What Is TrustedInstaller & Why Does it Keep Me From Renaming Files?

Chris Hoffman 06-02-2013

trustedinstaller rename fileTrustedInstaller is a built-in user account in Windows 8, Windows 7 The Windows 7: Ultimate Guide If you are afraid to upgrade from Vista or XP because you feel it is completely different to what you are used to, you should read this new guide. Read More , and Windows Vista. This user account “owns” a variety of system files, including some files in your Program Files folder, your Windows folder, and even the Windows.old folder that is created after you upgrade from one version of Windows to another. To rename or delete these files, you’ll have to take ownership of them away from the TrustedInstaller user account.


If you’ve just upgraded to a new version of Windows Not Sure About Upgrading? Then Why Not Dual Boot Windows 8 With Windows 7? Are you interested in Windows 8, but don’t want to abandon Windows 7 just yet? Well, why not dual-boot Windows 8 and Windows 7, selecting the operating system you want to use each time you... Read More and are trying to get rid of the Windows.old folder, there’s an easier way to do it – you don’t have to delete the folder by hand.

Who Is TrustedInstaller?

The TrustedInstaller user account 4 Common Ways To Password Protect Your Windows User Account Protecting your computer with a password should be common practice, especially if many people potentially have physical access to it. Windows provides several levels on which you can set passwords to lock your user account.... Read More is used by the Windows Modules Installer service included with Windows. This service is responsible for installing, modifying, and removing Windows updates Why Do Apps Nag Me to Update & Should I Listen? [Windows] Software update notifications seem like a constant companion on every computer. Every app wants to update regularly, and they nag us with notifications until we give in and update. These notifications can be inconvenient, especially... Read More and other optional Windows components, so it has the exclusive ability to modify them.

trustedinstaller rename file

Deleting The Windows.old Folder

If you’re trying to delete the C:\Windows.old folder after upgrading to a new version of Windows and you’re seeing a message saying you need permission from TrustedInstaller, you don’t need to take ownership of the files at all. You just need to use the Disk Cleanup wizard How to Automatically Keep Windows 7 Clean of Obsolete Files Windows has a way of collecting virtual dust, a circumstance that has not changed considerably in Windows 7. These obsolete files take up space and contribute to hard drive fragmentation. While neither of this is... Read More .

To open the Disk Cleanup wizard, press the Windows key and type Disk Cleanup. On Windows 7, click the Disk Cleanup shortcut that appears in the Start menu. On Windows 8, click the Settings category and select the “Free up disk space by deleting unnecessary files” shortcut.


permission trustedinstaller rename

Click the Clean up system files button in the Disk Cleanup window.

permission trustedinstaller rename

If you have a Windows.old folder on your hard drive, you’ll see a “Previous Windows installations” checkbox in the list of system files you can delete. Enable the option and click OK. Windows will delete the Windows.old folder for you – ensure you’ve copied any important files out of it before running Disk Cleanup on it.


Taking Ownership of Files

Warning – the TrustedInstaller user account owns your system files. If TrustedInstaller is preventing you from renaming or deleting a folder, it’s often for a good reason. For example, if you rename the C:\Windows\System32 folder, your operating system will stop functioning and will need to be repaired or reinstalled.

permission trustedinstaller rename

You should only take ownership of system files and rename, delete, or move them if you know what you’re doing. If you do know what you’re doing, follow the instructions below to take ownership of the files.

Locate the folder or file you want to take ownership of, right-click it, and select Properties.


trustedinstaller rename file

Click the Security tab in the properties window and click the Advanced button near the bottom.


Click the Change link next to TrustedInstaller to change the owner.


trustedinstaller rename file

Type Administrators into the box and click the Check Names button. Windows will automatically complete the rest of the name. This gives ownership to all administrators on the system. Click the OK button to save this change.


Enable the “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” setting if you want to apply these changes to all subfolders and files in them. Click the OK button at the bottom of the Advanced Security Settings window.


Click the Edit button in the properties window.


Select the Administrators user and enable the Full Control checkbox to give administrator accounts full permissions to the files.

trustedinstaller rename file

Click the OK button twice to save your changes. You now have the ability to rename, delete, or move the files as you please.

If you find yourself regularly taking ownership of files, you may want to download a .reg file that will add a “Take Ownership” option to your right-click menu. You’ll be able to take ownership of files and folders with a few quick clicks.

Why did you need to take ownership of a folder away from TrustedInstaller? Leave a comment and share any other tricks you have!

