Robocopy may report error 1338 "The security descriptor structure is invalid" or error 87 "The parameter is incorrect" when copying data from CIFS file servers.

This article provides a solution to error 1338 or error 87 that occurs when copying files and their associated file security from a CIFS file server.

Original product version:   Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2012 R2
Original KB number:   2459083

Symptoms

Robocopy may report one the following errors for some files, when copying files and their associated file security from a CIFS file server:

yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss ERROR 1338 (0x0000053A) Copying NTFS Security to Destination File <file pathname>
The security descriptor structure is invalid.

yyyy/mm/dd hh:mm:ss ERROR 87 (0x00000057) Copying NTFS Security to Destination File <file pathname>
The parameter is incorrect.

The error only occurs when copying file security, for example, by specifying /SEC or /COPYALL on the Robocopy command line. If file security is not copied, all files are copied successfully, and no errors are reported.

Cause

The error is caused by the CIFS file server returning invalid security information for a file. For example, if the CIFS file server returns a NULL Security ID (SID) for a file's Owner, or a file's Primary Group, when Robocopy tries to copy this information to the destination file, Windows will return error 87 "The parameter is incorrect" or error 1338 "The security descriptor is invalid". This is by design - file security information in Windows is expected to contain both Owner and Primary Group SIDs.

Resolution

On the CIFS file server, use the appropriate tools to correct the security information for affected files, and ensure that all affected files have both an Owner SID and a Primary Group SID.

More information

This is by design - file security information in Windows is expected to contain both Owner and Primary Group SIDs. For more information about Security Descriptors and Access Control Lists:

https://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc781716(WS.10).aspx