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How to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10

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Sometimes you need to get full access to some file or folder in Windows 10. It can be a system file or folder, or one which was created by a user account that no longer exists. In most cases, the Windows operating system will prevent you from doing any operation on such files and folders. In this article, we will see how to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10.

Take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 using File Explorer

To take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 without using third party tools

  1. Open File Explorer, and then locate the file or folder you want to take ownership of.
  2. Right-click the file or folder, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
    Windows 10 take ownership 1
    Windows 10 take ownership 2
  3. Click the Advanced button. The "Advanced Security Settings" window will appear. Here you need to change the Owner of the key.
    Click the Change link next to the "Owner:" label
    Windows 10 take ownership 3
  4. The Select User or Group window will appear.
    Windows 10 take ownership 5
    Select the user account via the Advanced button or just type your user account in the area which says 'Enter the object name to select' and click OK.
  5. Optionally, to change the owner of all subfolders and files inside the folder, select the check box "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects" in the "Advanced Security Settings" window. Click OK to change the ownership. Windows 10 take ownership 6 owner subcontainers
  6. Now you need to provide full access to the file or folder for your account. Right-click the file or folder again, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  7. Click the Add button. The "Permission Entry" window will appear on the screen: Windows 10 take ownership 7 permission for entry
  8. Click "Select a principal" and select your account: Windows 10 take ownership 8 select principal
  9. Set permissions to "Full control":
    Windows 10 take ownership 9 full control
    Click OK.
  10. Optionally, click "Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants with inheritable permissions from this object" in the "Advanced Security Settings" window.
    Windows 10 take ownership 10 full access
    What it means is permissions on this parent object will replace those on its descendant objects. When cleared, permissions on each object, whether parent or its descendant, can be unique. Click OK to get full access to the file or folder.

That's it. You just changed the ownership and got full access to the file in Windows 10 using the File Explorer app.

See: How to restore the TrustedInstaller ownership in Windows 10

Take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 using TakeOwnershipEx

Alternatively, you can save a lot of your time using my freeware, TakeOwnershipEx. It allows you to change file ownership and access rights with one click. Just select the file or a folder and click the "Take Ownership" button:
Windows 10 take ownership 11 toex Windows 10 take ownership 12 toex
After you get full access to the desired file or folder, you can even restore the default permissions which it had. Click the "Restore ownership" button to restore it:
Windows 10 take ownership 12 restore toex
That's it. Using the TakeOwnershipEx app, you can save your time, but even if you prefer using the built-in options in File Explorer, it shouldn't be too hard task for you if you followed the instructions in this article.

46 thoughts on “How to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10

  1. Chris

    What is error code 19? I am trying to get into a folder that came from my backup using AOMEIbackupper

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    1. dan

      Did you ever figure out this issue? I am having this exact problem.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  2. Kelly A Rightmire

    Why do I have to do all this when I never had to before??? When I put it on my computer I already own and owned it before windows 10?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Well, have you heard about NTFS permissions?

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18

      Reply
      1. Ian B

        I tried to do the above in Win10 to change permissions to the windows\en-US because WinHlp32 does not work in Windows 10.
        I was not able to replace WinHlp32.exe.mui in the \en-US folder.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        Reply
  3. Bob

    Great advice…thank you! I had success with one file. All of my files (thousands) need to be fixed. What is the approach to fix them all at once?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    Reply
  4. Bob

    Duh….Just do this for the big folders, and it works just fine. Thanks again.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome Bob

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

      Reply
  5. obazee

    thanks ,for the software developed to assist anyone have free access ownership of system files and folders.However you never provide valid download acess to this apps take ownershipEx for use. Why is this so….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Reply
    1. Choppa

      Google search….took about 10 seconds to find and another 10 to DL.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

      Reply
  6. Joost

    Thanks for this lovely software, it saved me from reinstalling windows 10.
    Problem solved: getting access to my windows credentials in Control Panel, and now my password to my NAS is finally remembered.
    I guess some other problems will be solved too :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  7. Steve Capps