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  1. Brian Enderwitz
    December 13, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    using mklink to move folders

  2. Kwesi Hopkins
    October 18, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    I had to take ownership from trustedInstaller because my Lenovo laptop kept downloading bloatware such as McAfee antivirus without permission

  3. Decius
    March 9, 2018 at 12:17 am

    For some reason TrustedInstaller took ownership of the entire drive and ate a gig and a half of space in 20 minutes without writing to any files.

  4. josh
    December 31, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    helped me rid myself of microsofts garbage keyloggers and shit browsers that can't be uninstalled traditionally... for some reason

  5. Gromsworth
    March 25, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Doesn't work.

  6. Gromsworth
    March 25, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Doesn't work worth shit.

  7. Ibnul
    March 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Yes you are right, if trusted installer deny something to delete, it is for a good reason(I find out). I deleted my windows.old folder by using disk cleaner but there was two file that didn't deleted. I thought that none of the file will be used anymore by system. But when I take ownership of the file (Thanks for your helpful article) and take full control then I see it is intel audio display driver and its still in use. I could have delete that file by stopping the intel audio manager process but that might cause the audio manager not working properly. Thanks again Chris Hoffman.

  8. Kristiyan
    February 17, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Good people, I thank you with all my heart, and to the creators of the right-click menu.. I adore you. :)

    January 11, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I was cleaning off a hd out of an old computer for use as an extra external hd, so I wanted to get rid of the files I didn't want, including system files.

    January 3, 2017 at 4:03 pm


  11. Mike Young
    December 23, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Suddenly could not get printer to work. Showed error 1068 and 1722. Spooler not working restart methods failed. Troubleshooting site sent me to check permissions. Admin had limid rights. Still not working. Found LexBces server and RPO still listed and am trying to remove so HP printer can be reinstalled. Also warned that this has been used by 2 different viruses. The 1722 Microsoft teredo tunneling pseudo-interface driver problem a friend fixed by deletion. Online troubleshooting solutions failed to correct fix it. Have Windows 7 on a laptop with paid Avast security.

  12. Arnold Ssemuyaga
    October 30, 2016 at 3:41 am

    It says that it will be harder to open files!!!!!!!!!
    Should I do it?

  13. William
    September 30, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    You helped me a lot. Thank you so much

  14. Evan
    September 26, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Worked for me! Easy Instructions, Thank you so much!

  15. john Spresser
    September 26, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Trying to fix winhlp32 that I lost with the latest update of Win 10

  16. Karthig Kunasakaran
    July 13, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Tried but doesn't work. Want to remove windows media player and internet explorer just because I want to. Anyone got another method?

  17. Brewster Poindexter
    April 28, 2016 at 5:15 am

    I need to replace WinHlp Stub with an older, fully functional WinHlp.exe.

  18. arun
    March 27, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    thank you very much :)

  19. Zackarie
    January 13, 2016 at 4:50 am

    Now I get a message saying that I need permission from Administrators to continue. I've tried changing the ownership to myself and Admins, what am I doing wrong???

    • Danielle
      January 13, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      You have to go back to the step where he tells you to select the "full control" box and make sure you have your Users selected instead of admins. Hit the box for full control and you should be good to go.

      • Brett Kisbee
        January 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

        I have just updated to Win 10 on a new HDD but kept the old HDD as a back up and to save copying a lot of files over. I've tried all the steps above to remove Win Vista from the back up HDD, set both the Windows folder & System 32 folder to ownership for Admin & Users, but still keep getting the request for User authorisation about halfway through the deletion process, but it's only asking me to try again or cancel.

        Suggestions or is it just a Vista thing.

      • Brett Kisbee
        January 18, 2017 at 10:57 am

        I've tried the above suggestions to remove Win Vista from my old HDD. I don't want to format it as I still have a lot of files on there that I use. I've made full permissions to both Admin & Users in the Windows folder & System 32 folder, but still keep getting the msg that I need User permission to delete the files.

        Any suggestions or is it a crappy Vista thing?

      • Brett Kisbee
        January 18, 2017 at 10:58 am

        Sorry if that's a dbl post, my first post didn't show.

  20. Wil DeLorme
    January 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Hey Chris,

    I mostly use my PC for Flight Simming. I recently purchased a replica of G1000 which is the glass cockpit control/visual on a large number of commercial and general aviation aircraft. Well the current software I was using the sim (x-plane) and the G1000 software (Simavio) could not do the job, allowing me to use my G1000 to its fullest extent. So I was directed by a large number of folks that I needed to switch to Prepar3D or MSFlight Simulator X and the Mindstar G1000 software. Well, I took the plunge and Prepar3D was my choice of the two, and it installed fine. However, the Mindstar software seemed to install without error, but does not work at all. Its like it partially installed without any visual errors or complaints from windows 10 or Windows 8.1... The mindstar folks say its permissions in windows. I tried manually changing the permissions of those folders and files associated with bother programs and I tried changing my user account settings to their lowest level but to no avail, it failed. I'm not sure what to do, and currently this software is the only one that can work currently in my particular case.

