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Help needed! Access denied for the root site for all users except Site Collection Administrators?!

Posted By:      Posted Date: September 28, 2010    Points: 0   Category :SharePoint

We had implemented an intranet for a customer. Last week on friday we completed the project and they were allowed access to it. Next monday they had done some changes while trying to learn SharePoint (among others the Site Members groups had been deleted) and since then they have been unable to access the root site (e.g. http://intradev/default.aspx) and get a SharePoint Access Denied message. While the root site fails, users can browse to the subsites (e.g. http://intradev/subsite/default.aspx) and view them just fine.

We've noticed that users that are in the Site Collection Administrators group can view the root site just fine. Due to this, we made an educated guess that users had no permissions on the root web. But explicitly adding permissions to the root web does not work. The logon still fails. While it doesn't work in the root web, the permissions are inherited to all subsites, and users can log on and browse those pages just fine.

I've checked pretty much everything. I've tried giving permissions to users in the root site. I've ensured in Central Admin that 'Full Control' does actually give full control of everything. Only thing I've not yet tried is restoring the content database to an earlier backup, where the site was working nicely. 

I'm totally confused by this problem. If you've got any ideas or have encountered a similar

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