    Please clarify whether TakeOwnershipEx allows “Everyone” to have access or does it lock all other users out?
    Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It allows “Administrators” to have access, does nothing with “Everyone”.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      Reply
  8. Mark Johnson

    I can’t do step 7 because the “Add” button is greyed out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    Reply
  9. mick

    It does nothing at all the software is FAIL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      According to comments above, it is only for you.
      And your comment is useless POS, since you not bothered to even tell what happened.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

      Reply
  10. Starlinguk

    Result: lots of “access denied” messages. And then it unticks all the permissions again.

    The infuriating thing is that Windows 10 resets all the permissions whenever it does an update and wrecks one of the programs I need for my job every time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

    Reply
    1. RealDeal

      Because Windows 10 is very intrusive, filled with malware, spyware, clickerware, trackingware, snifferware (whatever you wanna call it!) to see and watch what EVERYONE on Earth is doing! OH YES THEY ARE! They will LIE and tell you “It’s what everyone wants” and “it’s for your own good”, tons crappy forced apps NOBODY except a small handful of dorks, nerds, geeks, losers, pimple poppers, dweebs, spaz’s,, retards, preppy’s, yuppies and fags want that you CANT remove/uninstall/delete! Windows 10 SUCKS moosecock! Don’t blame the Ruskies program when YOUR just to fucking stupid to understand it and use it properly!! At least this guy IS trying to help all the mindless Windows 10 users/suckers/pawns! FUCK Windows, FUCK Microshit for yet again another HORRID OS! Fuck Billdo Gates too!, That greedy dickless joo faggit should be ass raped repeatedly by a big black rhino with AIDS, Herpes, Syphilis and Gonorrhea!!

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 35

      Reply
      1. China Mike

        Well, tell us how you really feel…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Reply
  11. Key

    good

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    Reply
  12. Desmond Shaw

    Thank you for this tutorial, but my trustedinstaller is still installed. I have a file called TrustedInstaller.exe.mui that I don’t know how to remove and I need help with. When I try to remove it, it says: you require permission from administrators to make changes to make changes to this file. I tried the above technique, but there is no security tab.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    1. China Mike

      I “thought” I was the administrator, as I have to password into the machine, and I am the only one who uses it, but…I found out there is a HIGHER LEVEL ADMIN ACCOUNT that windows HIDES from everyone ! ! ! WTF ? ? ?

      So, to become that HIGHER ADMIN, follow the steps on this wonderful guide:
      Enable or disable the Administrator account in Windows 10

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  13. K

    Now instead of the trusted installer denying me access now it is my own account event though it has full access.

    I think Windows 10 in general is just a broken mess at this point with tons of corrupted system files. I remember having these same issues with Windows 8 when it was new and these issues (that normal users that only use their systems to navigate the internets or watch videos don’t notice) weren’t resolved till like a year later. Even Dism and SFC, tools designed to help you fix corrupted files, are broken and always require a Windows 10 wim file from an Iso as /source to /restorehealth. Seriously, if you’re a programmer, gamer or something just avoid Windows 10 like the plague till all these little issues are ironed out because the struggle is not worth it.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    Reply
    1. Apogee777

