I am having a crazy issue that a number of list items in a large list are inheriting their permissions from the parent list and not the folder that they are in.

Is there a programmatic way that I could correct this so that all items in the list inherit their permissions from the folder they are in AND NOT from the list.

I know this might sound crazy, so I will state it clearly. The folders have broken inheritance with specific permissions. But the items in the folders inherit their permissions from the list. I have confirmed this in the UI and via the Server Object Model.

If anyone has EVER seen this happen before, please add a comment to my question. I am quite curious about what you did and if you were able to find a root cause.

  • I saw similar problem just a few days ago. One of our users reports me, that if he try to assign rights to some excel file under one ordinary folder with broken inheritance in one ordinary library, file won't keep them and rights was changed for whole library. It was scary :o) We must create view without folders, find the document, change its permissions and check it back in view with folders. It seems that file doesn't belongs to folder, where we found it but its OK from that day
    – Molik
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 19:59
  • @Molik, I updated my answer with additional details. What steps did you take? Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 23:37
  • Our problems are very specific and similar at the same time :) We used some specific migration tool that caused some sort of problems with rights about year ago and consequences are still visible, see this post sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/15910/… we have repaired 6 from 9 afected SCs right now and work still continues. But this weird thing became only once.
    – Molik
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


This seems to have been caused by a third party tool from SharePoint Boost. While reseting permissions as I describe below did fix the issue with existing items it did not on newly created items. This was a user created "application" that worked with the custom SP Boost product. Rather than continuing to use it we have redeployed the site in SP 2010 and split the permissioned folders into their own custom lists. Items are added into the correct list using a custom app page with the ECMA CSOM.

I reset this by just resetting role inheritance on the folders, then reseting the items, then breaking and assigning new permissions to the folders and it worked. The items all inherit their permissions from the folder they are in and not the list.

$site    =     new-object Microsoft.SharePoint.SPSite("http://domain.com/")
$web     =    $Site.OpenWeb("web") 
$list    =    $web.Lists["List"]

foreach($folder in $list.Folders)
foreach($item in $list.Items)

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