How can I access a locked folder after re-installing my operating system?

spandan January 26, 2011

I have locked a folder a few months ago. Due to some problem I have re-installed my operating system. Now I can’t access this folder; it opens in control panel. It contains important documents. How can I fix this problem? Please help!

  1. Mail
    October 29, 2011 at 11:16 am

    use i linux live cd and boot (start) your computer (get kubuntu from distrowatch).
    99% you will be able to see your files and open your office documents (doc, xls, ...).
    you will not be asked for security passwords etc.

    greetings from greece, rhodes

  2. Aibek
    September 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

    still having issues with it? Did you try suggestions mentioned above? if the tips above didn't help you I suggest asking this as anew question on MakeUseOf Answers, // . You're a lot more likely to receive a working solution this way.

  3. Nitesh Sharma
    August 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    i used a folder lock software and locked a folder.....than  by some problem i uninstaled this software so
    my folder is  not find
    how to access my folder i m using window7

  4. Fifearab
    March 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    i bought a new pc which had the OS installed at source,when i print it comes up with someones name on it,not mine,i traced it to c:/users Gemma, this folder name cant be changed as it has a padlock icon on it can you tell me how to change this,i have changed the names of the owner etc in the registry but this folder appears to be causing the original problem, my OS is windows 7 32bit.Thanks Fin

    • Tina
      March 6, 2011 at 7:59 pm


      please submit a new question. On the MakeUseOf Answers website, click the green 'Ask a Question' button in the top right. Thank you!

    • Riyas khan
      March 7, 2011 at 5:20 am

      Hi, i think its not such a big task, if u wanna raname that forlder, u have to get permission for that, u may confused to get the permission, so i can provide another way to get permission right away from the folder which u want to modify, just click the below link and download the zip file as "Add Take" and install it, after that just right click on the folder which u want to rename/modify and select option take ownership, i hope it will work, have a nice day

  5. Belching Mouse
    February 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Download the latest "Puppy Linux" to make a live CD. Boot from the CD and take a look at the locked folder. You could then be able to copy the folder or its contents to another location. Reboot into Windows and see if the relocated folder/files are usable. Puppy doesn't particularly care about NTFS user rights. reads NTFS files much faster than most flavors of Linux, and is an excellent repair or recovery tool.

  6. Tina
    February 3, 2011 at 12:11 am


    you may not have noticed that there were replies to your question. Well, there are quite a few and we just recently enabled comment notification. So if you see this, please come over, check the answers to your question and let us know whether they were helpful.

    Thank you!

  7. Aibek
    January 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Hi Spandan,

    Did you manage to get access to that locked folder of yours? Could you please update us.


  8. tartist
    January 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I've just been through something very similar myself. Here's what I did: reboot into Safe Mode. Right click on the folder affected and select properties. Select tab "security". My memory on the exact steps now is unclear, but you are looking for the part where it lets you take ownership of the folder.

    The other thing in my armoury is a program called Unlocker. It's free. Google for it. You may find that your antivirus program screams at it, but that's normal; it is after all going to fiddle with your folder's properties. After installation, right click on your folder, select "Unlocker" and follow instructions.

  9. Cesar
    January 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    How can I empty locked trash after re-installing MS XP?

    • Tina
      January 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm


      did you try the methods explained above to regain access to your trash folder?

      You might have to post a new question.

  10. Bob
    January 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Would it be possible to use a Linux boot disk and log on as Root to get access to the folder?

  11. Anonymous
    January 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm


    This issue may occur if the folder that you cannot open was created on an NTFS file system volume by using a previous installation of Windows, and then installing Windows XP. This issue may occur although you enter the correct user name and password. This issue occurs because the security ID for the user has changed. Although you use the same user name and password, your security ID no longer matches the security ID of the owner of the folder that you cannot open.
    For example, although you use the same user name and password, you may no longer have permission to open the folder after you complete the following steps:

    •Before you install Windows XP Professional, you change the actual location, or target location, of the My Documents folder to another volume.
    •You format the primary partition.
    •You install Windows XP Professional.
    Source: Microsoft

    Log in as Administrator and see if you can get to them.

    If that doesn't work then try safe mode logging in as Administrator.
    restart in Safe mode [you must in order to get the Security tab on folders to appear], log on with an account that has administrative rights. Rclick a folder on the drive, select properties, > security tab, > advanced tab, click owner, click edit, click your user name in the list [or Administrator] and check Replace owner on subcontainers and object, and Ok.

    January 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Based on the assumption that you reinstalled the same operating system and you have an administrator account, you can try these steps:

    -- right clicking on the folder
    -- click on the Security tab
    -- click on Advanced tab
    -- select Change Permissions in the Advanced window
    -- when Permission entries show
    -- uncheck Deny
    -- apply
    -- ok

    Try taking ownership of the file:

    For XP:
    For 7:

  13. Tina
    January 26, 2011 at 7:27 pm


    to answer this question we need more information!

    Which operating system are you using?
    Did you install the same operating system under which the folder was locked?
    How did you lock the folder and which software did you use?

    Thank you for providing this additional information!

    • Riyas2khan
      February 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

      this is not a problem...make sure by which application u have locked your folder..u just (download and) install that application..and then u can acces the folder...

    • Riyas2khan
      March 7, 2011 at 5:38 am

      i have tried this with, windows 7 & Xp, i used the appltication "folder access". after i formatted my system i just installed this application, and create a new password and i could access the folder with the new password...

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