First, try disabling UAC. Open the Control Panel (Classic Style), then double click on "User Accounts", then in the "Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off", UNCHECK the box for "User Account Control". Reboot the computer.
Once that's done, Vista may warn you of the lack of security by throwing a red or yellow warning shield in the lower right corner/system tray. You can disable that as well by opening Control Panel, then the "Security Center" icon, then select the "Don't Notify me and don't display the icon" option.
If that doesn't get it done, then see the instructions in the link below:
Hope this helps.
Everytime I try to open my computer, my documents, even control panel, my computer pops up this message- "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.", and doesn't open. How do I fix this? this is a vista home basic on my dell inspiron 1501.
Note: My computer was reformatted with recovery disk, dunno if that has something to do with this. Additional details: same message pops up when trying to open up control panel and windows update; on administrator still has same problem; can access files though by, for example, opening itunes browsing through hard drive for song and play it, or same with a word doc. but still has problem.