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 Windows File System Woes: Why Do I Get Access Denied? Windows File System Woes: Why Do I Get Access Denied? Ever wonder why you might get an "Access Denied" error message in Windows? It might have something to do with your file-system permissions. Read More 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 Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Windows Administrator Account: Everything You Need to Know Starting with Windows Vista, the built-in Windows Administrator account is disabled by default. You can enable it, but do so at your own risk! We show you how. Read More 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 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro Windows user accounts have evolved from isolated local accounts to online accounts with various privacy challenges. We help you sort out your accounts and find the settings that work for you. Read More 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

Explore more about: Troubleshooting, Windows 10.

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  1. Jerry Adelman
    June 12, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I tried it. No success. I am running 1809 with the latest updates. I have let Microsoft Techs remote control the device with no success, 4 times now. The Case is still openOnly two directories are affected. All my files are synched on OneDrive. Still the same result. Is there something in the Registry to fix this? Any help would be appreciated. BTW, the problem started when I decided to use AutoSave to OneDrive in Word.

  2. Martin Benedek
    March 25, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Thank you very much it worked! I'm happy?

  3. Lau Russ
    March 10, 2019 at 9:40 am

    It seems to me that the last step in this process has been overlooked - at least for a Win 10 OS. 'Permissions' also have to set for the Owner.

    After you establish OWNERSHIP, close out of all the screens, then again open Security-Advanced to set PERMISSIONS for the Owner.

    In the "Permission Entries" box, the Owner's name/account will probably still NOT be shown. So you need to ADD the name. Click the ADD button below the "Permission Entries" box. On the next screen, click on "SELECT A PRINCIPAL". In the pop-out window, type your account name [such as Bob or Jane], then click CHECK NAMES and 'OK'. It will say something like MyComputer\Bob. Click 'OK'.

    The popup window disappears, and now you are on a screen which allows you to specifically set "BASIC PERMISSIONS" for the Owner (such as MyComputer\Bob). Click the box next to "FULL CONTROL" .

    That screen disappears and you are back to the "PERMISSION ENTRIES" screen that now shows that your Owner account has full permissions. At the bottom of that screen, click the box "replace all child entry permission entries ... ". Click 'OK'. The window closes with a message or two from Windows - and now you're set ! You have BOTH 'Ownership' and 'Full Permissions' on that file or folder.

    In the original 'Permissions' screen, after you have taken ownership, it usually shows that both Administrators and Users have full permissions. On the face of it, that would seem to enough. But to really work with the file/folder, in practice, it seems you need to expressly set FULL PERMISSIONS for the OWNER account.

  4. marty
    January 20, 2019 at 6:21 am

    didn't work.
    I'm a window insider. Just changed my system to 64bit and now the 10T external harddrive cannot be accessed through win explorer . D:\ is not accessible, access denied. But I can use Glary disk explorer to access it ok, but that limits what I can do with the files and directories ????????

    Ver 1809 64bit

  5. Add
    October 25, 2018 at 9:25 am

    when I press change next to unable to display current owner it doesn't ask me for password and just says denied

  6. Megan
    August 7, 2018 at 3:07 am

    my problem was self inflicted I wanted to have only me be able to access one of my drives so i set it so only administrators could access the drive, which somehow made it impossible for me to access the drive too haha, i am the administrator though.

    i used this method to let my account access the drive and seems to be working. so thankyou. but i'm worried i wrecked something because the recycle bin got corrupted aaa and i'm worried that i'll have issues down the road because of my foolhardiness.

  7. Bernth
    July 27, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for the tips! But in the latest released Windows 10, Build (1803), it's not possible to get Administrator rights to some folders, no matter how many times you try to adding rights! It goes back to the status it had, before changing!
    So how it will be possible to delete a Folder, I really would like to know!
    This here, is more than frustrating, not to could have access to you'r own Computer!

