FTM 2011 File Access Denied

Posted October 13, 2011 11:38am

DavidBriggs writes...

I cannot seem to get GenSmarts to load my FTM 2011 file. Each time I attempt to open the file I get the GenSmarts message "File Access Denied". How do I get the file open?

My environment is:

Windows Vista Home Premium

FTM 2011 ver

GenSmarts ver

On 2011-10-13 4:48pm GenSmarts replied...

The message is Windows Vista telling you that it's not going to let GenSmarts access your file.

It could be that you have another program running that has exclusive access to the file already and is preventing anything else from looking at it. FTM itself does this - you have to run GenSmarts and let GenSmarts open the file before running FTM.

It could be that you have Vista security on the file or folder set restrictively such that it doesn't allow a program like GenSmarts to access it. These restrictive settings are often the default if the file outside of your MyDocuments folder hierarchy.

Try opening another genealogy file and see if it produces the same error. Also try opening the GenSmarts SAMPLE.GED located in the program directory. Understanding what works and what doesn't will be a valuable clue in sorting out why your Windows Vista is denying access.

On 2011-10-14 11:06am DavidBriggs added...

Thanks for your quick reply and suggestions.

I do not have FTM running when I try to open the file.

Here's what happens when I initially open GenSmarts

  1. I get a GenSmarts message: Unable to check for updates - unable to write to C:\Users\Public\Documents\GenSmarts\GenSmarts.INI - and I click on OK

  2. I get another GenSmarts message - Backup of GenSmarts files to C:\Users\Public\Documents\GenSmarts\failed and I click on OK

  3. I get another GenSmarts message - File Access Denied and I click on OK

  4. GenSmarts opens up my old FTM 2010 file

  5. I go to the menu bar and click on File > Open and select the FTM button, click OK and select my FTM 2011 file at which point I receive the GenSmarts File Access Denied message.

Vista Security - I also thought that's what be the issue. I looked at the file properties > Security tab and it looks like it's OK but then I'm not really sure. I looked at the FTM folder and the Read Only button was checked and I remove the check but the same sequence of events I previously described happened.

GenSmarts SAMPLE.GED - I tried to open the sample file using the GenSmarts Wizard and received the File Access Denied message.

Next Steps?

Thanks again for you help.

On 2011-10-14 6:51pm GenSmarts replied...

It sounds like either the security settings for the GenSmarts public folder ( C:\Users\Public\Documents\GenSmarts ) are goofed, or the security associated with the GenSmarts executable gsEngine.exe is awry. If it were my machine, I'd start by looking at the security settings associated with those two things. Check out that public folder to make sure it exists (and it should have your GenSmarts.ini in it, and a few other files).

Your settings are all located in that GenSmarts public folder - without access to that folder lots of strange things will probably happen. Fix that issue, and all the other errors are likely to go away.

I've seen some occasional strange results on machines that have been upgraded to Vista "in place". You didn't comment on what changed on your machine between when it worked and when it didn't. You might try uninstalling GenSmarts, then manually deleting the GenSmarts Program Files folder. If it were me, I'd also delete the GenSmarts public folder (save off the contents if you care about saving your settings or "marks" - found, not found, etc). Now that you have a "virgin" environment, reinstall and see if everything works. After you get things working, you can copy back in any saved off files from that public folder.

On 2011-10-15 11:05am DavidBriggs added...

Both the public folder and the .ini file exist however I'm not sure what the security setting should be. I pulled up the Properties and clicked on the security tab but I don't know what I'm looked for to insure that the settings are correct. What should I be looking for in the security tab? I also noticed that there are a number of spreadsheets in the folder and since I use Open Office they were created in OpenOffice.org Calc. While I don't think that's a problem I at least thought I'd mention it.

The Vista that I'm using came with my laptop and I believe the only upgrades are version upgrades that MS has applied. GenSmarts worked before I upgraded to FTM 2011. Other than that I really don't recall that any other changes have been made to my machine except the occasional automatic software updates to MS products, Norton, etc.

I have no issue with uninstalling GenSmarts and reinstalling as long as that's the last alternative. I just first want to make sure that the security settings are correct and since I don't know what they should be any help you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks again for your help.

On 2011-10-15 2:04pm GenSmarts replied...

One more experiment to try... with GenSmarts closed... manually navigate to the first GenSmarts executable GenSmarts.exe and start GenSmarts by double clicking on GenSmarts.exe. You should get the same errors - if you don't, that's an indication that the issue lies in the shortcut/mechanism you are using to start GenSmarts (e.g. Vista is giving you different permissions when starting one way as opposed to another).

There are two sides to the security issue - there's the "who's allowed access" and then there's the "who are you". To investigate the "who's allowed" part, use the ADVANCED button you find at the bottom of the SECURITY tab (that you get when you right click...PROPERTIES... on a file/folder). Look at the OWNER tab to see who owns it, and then look at the EFFECTIVE PERMISSIONS of your user name (you have to use the SELECT... button and then type in your login name to find it). I would expect your effective permissions for both the C:\Users\Public\Documents\GenSmarts folder as well as the GenSmarts.ini file inside that folder would both indicate FULL CONTROL. As far as OWNERSHIP goes, things that are created by the install will typically be owned by the ADMINISTRATOR and things created at run time will be owned by your user name. I would expect the folder will probably show it's owned by ADMINISTRATOR and the GenSmarts.ini file will show your user name as owner.

Report back on what you find.

On 2011-10-15 5:50pm DavidBriggs added...

With GenSmarts closed I manually executed the GenSmarts.exe and got the same results as the shortcut.

I checked EFFECTIVE PERMISSIONS on my user name for both the file folder and the .ini file and I have Full Control on both. I am also the OWNER on both.

On 2011-10-15 8:07pm GenSmarts replied...

Not sure what it means, but it's unusual for your user id to be the owner of the public GenSmarts folder - that's typically assigned to the Administrators group because it's created by the install (which runs under admin privileges). In any case, at this point, I'd suggest the reinstall as described earlier. Make sure you delete both the pub docs GenSmarts folder as well as the program files GenSmarts folder before you start - you want to make sure it's the installation process that has to create those folder (not just reuse the ones that are there). Be sure to save a copy of the pub docs GenSmarts folder before you start (or, maybe simpler, just rename that folder rather than deleting it). Just double check that it doesn't exist before you run the install.

FYI - the version you are using is a bit out of date, so I'd suggest downloading the latest install from:


On 2011-10-16 8:28am DavidBriggs added...

I've reinstalled GenSmarts per your instructions and that seems to have corrected the issue. As I've thought more about it perhaps my original installation of GenSmarts was the cause of the problem. I think the original installation was bundled as part of my FTM purchase several years ago and it was only recently that I upgraded to the newer GenSmarts version. I didn't uninstall the original copy so maybe that was the root of the problem. In any case it appears fixed and working now so thanks for your help and walking me through the problem solving process.

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