Windows 7 RC gets its first bug, and it's a doozy

Windows 7 RC gets its first bug, and it's a doozy

Summary: Yesterday, Microsoft published Knowledge Base article 970789, which provides details of a problem that affects the 32-bit (x86) English-language version of Windows 7 build 7100. If you haven't installed the Widows 7 RC yet, stop and read this first!


The first documented bug in the Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) is a doozy.

Yesterday, Microsoft published Knowledge Base article 970789, which provides details of a problem that affects the 32-bit (x86) English-language version of Windows 7 build 7100. The problem, in short, is that the installer incorrectly sets access control lists (ACLs) on the root of the system drive. The longer version is described as follows:

In the English version of Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) 32-bit Ultimate, the folder that is created as the root folder of the system drive (%SystemDrive%) is missing entries in its security descriptor. One effect of this problem is that standard users such as non-administrators cannot perform all operations to subfolders that are created directly under the root. Therefore, applications that reference folders under the root may not install successfully or may not uninstall successfully. Additionally, operations or applications that reference these folders may fail.

For example, if a folder is created under the root of the system drive from an elevated command prompt, this folder will not correctly inherit permissions from the root of the drive. Therefore, some specific operations, such as deleting the folder, will fail when they are performed from a non-elevated command prompt. Additionally, the following error message appears when the operation fails:

Access is denied.

Furthermore, the missing security descriptor entries protect non-admin file operations directly under the root.

A hotfix is available as an important update that should be delivered and installed automatically by Windows Update, assuming you have set up automatic updates. On one test system that I checked just now, the update had already been installed overnight. On two other systems, the update had been downloaded but was awaiting installation.

The hotfix package fixes the security descriptor of the root of the system drive, but it does not repair applications that are already installed, nor does it affect the permissions of folders that were created after the installation.

If you installed the x64 version of Windows 7, you are apparently unaffected by this issue.

If you haven’t yet installed the Windows 7 RC, it’s important to install this hotfix after you set up Windows and before you install any programs or restore any backed-up data.

This sounds like a pretty serious bug, and I'm surprised that it slipped through into the release candidate. I haven’t observed any deleterious effects from this issue yet but am doing further testing today. If anyone has any firsthand reports of being bitten by this bug, please leave a comment in the Talkback section with more details.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows

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  • Windows 7 RC gets its first bug, and it's a doozy

    Microsoft Windows 7 which is still in testing phase has a bug. Bug is reported and fixed. So the testing phase/system worked. No big deal.
    Loverock Davidson
    • "I?m surprised that it slipped through"

      Why surprised Ed? Are you going to try to tell me next that Microsoft RC's are reliable and well tested?
      • Ahh the usless comments are back - and 2nd one in if

        that one guy were betting he would make a lot of money on you - man your easy.
        • Useless Comments

          socialism=nowhere - you talk about useless
          comments, try your own and reply on topic.

          OK it's only a RC - out there to find the bugs
          and that is what is being found.

          When you've been involved in M$ software since
          DOS v1.0 make a worthy response. Otherwise keep
          it to yourself.
      • No surprise at all. ITS A BETA!

        Are you surprised that Beta's have no bugs or issues at all?

        Hmm, why have pre-releases unless they are looking for bugs?

        Oh one response to this article is the most appropriate, articulate, and most accurate:
        • Isn't this the RELEASE CANIDATE?

          Isn't this the version Micro$haft was gonna dump on the public?

          Wintel BSOD
          • Do you know what candidate means?

            Because you cannot spell it. Candidate basically means possible. Think of it in terms of voting. The presidential Candidate is not necessarily the one that becomes the president. Right. In the terms of software Release Candidate is just the final leg of the beta program. Its function is to give the public the chance to use it and work out any final bugs. So IMO the RC is doing its job because they are discovering some issues before it is finally released.
          • Not to mention

            Not to mention, even the final release will have bugs and issues. It's the nature of the beast.
            Sure, we'd all love our OS' to be perfect out of the box; but, that is just impossible. There's always someone who is going to try and penetrate the OS, regardless how secure it is supposed to be. No matter how flawless the OS is, there's always going to be some "oops, how did we miss that?" fix that is going to be needed.
            I'm not tech geeky enough to understand all the ins and outs of these things, but I suppose the reason is, in order for everything to work as well as it does, things have to be open enough to let everything work. I suppose they could create an OS that would lock down every possible point of entry, but, then nothing would work. Or, to get it to work, you'd have to be a software developer? But, even still, wouldn't there be some punk kid who'd be able to figure out a way to infiltrate the system anyway?
          • Right!

