SharePoint 2010 – Troubleshooting Access Denied


We had a mind-breaking issue on our demo environment today. In the matter of security, a site collection administrator is always capable of browsing through the intranet. But security tests with “normal” users didn’t succeeded (Permission Level: Contribute), we’ll received always an “Access Denied”:

We followed these steps to identify the problem:

  1. Checking al common libraries (Master Pages, Style Library, Site Collection Images) on the following topics:
    1. All files checked-in (MasterPage, PageLayout, Stylesheets, Scripts, Images …)
    2. All files are published
    3. Version is higher or equal than “1.0”
    4. The security group or the user can at least read the library (Check Permissions for users…)
  2. Our Homepage and MasterPage contains custom webparts
    1. one by one, remove everything in your MasterPage
      the layout became so basic but at a suddent moment, the “Access Denied” was vanished 🙂

the actual cause:

one custom webpart had a routing for checking if a user is member of a certain SharePoint group, changing this piece into SPRunWithElevatedPrivileges did the trick 🙂 A normal user with Contribute rights has no rights to check for security settings…

It is a pitty that the logging of SharePoint is not smarter enough to elaborate more information when an Access Denied exception is thrown. Hopefully this is getting better in the next release 🙂

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