      i had no issues with win8, watched the world tantrum without the 7 start menu, and this type of menu was well in use with tablets. wake up people?
      win10 (which is seems win8.2 with blue 7 look) is fine, your anti-virus software spies on you A LOT MORE.
      i guess i took the time to untick the ticks?
      your issues are not win10, its your hdd causing errors. advice to get an ssd then no more disk errors or windows corrupt settings. even the new hdd’s error a lot.
      reason i am here because i plugged a hdd into another PC for a backup which took ownership.
      since moving to ssd, all windows errors disappeared since win7 and ssd’s are cheap now.
      never had a better os for gaming, photoshop, etc yet and is far more optimised than win7
      tech solutions with win98 was to format back then and hate win me, not realising a setup was in its cache resolving all errors, returned the user back to a fixed windows – again hdd errors.
      1 os for the worlds dabbling, programming, etc etc basically a users pit of all sorts,
      used by humans which make mistakes,
      made by the humans that make mistakes
      and forums like this for us to vent,
      but that will not change a thing in the bigger picture.
      you cannot create an OS to cater for 100’s of millions without faults.
      been in the game for 30 years, programmed a 3d game at 14 years old on a vic20 in machine code.
      treat your pc with care is all about i can really say..
      (and avoid some seagate hdd’s :P )

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  14. CatzKin

    Thank you so much, TakeOwnershipEx works great! Windows 10 is much easier to customize now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  15. Peter

    Thanks Sergey for helping me access my external hard drive
    Truly grateful for your knowledge and generosity to post and share. Peter

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Don’t mention it.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  16. Rohit

    PLEASE HELP !!… I’ve changed the ownership …to the administrator..and I’ve also used takeownershipex which said I already have full rights but still I can’t delete a folder…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  17. Pavan Kumar M P

    Thank you very much for your effort to build to such a good software. Its very nice and precise. It helped me a lot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  18. glon

    The problem is that after I gave ownership to my own user account, I tried to apply the new permission “complete controll” on a folder, that is exactly Windows Defender :-D and it said something like “impossible to enumerate all the object in the container. Access denied” (I am translating back into english from my localized message). That is, it seems it does not work, at least for this “sensitive” folder.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  19. Mitch Mitchell

    Brilliant stuff! I’ve been trying all sorts of things to gain access to files in many places and I’ve finally found the answer I’ve been looking for. My issue with the Dragon software; every time I opened it up it was making me start all over. Now it’s working great; thanks again!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  20. Patton

    It worked. Thank you very much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  21. Norman Steketee

    It worked fine, thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  22. Shane

    Thank you so much! Tried other solutions but they did not have the second step of setting permissions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      you are welcome.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
  23. Inertia

    “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” is not available on my Advanced Security Settings window. Where is it? I’m having trouble deleting a folder with a bunch of subfolders that I would have to change individually, which is a pain in the a$$. Thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  24. John V. Osborne

    I recently upgraded my machine from w7 to w10 fairly painlessly. (Simple setup as only me as user.) But a few days latter found I couldn’t modify a couple of files I have got in C:\ folder.
    Tried changing ownership of c:\ to Administrator and found (after a re-boot?) have regained control of my files.
    I wonder if any nasty implications of changing owner from a long MS numeric ID (tried changing back and it was not recognised.
    Your thoughts appreciated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      This is how it should be set:

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      Reply
      1. John V. Osborne

        Sadly TrustedInstaller not recognised ??

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Quite possible. This can help:
          http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-restore-the-trustedinstaller-ownership-in-windows-10/

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          Reply
          1. John V. Osborne

            Thank you very much for your help. I will report after found time for further looking at the issue …

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          2. John V. Osborne

            Yep. Managed to set TrustedInstaller as owner.
            (Originally S-1-5-21-1802859667-647903414-1863928812-35553 !!!???)
            AND STILL GOT MODIFY ACCESS TO MY FILES IN C:\
            HOORAY

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. User

    Thanks alot man. You were amazing.
    It worked for me lilke a charm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply
  26. Christopher Richardson

    Looks spiffy. Didn’t do anything that made a difference. Oh, it looked mighty busy and lot’s of interruptions about how it couldn’t change ownership or when it was actually changing something how this act was *unreversable* – *permanent*. I’m just on my desktop at home. The only user of my computer. Using MS operating systems since Windows 3.1. They are all my files. I’m really glad I’m unable to open these files. It would be wrong, since I don’t have permission. Belonging to Administrators – that’s the magic bullet right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Reply

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