Click OK
  • Click OK again.
  • Click OK one more time to complete this task.
  • It's important to note that if you're taking ownership of a folder, you can check the Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions option in the Advanced Security Settings page to take control of the subfolders inside of the folder.
  • Now you'll need to grant full access control to your account, to do this use the following steps:
  • Right-click the file or folder and select Properties.
  • Click the Security tab to access the NTFS permissions.
  • Click the Advanced button.
  • Under the Permissions tab, click Add.
  • Click Select a Principal and add your user account
  • On the “Select User of Group” page click Find Now
  • From search results, select your user account, click OK
  • On “Select User or Group” page click OK
  • On "Permission Entry", check the Full control option.
  • Click OK.
  • Click OK
  • Click Apply
  • Click OK
  • Click OK to close properties window.
 

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d4005

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Sometimes I've had to go the hard crack method rather than using the 'take ownership' from my context menu. I use it so seldom I had to make myself a little tutorial because I never remember from one time til the next. In your case you will do this at the root of your drive.

How to take ownership of files and folders

Open File Explorer.

Browse and find the file or folder you want to have full access.

Right-click it, and select Properties.

Click the Security tab to access the NTFS permissions.

Click the Advanced button.

  • On the "Advanced Security Settings" page, you need to click the Change link, in the Owner's field.
    Click the Advanced button.
  • On the "Select User or Group" page, click the Find Now button.
  • From the search result, select your user account, and click OK.
  • On “Select User of Group” page, click OK
  • Click Apply
  • Click OK
  • Click OK again.
  • Click OK one more time to complete this task.
  • It's important to note that if you're taking ownership of a folder, you can check the Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions option in the Advanced Security Settings page to take control of the subfolders inside of the folder.
  • Now you'll need to grant full access control to your account, to do this use the following steps:
  • Right-click the file or folder and select Properties.
  • Click the Security tab to access the NTFS permissions.
  • Click the Advanced button.
  • Under the Permissions tab, click Add.
  • Click Select a Principal and add your user account
  • On the “Select User of Group” page click Find Now
  • From search results, select your user account, click OK
  • On “Select User or Group” page click OK
  • On "Permission Entry", check the Full control option.
  • Click OK.
  • Click OK
  • Click Apply
  • Click OK
  • Click OK to close properties window.
Thanks, but I've already tried all that. Someone else (via much Googling) had produced a similar guide. I'm now at a stage where the file(s) actually show their permissions as me, and Everyone, have full control permissions. I couldn't make it a more perfect set of permissions if I wanted it to. It's just that Explorer doesn't seem to agree with me.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win11
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Predator Triton
    CPU
    i7-11800H
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce RTX™ 3060
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x LG 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB SSD internal, 2x4TB external
    Keyboard
    Logitech silent thing
    Mouse
    Traditional MS Intellimouse
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    Chrome mostly
    Antivirus
    MalwareBytes/Defender

Berton

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I'd wonder if the antivirus/antimalware program is involved with the blocking.
 

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System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro RTM x64
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 3400
    CPU
    Intel Core i5
    Memory
    8GB
    Hard Drives
    256GB SSD NVMe
  • Operating System
    Windows 11 Pro RTM x64
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Vostro 5890
    CPU
    Intel Core i5
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Onboard, no VGA using DisplayPort-to-VGA adapter
    Monitor(s) Displays
    21"
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD NVMe, 2TB WDC HDD
    Browser
    Firefox, Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender/Microsoft Security

glasskuter

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Thanks, but I've already tried all that.
I've never had that method fail me. Did you do it at the root of the drive or at the file level?
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 22000.832
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 m.2 2230-256+1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium

ThrashZone

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Hi,
Guessing you don't know which computer saved or created these files.

That would be the one to check inheritable permissions on or another computer that doesn't have the issue.
 

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glasskuter

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I know from experience if you miss one little blip in that procedure it won't work. Try it at the file level instead of drive level. I am attaching a zip file that includes pictures of every step.
 

Attachments

  • Ownership-files&folders_pics.7z
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My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 22000.832
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 m.2 2230-256+1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
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    Antivirus
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d4005

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I'd wonder if the antivirus/antimalware program is involved with the blocking.

It's possible but neither of them is notifying me that they're unhappy.

I've never had that method fail me. Did you do it at the root of the drive or at the file level?

I tried it at folder level and file level (not at drive level) and I can't say that it failed me either, the permissions did change and do now look perfect. Somehow despite that the files are still inaccessible.

Hi,
Guessing you don't know which computer saved or created these files.

That would be the one to check inheritable permissions on or another computer that doesn't have the issue.

I do know, that computer is still available but is retired from daily service.

I know from experience if you miss one little blip in that procedure it won't work. Try it at the file level instead of drive level. I am attaching a zip file that includes pictures of every step.

I'm still convinced I did it properly, not only from your guide but from others also.

I've got 30 minutes left of my backup of the drive in question to it's weekly backup counterpart and the backup program is showing me which files it's failing to copy. So far it's ones I can live without or recreate without problems. If that state continues to be the case right to the end, then I'm going to reformat the source drive and do a reverse direction backup (a "frontup" ;-) ) with the bad files missing.
 