  8. Andre
    July 25, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks a lot! this totally helped me!! I did a custom install of windows 10 in my laptop cos it crashed and when i went to windows old to access my google drive folder i could not enter, i got the access denied message. I was really confused because i had all my important files on it, like all my work!! Thank you very much for the help.

  9. Kleyton Soares
    June 13, 2018 at 8:21 am


    After following your step-by-step, on the 'Permissions' tab in 'Advanced Security Settings for ' window, I have the following message: 'You do not have permission to view or edit this object's permission settings'.

    What else could I do?

    June 6, 2018 at 8:49 am

    To leave this site without saying thank you for helping me recover very vital information would be so ungrateful of me. Thank you very much for your insights. I followed all the steps and recovered my data.

  11. Jim maier
    March 7, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    I tested your advise on a file within an external drive. The drive was removed from my XP desktop (hardware failure). Everything in that drive was noted as inaccessible through windows 10. Can this approach be used to access all files on the external drive without having to go though this for each individual file. As you can probably tell, I'm a novice. I stuck with XP because it worked well with SkechuUp. Sadly, Windows 10 not so much. Thanks

  12. Sandhiya
    January 23, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Hii I'm sandhiya:
    I'm using windows 8 on my laptop my local disk e can not be open while i can try to open the drive location is not available
    E:\is not accessible.
    Access is denied
    Is be shows in case I've been to open Disk e properties to change the security advanced to click mean's it's shows unable to display current owner to click the change
    You do not have permission to view this objects security properties, even as an administrativeuser to taking ownership of the object, which includes permission to view it's properties, click change above .
    It can be to show how can be to change?

  13. Tobias
    January 17, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Hello, i downloaded a program and every folder and file is like this. Do you have any idea how to do this to all folders and files at once, or in a faster manner than doing it over and over again?

    • Ben Stegner
      January 18, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      Hi Tobias -- can you try performing the above instructions on the root of your C: drive and apply them to all subfolders so you can change them all at once? Open a File Explorer window and browse to This PC, then right-click on your Windows drive (likely C:) and follow the instructions above.

      If this doesn't work, you may have downloaded a malicious program that locked you out of your files. It's worth running a scan with Malwarebytes to check if something's up.

  14. Lee
    January 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Your instructions were so much clearer than any others I've found. Worked all morning and failed until I found your article. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!!!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 12, 2018 at 5:19 pm

      I'm glad this helped you!

  15. Liam Brown
    January 5, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Thank you for this information :) But If the problem persists, try or install Long Path Tool program. It's effective and efficient to use. I hope this helps because it helped me a lot. My friends recommended it to me so I'm recommending it to people who faced the same problems as I did.

  16. Neil E Levin
    January 4, 2018 at 3:34 am

    This fixed my problem. I got a new computer and downloaded my Carbonite data, but some folders (My Photos, My Videos) wouldn't open. When I did the above Owner showed but there was a permission entry labeled Deny access to everyone. I was able to select and edit that, toggle from Deny to Allow, apply and voila! Thanks!!!

    • Ben Stegner
      January 4, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      I'm so glad this helped you!

  17. ScN
    December 30, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Sadly this fix failed to accomplish anything.
    Likewise various Regedits have had no effect.

    It would be nice if Microsoft would upgrade the filesystem.
    I've seen suggestions that a linux mount will fix things up.

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

    Thank you! It worked

  19. 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.

    • Megan
      August 7, 2018 at 3:09 am

      yeah, i'm feeling the same with my new lovely computer
      it has windows 10 and everything is different and hard to access
      and it makes me mad a lot

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

    Thank you!

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

    It worked according to the steps you gave.

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

    Fix worked thanks

  23. 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.

      • KV
        April 23, 2018 at 1:43 am

        There is only one login.. I'm having the same issue. When I tried to complete these steps, I was listed as the owner and didn't have permission to change it.

  24. 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.

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

    This worked for me. Excellent! Thank you!

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.