    Do you have any idea? You can contact me at if you can think of a work around. thanks


  21. Don
    January 10, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I am considering taking some files away from TrustedInstaller in order to remove the GWX.exe malware. I've long ago uninstalled KB 3035583, but there's still a GWX.exe. Apparently there are also some scheduled Tasks that ensure it keeps running. I've tried at least relegating it to the "hidden icons" panel, but would rather it not be running at all, so I tried deleting it and found out about TrustedInstaller. My initial search found a page with the same instructions as here, but with additional instructions for cleaning out the Task Scheduler. I didn't get that far, alas.

    In Windows 7, I change the owner easily enough, getting a warning I need to close/reopen the properties, which I do. But the Permissions tab under Advanced Security Settings still shows only TrustedInstaller as able to do more than Read or Execute stuff. I can change that to give "Full Control" also to admins, but the warning this time says "You are about to change the permission settings on system folders, which can result in unexpected access problems and reduce security." Given the vague wordings MS has used elsewhere (e.g. the description of KB 3035583) I'm afraid to "break the seal" and see what behavior it sets off.

  22. Anonymous
    November 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    After upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7, I moved the windows.old folder to my D drive to see how much it freed up on my SSD. I found Windows 10 unstable so I copied the windows.old back from my D drive (leaving a copy) then rolled back to Windows 7. Now I can't delete the windows.old from my D drive, I can take ownership of the folder and files, but can't change permission, only Trustedinstaller has full permissions. Has anything changed regarding permissions, from Win7 to 10

  23. Anonymous
    September 24, 2015 at 2:29 am

    wanted to delete the pesky notepad.exe
    notepad++ is better

  24. Anonymous
    September 1, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    works with windows 10 perfectly

  25. Anonymous
    June 9, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    this is great and all. but these steps ARE NOT the same for windows 7. they immediately change after hitting advanced.

  26. Ali
    May 25, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Thank you Sir for sharing this info.

  27. chewyboy
    March 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    My reason for taking ownership was because the trusted intaller started turning off program files windows installer or scanner a lot of stopped or suspended programs my computer would not download and istall updates it turned off Mafee so it could not update caused alot of problems.

  28. G Hilbert
    January 26, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    As an IT-er, whether I like it or not, I'm obligated/required to follow the 'book' when it comes to Windows installations, and I certainly do so when working on machines owned by customers, corporations etc.

    That said, when it comes to my own machines, things are very different, Windows gets one hell of a taming.

    It truly irks me what Microsoft has done when it comes to administering Windows. It has not only overly complicated Windows but also made it a minefield of unnecessary obfuscation (not to mention the tons of unwanted bloatware). Since Win 7 and onward, the role of Administrator has been considerably downgraded which only adds considerable time to maintenance, etc., as just about everything one does is necessarily more time-consuming.

    With Win 7, Microsoft introduced Mandatory Integrity Control (MIC--see Wiki's simple but good explanation), MIC puts TrustedInstaller well ahead of Administrator in the permissions stakes thus significantly downgrading Administrator's powers. It's why there's all this unnecessary messing about trying to take control or gaining ownership. Frankly, is a damn nuisance and to little useful effect. Microsoft says it's to further protect Windows and make it more reliable but from my experience viruses an malware have no trouble whatsoever in bypassing it! In practice, what MICs mostly achieve is is to waste users' and administrators' time not to mention increasing their tempers and swearing at Microsoft.

    For those like me who need to attack their OS more than MS wants us to, then in addition to the excellent suggestions above, I'd recommend two additional courses of action: the first being the program Unlocker, and the second a live Linux CD.

    Unlocker (freeware) can work miracles on a recalcitrant Windows OS especially when it comes to deleting and renaming 'difficult' objects, and when Unlocker runs out of steam there's always a Linux live CD. Almost nothing in Windows can't be renamed, moved or deleted when you 'attack' with Linux, as the Window kernel isn't alive to thwart you every inch of the way, as it usually does! Linux is always in my arsenal of weapons for keeping Windows under control. Moreover, with some experimentation, it is amazing to see what huge chunks of bloatware you can actually remove from Windows in this way and still have Windows working--this time as you want it to.

