I am currently looking at an interesting issue with a WSS 3 standalone instance. Up until late last week all was working with well. Users are now reporting issues. Users with Full Control access can't see various menu items and when the add documents they get an access denied error message.

The obvious first step was to confirm that the permissions were not altered. I confirmed this all looked good and that the libraries that they were adding to were set up with the right inheritence etc. The only thing that IT confirmed was that they did apply security updates to the app server and domain controllers.

I am suspecting something else ast the problem. They are really unclear on what if anything might of been done on the AD level that might of introduced this.

Is there anything else that I might be able to point my finger on?

5 Answers 5


Do you have backups running?

You may want to validate that the site collection is not locked in Central Admin: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263050(v=office.12).aspx

Sometimes, the site collection gets stuck in read-only mode when it is in the middle of a backup and a reset happens.

  • So...the problem was that the site collection was locked. How did this happen?? Although I have been around admins that made foolish mistakes, I can't see this being a purposeful change. What can I look at other reasons why this was in read-only mode. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 21:24
  • @Paul: Not sure about your environment, but this happens to us when stsadm -o backup gets interrupted; it sets the site collection to read only, is in the process of backing up, and then gets interrupted before it can set the flag back. I'm guessing maybe when they were applying the security updates?
    – Kit Menke
    Commented Apr 22, 2011 at 13:36
  • Is there a similar easy solution for SP2010 too? Thanks, Anthony
    – user21098
    Commented Nov 28, 2013 at 12:21
  • WHO
  • WHAT

WHO: Is every user facing this problem or just some of them? If just some having trouble, try to find a connection between them (like same location, same AD-Group, etc)

WHERE: Does the problem occur on every site, list, website, site collection -or just on some of it? Try to figure out if the problem ist list, site or site collection related


see various menu items

Be specific: Which items are missing. Try to figure out, which permissions are needed to see this items. You might be able to find out which permission(-level) is not granted.

  • This environment is pretty straight forward. The farm is one web app with one site collection. THe collection is made up of several sub sites. The problem occurs across the site collection. I looked at Central Admin this morning and the security settings look ok. As far as whats missing from the menus it is realted to the create permission. From the Site Settings menu all you see is the site settings link. From lists you don't see the New button/edit button etc. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 13:18

It could be a Web Application Security Policy that is applied to the specified site collection, that allows only read only access to everything. Can you confirm that it is only the users with full control that can't add documents / view all menu options ? If so, I would suspect that to be the problem.

  • This is happening to all users including Site Collection Admins. Commented Apr 21, 2011 at 13:02

This is just something I have seen crop up before but did you check the security logs for the server and also for the SQL server? May not be an issue, but it sounds siumilar to an issue we had before.


I have a quick and dirty checklist that usually solves the "why can't I use this permission problem" typically in this order as I find these problems are the most common from the #1 and upwards:

1) Row Level Permission Check
2) Item (Document Library, List, etc) Permission Check
3) Site and Site Collection Permission Check
4) Web Application Permission Check
5) Site Lock Check
6) Check if everything is Clean at the AD Level (is account enabled, am I in correct groups with correct privileges, etc.)
7) Check Service Accounts That are Delegating my login via Kerberos and their permissions, is Kerberos Sane (if applicable)
8) Event Log for errors if all else fails, start turning on audits, etc...

Almost always I can solve my permissions issues with this simple list.

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