Cannot Print as Standard User? Fix TEMP Folder Permissions

Moving your Temp folder can sometimes cause printing issues in Windows, depending upon how the Permissions are set in the destination folder or drive. After changing your TEMP or TMP user environment variables in order to move your Temp folder to a different drive, the new Temp folder inherits the Permissions from parent, often resulting in missing NTFS Permissions for your user account.

After moving the TEMP folder, running the command ICACLS %TEMP% from Command Prompt typically shows the Permission entries as below, or slightly similar:

BUILTIN\Administrators:(I)(F)
BUILTIN\Administrators:(I)(OI)(CI)(IO)(F)
NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(I)(F)
NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(I)(OI)(CI)(IO)(F)
NT AUTHORITY\Authenticated Users:(I)(OI)(CI)(IO)(M)
BUILTIN\Users:(I)(RX)
BUILTIN\Users:(I)(OI)(CI)(IO)(GR,GE)

There are two things here, your user account is missing in the list. Also, Authenticated Users and Users have Modify and Read/Execute accesses for your TEMP folder, which are not required. With the above Permissions, the following problems occur:

  • Test page doesn’t print from standard user token, even if you’re administrator. Elevated programs are able to print.

  • Microsoft Print to PDF generates a 0-byte file or does nothing when printed as standard user.

In short, the following are the Permission entries we really need.

NT AUTHORITY\SYSTEM:(OI)(CI)(F)
BUILTIN\Administrators:(OI)(CI)(F)
W10-PC\Ramesh:(OI)(CI)(F)

*where Ramesh in this example, is the user name.

Here is how to fix the Permissions for the TEMP folder.

Fixing the TEMP folder Permissions

Open a elevated or Admin Command Prompt. Type the following commands exactly as given below, and press ENTER after each command:

icacls %temp% /inheritance:r
icacls %temp% /grant %username%:(OI)(CI)F /T /C
icacls %temp% /grant Administrators:(OI)(CI)F /T /C
icacls %temp% /grant System:(OI)(CI)F /T /C
md %temp%\Low
icacls %temp%\Low /setintegritylevel (OI)(CI)low

The first command removes all inherited Permissions for the TEMP folder, and the next three commands are to grant Administrators, SYSTEM and your user account Full Control Permissions recursively (including sub-folders and files). And the last command sets the integrity level of %TEMP%\Low folder to Low Mandatory Integrity Level, so that the folder can be accessed by programs running in low IL, like Internet Explorer. This needs to be set in order to avoid printing issues in Web browsers, like Internet Explorer.



Now you get this result when running ICACLS %TEMP%, which is exactly what we need.

That should fix printing issues related to incorrect NTFS Permissions. You can of course configure the same Permissions using Permissions dialog via Temp folder properties; but I personally prefer Icacls because it’s a quicker way to accomplish the task. If you’re doing it using Permissions tab, it should eventually look like this.

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About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

5 thoughts on “Cannot Print as Standard User? Fix TEMP Folder Permissions”

  1. Well done Sir!
    It was pretty helpful to fix my printing issues in Win 10.
    If have moved the %temp% folder since NT times back in the 1990s and did not face this before.
    BR, some thankful guest 😉

  2. My AppData file was faultless (it already looked like you showed), so there must be another reason for why I cannot print PDFs from Outlook with “Microsoft print to PDF”
    (I was “force updated” to Win 10 (Pro in my case) last summer)

  3. This kinda solved the problem. The issue is, I have to do this every new day I turn on the PC. Is there a way to keep these changes forever?

  4. Thanks. It solved a problem I have had for a couple of months for which I have tried other solutions that were aimed at correcting problem with the spooler system.

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