    However, a word of warning: before you attack with Linux or even delete great swathes of Windows with Unlocker, I'd strongly suggest you become accustomed to mirroring your drive as you'll almost certainly need a backup of it. A nice, quick and very easy solution [but one of many] is Acronis' PC Backup and Recovery. This boot-from-CD program backs up your Windows to an image file on another drive that can be restored with in just a few minutes.

    Another very useful freeware tool is ERUNT, it both automatically and manually backs up your Windows registry files. If launched at start-up, ERUNT automatically keeps the last 30 days of daily registry backups without you having to think about it--extremely helpful when you screw up your registry and forget to backup beforehand.

  29. N.D
    January 8, 2015 at 4:22 am

    I need to get rid of iexplore.exe version 11.0.9600.17496. It uses 98% CPU and often closes open programs!

  30. Mochan
    December 21, 2014 at 12:31 am

    "failed to enumerate objects in the container. Access is denied."


  31. Pam
    December 15, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    It keeps popping the message: "you are not running an official version of Windows". But I bought my laptop 4 years ago with Windows 7 included and have never had this message until this last week. What's up?

  32. Dwaing
    July 31, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Thank you!

  33. Gen
    July 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    This is great - I can finally delete a wallpaper image that was pre-installed and really not a quality photo or an attractive image. Thanks - the process should be so much easier to manage the images on teh screensavers and wallpapers.

  34. Sean Kurth
    July 1, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Personally, I think the steps they use for taking ownership are too complicated. I recognize that some users aren't comfortable with using the command line, but the TAKEOWN command really is easier.

    Just open cmd.exe at an administrator level (Run>cmd>Right click>Run as administrator), and that's pretty much it.

    Type TAKEOWN /F C:\example folder\example subfolder\*

    Why go through all those complicated menus and administrative control panels when all you have to do is basically type the path of the file/folder/drive you want to take and hit enter?

  35. Emma
    June 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Tried this. But every time I try to replace the owner I get denied.

  36. ROY
    May 22, 2013 at 12:10 am

    I would like to have ownership so I can delete thousands of unwanted pictures with symbols etc. from windows photo gallery and hundreds of unwanted Videos that I don't want. No idea where they came from and I need "trustedInstaller" permission to delete them..Some of the pictures and Videos don't show a SECURITY tab when I click PROPERTIES so I am stumped..Please help!!!!

  37. supertofana
    April 24, 2013 at 12:32 am

    For people who need to do it It's better to know how do it safe. Great

  38. Jorge Andrade
    February 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Faced this problem just the other day! Great help from this post

  39. Jonen
    February 7, 2013 at 10:31 am

    i thought this was why Trustedinstaller existed. is it by chance possible to log in as Trustedinstaller? it would be risky, but is it possible?

    • Chris Hoffman
      February 16, 2013 at 6:13 am

      Well, there's no password by default, so you'd have to assign a password. It probably wouldn't let you without a lot of silly stuff like assigning a password and allowing logons and such. It might not even do it then, as it's a system account without a folder under Users.

      So, definitely don't even try!

  40. dragonmouth
    February 6, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    There goes MS, complicating things again. Instead of leaving Administrator as the owner of all the System files, they have to introduce another userid. Obfuscate, don't innovate seems to be their motto. Brilliant, just f'ing brilliant!

    • Mihovil Pletikos
      February 7, 2013 at 7:49 pm

      this way users won't mess around with things they shouldn't. and most of them won't need to do it ever. those who need to do it, know how do deal with it.... it is just safer

      • dragonmouth
        February 8, 2013 at 12:18 am

        "it is just safer"
        In what way is it safer? Sounds like security by obscurity. Make things more "secure" by creating additional Administrator-level accounts. If Windows O/S was designed properly from the start, one Administrator account would be sufficient and secure. Is Microsoft going to create a separate "secure" userid for each system task?

        All other O/Ss have only one Administrator or root account and they are much more secure than Windows. In other O/Ss each user is isolated in his own sandbox. By default and design they cannot "mess around with things they shouldn't". In Linux, for instance, a user installs an application into a folder in his own partition. If that application blows up it only affects that user's partition. In Windows the application is installed in a system folder and when it fails, it can take the entire system down. That is why viruses and other malware is so successful on Windows PCs. It runs as a system process.

        • Chris Hoffman
          February 16, 2013 at 6:12 am

          Theoretically it makes it harder to mess with system files -- and for applications to mess with them. Since so much stuff on Windows runs with Administrator permissions, well..

        • dragonmouth
          February 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm

          "Theoretically it makes it harder to mess with system files"
          The key word being "theoretically". When it comes to practice, that is a horse of a different color.