Download v1.1 (for Windows NT 4.0 / 2000 / XP / 2003 / Vista)


NSCopy is a copy command with one big difference from others. If you have the "Back up files and directories" user right, you will be able to copy files even if you don't have any explicit permission to read them.

Usage instructions

Download the exe file and run it from the Command Prompt. It will give you the instructions you need.


Q: Who has the "Back up files and directories" user right?

A: By default the Administrators group and the Backup Operators group, but an administrator can give it to any account.

Q: An administrator can take ownership over a file and then give himself/herself permission to read it. What's the difference with NSCopy?

A: The difference is that an administrator can copy the file without taking the extra steps of taking ownership and then giving it back (using for example SetOwner).

Q: What is the real purpose of this tool?

A: It is a common misunderstanding that whenever an administrator doesn't have permission to read a file, he/she has to take ownership of the file and then give himself/herself permission to read it. Afterwards the administrator wouldn't be able to give back the ownership, since you can never give but only take ownership (which is also a misunderstanding, see SetOwner). But NSCopy demonstrates that this is a misunderstanding, and that there is no need at all to take ownership.

Q: Wow, this must be the greatest hack of all times, right?

A: Wrong. This isn't a hack, exploit, or anything like that. It's something you can do with a specific user right, but it's something a lot of people don't think can be done.

Q: When I double-click on the file a window comes up and disappears immediately. What's wrong?

A: You must run the file from a Command Prompt.

Q: I have a question that is not covered here. Where can I get help?

A: Send me your question. I can't promise that I will have time to answer, but I'll do my best.

© Arne Vidstrom. All rights reserved.