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Hi i have this strange issue, i have users added as site collection administrator. the user can access site settings page but when try to access default.aspx page which has a custom master page they get access denied.

Cant figure out what to do ? Please help.

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try publish the master page using 'Publish Major Version'. It is under Site Setting->Master page layout... (forget the exact menu). –  urlreader Apr 11 at 23:02
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1 Answer

Verify that all of the custom assets used by the custom master page are checked in and approved. Also check that the new master page itself is checked in and approved along with any Page Layouts that may be being used.

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double checked everything - master page is published and approved everything is approved, cant find the root cause. –  Rutul Oct 26 '12 at 22:59
    
Basically, anything that is referenced from the server side, including scripts and images, needs to be published. Things included on the client site (like images rendered in CSS) just would appear broken but if they are included as part of some server component in the master page then it causes this precise issue. –  Dave Wise Oct 29 '12 at 21:12
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