How to Fix “Access Denied” Folder Errors on Windows 10
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It’s always interesting when Windows tells you don’t have permission to access something on your own computer. Sometimes, when you attempt to access a folder Windows will lock you out with an Access Denied error.

Of course, if you’re not an administrator on your computer, you’ll see these errors if you try to access protected folders or other users’ files. Assuming you have admin rights and still see these permission denied errors, here’s how to fix them.

Open up a File Explorer window and browse to the folder you need to access. Right-click on it and choose Properties. In the resulting window, change to the Security tab and click the Advanced button at the bottom. Here, you’ll see some text that says Owner: and probably Unable to display current owner next to it. Click the Change link to the right of this to change the item’s owner.

Now, you’ll need to select which people or groups can access the resource. In the Enter the object name to select box, type Administrators to allow all PC admins to access it, or just your username if you prefer. Click Check Names and the box text will auto-correct to PCNAME\Administrators; click OK to accept this.

Finally, back on the Advanced Settings window, check the box for Replace owner on subcontainers and objects below the Owner field. This ensures you can access everything inside that folder without having to repeat these steps. Click OK and you’re all set to access the folder!

Have you encountered a folder error like this? Let us know if this method worked for you in the comments!

Image Credit: KUMOHD via Shutterstock

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  1. S
    December 8, 2017 at 9:53 am

    Thank you! It worked

  2. Circa
    November 29, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    This is the dumbest shit ever. Every day I go to use my new surface, I'm having to google how to use this retarded thing because of the limitations on everything.

  3. Dog
    November 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you!

  4. Ati Moror
    November 23, 2017 at 7:05 am

    It worked according to the steps you gave.

  5. Annette
    November 15, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Fix worked thanks

  6. Eric G
    November 9, 2017 at 4:58 am

    Apparently I don't have permission to change ownerships

    • Lynard B
      December 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      You will not be able to change ownership if you are not logged onto the computer as an Administrator. You can set up a separate logon account as an Administrator or change your current account type to Administrator.

  7. Xene
    September 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I only have one user account on my pc and it's an admin. I've been trying to delete an unimportant folder in a root gaming folder and it keeps telling me I need permission. Did this step by step and it still asks me for permission. Tried renaming the folder... and windows 10 shows how absolutely awesome it is by telling me that "The action can't be completed because the folder or file is open in another program." It's not open in another program, not even in the background.

    • Rafael Jeffery
      October 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      That's because there are empty folders in the folder. That happens to me a lot with Steam. I just go through each folder and manually delete each one.

  8. Sudhakaran T
    August 17, 2017 at 7:37 am

    This worked for me. Excellent! Thank you!

  9. C.Adams
    May 18, 2017 at 6:25 am

    This was not the issue for me. I eventually figured out that the files were encrypted before being copied from one computer (Win 7) to this one (Win 10). I had to go back to the source drive, un-encrypt the folders/files, and then copy them back over. To un-encrypt (in Win 7), I go to the folder's Properties, click Advanced button, and un-check "Encrypt contents to secure data". Then click OK and follow prompts to apply it to all sub-folders and files.

  10. Marie A. Inneo
    May 16, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    ARGH!!! I have followed the steps, but after I click Advanced, I am NOT taken to a window that says Owner anywhere. My tabs are for Permissions, Auditing, and Effective Access. I cannot change anything. I am extremely frustrated that I cannot delete a folder from my computer even WITH administrator rights. HELP!

  11. Bob
    May 7, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Does not work,it won't let me apply the changes.Then goes on to say something about error if you propogate changes ..bla bla bla.

    My problem "i think"has to do with OS/me /user is on C drive but folder/files are on D drive.

    So i tried this for the entire D drive and it won't let me.

    In the security field there is desktop ...../users and desktop/administrators but there is not my actual name which is adminstrators/Bob.

  12. cody winters
    April 18, 2017 at 1:50 am

    this worked well for me, i did have to restart a couple times while attempting the process as it was giving me access denied errors DURING the process. once it was complete however, a wide range of bizarre issues went away, thanks a ton.

  13. richard
    March 11, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I think that I had to reboot the computer after making this change. So far, anyway, that is working (though saving is very slow, probably a problem independent of this change), whereas before rebooting and after changing ownership I was still getting "access denied" messages.

  14. Jamie West
    February 25, 2017 at 1:18 am

    When I click on the button to change the item's owner, it tells me I don't have permission to view or edit this object's permission settings.