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ThrashZone

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Hi,
Good use that computer to look at these weird files and see if that can fix the odd issue.
 

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d4005

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Hi,
Good use that computer to look at these weird files and see if that can fix the odd issue.

Can't right now while the drive is being backed up :) The list of files has grown but is still only files I'm fine with losing.

Backup finished. Strangely, despite not having access to the files in a few folders (either to view, edit, delete them) I was able to navigate up their common parent folder and delete that entire folder without problems. Deleting a file is not allowed but deleting its parent is just fine. Anyway, the files that will now be lost forever weren't super critical and can be individually retrieved from elsewhere. So now I'm just restoring the folder structure without those inaccessible files. It's not a solution, it's definitely "workaroundy" but you have to acknowledge when a battle is lost.

I'll never know how a random selection of 20 individual files within a folder hierarchy with 20,000 files in it none of which had been touched in the last 6 months suddenly find themselves with a different permission state to the other 19,980 files there.
 
Last edited:

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glasskuter

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Just curious. What type files are these?
 

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d4005

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Just curious. What type files are these?

They were all jpegs in my My Photos folder. One day I need to purge some I know, but storage space increases quicker than I can take photos so the motivation isn't there. Based on the surrounding (readable) files content and date/times, I know they weren't super special.
 

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    GeForce RTX™ 3060
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    2x LG 27"
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glasskuter

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I have had to recover old files off old drives for people occassionally and I use the live Linux method. I download one of the live distros (I recommend Mint Cinnamon or Ubuntu), and make a bootable usb or dvd. When I boot from it, instead of selecting install, I choose 'run Linux Mint" option. In a couple of minutes, a desktop appears that closely resembles XP.

I insert the drive into my hard drive dock, connect it to Linux, insert a flash drive, and copy the files onto the flash drive. Linux doesn't care about ntfs permissions. Then I can insert the flash drive into any machine and access the files. If you want to transfer the files to a Windows machine, copy them from the flash drive and the permissions of the current user will be assigned to them when you paste into your windows folders.

It's a good trick to know and gives you a brief taste of Linux, which is super easy (as long as you don't have to use a terminal window and in this instance you don't).
 

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    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 22000.832
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    Dell Optiplex 7080
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    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
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    DELL 0J37VM
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    32 gb
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    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
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    Integrated Realtek
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    Benq 27
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    2560x1440
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    256 m.2 2230-256+1 tb hdd
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    500w
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    Dell Premium
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    Logitech wired
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    Logitech wireless
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    Dell Optiplex 9020
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    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
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d4005

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I have had to recover old files off old drives for people occassionally and I use the live Linux method. I download one of the live distros (I recommend Mint Cinnamon or Ubuntu), and make a bootable usb or dvd. When I boot from it, instead of selecting install, I choose 'run Linux Mint" option. In a couple of minutes, a desktop appears that closely resembles XP.

I insert the drive into my hard drive dock, connect it to Linux, insert a flash drive, and copy the files onto the flash drive. Linux doesn't care about ntfs permissions. Then I can insert the flash drive into any machine and access the files. If you want to transfer the files to a Windows machine, copy them from the flash drive and the permissions of the current user will be assigned to them when you paste into your windows folders.

It's a good trick to know and gives you a brief taste of Linux, which is super easy (as long as you don't have to use a terminal window and in this instance you don't).

Annoying thing is I've got Linux on this Win 11 machine, via WSL2. I hadn't realized it didn't care about NTFS permissions. Live and learn. ;-)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Win11
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    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Acer Predator Triton
    CPU
    i7-11800H
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce RTX™ 3060
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2x LG 27"
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    1TB SSD internal, 2x4TB external
    Keyboard
    Logitech silent thing
    Mouse
    Traditional MS Intellimouse
    Internet Speed
    100down/40up
    Browser
    Chrome mostly
    Antivirus
    MalwareBytes/Defender

glasskuter

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I've got Linux on this Win 11 machine
(y)I never tried it in a VM but don't know why it wouldn't work the same way. Just remember to use copy-paste both ways, not move, not cut and paste, not drag and drop.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro 21H2 22000.832
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 7080
    CPU
    i9-10900 10 core 20 threads
    Motherboard
    DELL 0J37VM
    Memory
    32 gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    none-Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Sound Card
    Integrated Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 m.2 2230-256+1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell Premium
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Internet Speed
    so slow I'm too embarrassed to tell
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 21H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Optiplex 9020
    CPU
    i7-4770
    Memory
    24 gb
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Benq 27
    Screen Resolution
    2560x1440
    Hard Drives
    256 gb Toshiba BG4 M.2 NVE SSB and 1 tb hdd
    PSU
    500w
    Case
    MT
    Cooling
    Dell factory
    Mouse
    Logitech wireless
    Keyboard
    Logitech wired
    Internet Speed
    still not telling
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Defender+MWB Premium
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