Tag Archives: SDDL

ACLs Folder class

‘Sup PSHomies,

I recently had to make a quick Backup & Restore of ACLs three levels deep. Nothing fancy, just two functions, but that got me thinking…

Why not make a class of this?

And so I did! Here’s the framework for the class:


Here’s a list of the methods:

  • Backup. Backup SDDL from the property $Folder of the class
  • Restore. Restore SDDL to the property $Folder of the class
  • Clone. Clone will take a target Folder and clone the SDDL of $Folder to it
  • ConvertSDDLToAccess. This will enumerate what the SDDL stands for

Default Constructor


The default constructor will evaluate the folder used to instantiate the object. If successful, the SDDL, Owner and Access is retrieved using  the Backup() method. All actions are registered for future reference.

Instantiating is pretty straightforward:




This will retrieve the SDDL for the folder and enumerate the Access.



Restore is a bit tricky. For one you need to make sure it isn’t empty. Set-Acl has no problem setting an empty SDDL, blowing everything open (worst case scenario, and that’s why you should test this in a lab first!). The other challenge is having a valid SDDL string. You can change the SDDL string if you want to something gibberish, hence the typecast as a precaution.



The same goes for cloning. In this case we need to test the target path. Alternatively, you could  also change the Folder to a new path… It works, you’d just have misleading ActionHistory entries… I wonder if there’s a way to make this read-only,  just thinking out loud here… (note to self)


This is just a lil’ something extra. Like I said in a previous blog SDDL really gives more information. For one, the SID will let you know which domain this object belongs to. One thing I ran into with ReACL is that SIDHistory will resolve to the current NTAccount. This had me puzzled for a while until I saw that the SIDs in SDDL where different.

Here’s what the ouput looks like:


Now for those of you that are wondering just what is this AccessMask, wonder no more! 🙂

Remember the RoboCopy ExitCodes blog I did a while back? Well it’s the same principal 🙂 This is why classes & everything related should be on your radar…


Here’s how this works…

Say I wanted to evaluate the AccessMask of a SDDL entry


Here I have the SID & the NTAccount. This is the builtin administrators account but it also works for Domain accounts.classACLConvertSDDLToAccess

There’s a private function that will translate the SID accordingly.

To see what the account can actually do we can enumerate the AccessMask


This is what we’d see using the advanced Security GUI tab of a folder.AdvancedPermissions

Not bad… Not bad at all…

I can’t state this enough, SDDL is NOT to be be trifled with. Yes you need admin rights and please try this is a testlab first.  SDDL is very potent, if used with caution, it could do a whole bit of good!

So finally, here’s the code…

Hope it’s worth something to you…



SDDL gives more NTFS insight

I’ve been doing migrations, oh say for the past 10 years (Hmmm, that’s long if I do say so myself) Data Migrations can be complex depending what needs to be achieved. I remember using ScriptLogic to map drives depending on which subnet a user was on, that was way before DFS was available… Good times…

I’ve had my share of headaches when it comes to Data migrations. The biggest challenge is interoperability, when Target Resources keeps on using Source Resources until all Source Resources have been migrated. Sometimes it’s just not possible to migrate all Source Resources at once (what we affectionately call ‘big bang’). If data is being mutated by different departments/projects that aren’t migrated at the same time then interoperability is your only choice… Still tricky though…

Ok so here’s the scenario: Migrate Resources from one AD Forest to another (with a trust in place). I’ll take you through the Data part 🙂

The key component is to use SIDHistory. SIDHistory will help resolve whether you have access or not to a Source Resource. My favorite replication tool has to be robocopy! It wasn’t love at first sight, but once I figured out all the parameters, then there isn’t much you can’t accomplish with it!

For interoperability we usually redirect Target Resources to the Source. This way Data mutation can still be achieved without disturbing Production. In the mean time data is being synced to the Target Domain with ACLs intact! Why? We’ll get to that later… Or might as well get into it now… 🙂

Ok so ACL (Access Control List) is that list you get when you open up a file or folder security tab. The accounts are referred to as ACE (Access Control Entry). That’s where you’d grant/remove an account read/write/full/etc access to said file or folder. When using SIDHistory you’re token access will resolve correctly, but here’s where it gets tricky

I’ve copied Data with robocopy keeping security intact. When I opened a folder security tab I noticed the Target account name being displayed. That threw me off because I didn’t reacl the target resource yet.

Quick sidestep ReACL is a term I came across using Quest Active Directory Manager (now DELL). ReACL can be done by adding the Target Account (doubling the amount of ACEs) or doing a cleanup by first adding the Target account and removing the Source Account. You can also rollback if needed but that one is tricky, especially if SIDHistory has more than one entry.

But you wouldn’t know that by looking at the folder Security tab.

If you really want to find out who has access, SDDL will let you know. SDDL uses an object SID to grant or deny access. Thing is SDDL is hard to read hence the Security tab. So the first time I ReACLed a folder adding the Target Account I saw that the ACEs did double, but I only saw the Target Account. I expected to see SOURCE\ACCOUNT;TARGET\ACCOUNT instead I was seeing the TARGET\ACOUNT twice. Here’s where looking at SDDL will give you more insight… Suffice to say we’ll be doing this the PowerShell way… Oh come on! don’t act so surprised! 😛

So first let’s get the ACL of the folder you want to inspect (try this on your folder):

$acl = get-acl '\\\g$\GRP\DATA\DEPT-001-XYZ'

To find out who has access  type $acl.Access. This will give you a list of all ACEs in the ACL. This is the list you’d also see in Explorer security tab (advance mind you, I noticed that). Now for the fun part $acl.sddl… Tada!!!



Seems complicated, well yes it is, still it’s worth figuring out… Have a look at MSDN for more information.

The tell tale is the Domain SID, every Account begins with it. Looking at the Domain SID tells you who actually has access (or not) to said resource and which Domain that account belongs to.

The Domain SID for the current domain I’m inspecting is:
DomainSID : S-1-5-21-602145358-1453371165-789345543
You can get the Domain SID using Get-ADDomain cmdlet… 😉

I picked an ACE from the $acl.access list:

FileSystemRights : Modify, Synchronize
AccessControlType : Allow
IdentityReference : SOURCE\DEPT-001-XYZ-RXWR
IsInherited : False
InheritanceFlags : ContainerInherit, ObjectInherit
PropagationFlags : None

Let’s get some AD properties from this acount

Get-ADGroup -Identity DEPT-001-XYZ-RXWR -Server source.nl -Properties SID,SIDHistory
SamAccountName : DEPT-001-XYZ-RXWR
SID : S-1-5-21-602145358-1453371165-789345543-35829
SIDHistory : S-1-5-21-103234515-1370883554-928726630-4307

Here’s the sddl string once more:


This group has access using SIDHistory!!!

Ok now what? Well in an ideal situation the data would have been ReACLed using the current SID instead of the SIDHistory. The reason for that is to cleanup your SIDHistory to avoid tokenbloat. Here’s an excellent blog by the dirteam discussing the perils of tokenbloat.

This only scratched the surface of what you could investigate! There aren’t many tools (Free) that can help. Ashley Mcglone has an excellent series on the matter definitely worth reading.

I’m currently doing a Data migration (surprise!) so I’ll be adding more tips/tricks/gotchas as the Data migration progresses so stay tuned!

Hope this will steer you in the right direction when it comes to figuring out who has access…
The rabbit hole goes deep…