            Thats why all other Software makers and even other industries have this. Auto Makers have recalls and make revisions from year to year for example. Despite what the MS Bashers say Linux, Mac OS, or any other OS/Software maker does this. If this was not the case then There would be no 1.x. It would just skip from 1 to 2 and so on.
          • bobiroc

            right, and when windows has a bug generally
            nobody gets killed, when an automobile has a
            bug (depending) its possible someone will get
            killed... good analogy. And it prob got
            overlooked cause it was so simple and out in
            the open people weren't looking for it. It
            sounds more like a typo like deal than a bug.
            This is kinda a big whoop, but I understand
            what he meant when he said he couldn't believe
            they hadn't caught it yet. It is kind of out in
            the open. But sometimes things hide best out in
            the open.
          • shadfurman:

            Then pick your own industry or other software/hardware manufacturer. The point of my post is that everything that is made today is not free from imperfections. But to carry on about this like its the end of the world like some are is ludicrous. Sure it was a relatively big bug, but the Author of the article or anyone else has yet to release how many were supposedly affected by this and the ultimate point is this is not the Final version and if someone installed it on a production box expecting to use it as a Final Release then they are to blame because all the disclaimers say not to do that. Seeing as the bug was caught (and fixed) within days of the RC going public I would have to think very few were affected.
          • @shadfurman

            You mean like fords bad choice in tires? It was pretty obvious. It did kill people but it was blatantly obvious and yet they didn't catch or fix it for a number of months. Maybe auto makers need to do a RC similar to the computer companies. Let the craziest of the population test the vehicles like they do OSes. The world would turn on its ear and leprechauns would start throwing gold into the faces of a panicked populace while drinking coors.

          • RC doesn't mean beta

            An RC is not a beta - it's a build produced after you believe beta testing has found all the major bugs, one that might become the final release. This was a pretty serious bug to make it through beta testing undiscovered, but at least they fixed it before release.
          • Candidate without opposition??

            @ bobiroc - Candidate means there are others also in the voting ... Windows 7 & who?

            @ Greenknight_z - yes, beta means testing - RC means "this is what we set in the race that will actually be released"; _neither_ "may or may not be in the race ... " _nor_ "may or may not be released".

            Using bobiroc's analogy from politics, it is ridiculous to send a RC without alternative, or releasing something else than what was the RC. Where do you people get your education? Or is RC just another word for ?green-banana policy? software.

            "The day Microsoft makes something that doesn't suck is probably
            the day they start making vacuum cleaners " -- Ernst Jan Plugge
          • Its still part of the testing phase

            So its not inaccurate. I do agree that this could have been a serious bug if it was not discovered, but I do not think it caused mass issues with anyone since it was discovered and patched within a few days. In software terms beta and RC are both testing and the primary difference is when it makes it to the RC stage(s) the features are done and now it is time to iron out any kinks.
    • No big deal, We're used to those windoze "issues"

      It's business as usual, who cares?
      InAction Man
      • RE: No big deal, We're used to those windoze "issues"

        So true Inattentionman. Just Like we are used to the daily updates in Solaris, SUSE, FreeBSD, etc. And you missed that opportunity again.
        • dude that made no sense

          and linux has issues too, you can be a blind
          believer if you want too, but nothing is
          perfect and nothing digital is secure.
          • Black and white much?

            There aren't only two levels, "perfect" and
            "windows"; there are shades in between.
          • Wow....

            I nominate this for MS bashing comment of the year. You actually believe that every OS is perfect except for windows? Really?