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

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.

105 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

    Reply
    1. dan

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

      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?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Well, have you heard about NTFS permissions?

      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.

        Reply
    2. Ron WIlliamson

      Windows has NEVER given this much access straight from the administrator account. You are mistaken. Their have always been some folders created by other accounts such as system folders that even the administrator was locked out of for security reasons. This is basically another way to gain system access like how we used to do with tricking the NT_AUTHORITY account into thinking it was a user account.

      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?

    Reply
  4. Bob

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

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome Bob

      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….

    Reply
    1. Choppa

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

      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 :-)

    Reply
  7. Steve Capps

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

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

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

      Reply
      1. Nightmare Ripper

        Hey man I am trying this out but on that one part where it says put in you admin name it says not found or something like that reply soon please :) :(

        Reply
  8. Mark Johnson

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

    Reply
  9. mick

    It does nothing at all the software is FAIL

    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.

      Reply
    2. total fail is there no one out there who can fix this administrator high jack by windows

      windows ten is a way for big brother to own you body and mind windows 10 sucks

      Reply
      1. leighton

        Try this. it worked for me and I was doing it to a remote computer. I was able to take complete control of its C drive.

        C:\>TAKEOWN /F file name /S \\your ip address /U user name /P password /R /D y

        for example.
        C:\>TAKEOWN /F C:\windows\system32 /S \\198.162.1.109 /U Leighton /P America /R /D y

        TAKEOWN is already on windows 10. No download needed.

        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.

    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!!

      Reply
      1. China Mike

        Well, tell us how you really feel…

        Reply
      2. duh

        Security through obscurity. blend in instead of standing out.

        Reply
      3. Trippytaka

        Don’t sugar coat it…

        Reply
      4. Ty

        Interesting opinion!
        However, it did not help solving the problem.

        Reply
  11. 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.

    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

      Reply
  12. 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.

    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 )

      Reply
    2. Wizardgus

      Amen! I bought this computer 6 months ago, finally top of the line gaming system. I hardly use it. Am thinking about taping a pound of tannerite to it and blow the SOB up. Why? Windows 10! :(

      Reply
  13. CatzKin

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

    Reply
  14. Peter

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

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Don’t mention it.

      Reply
  15. 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…

    Reply
  16. 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.

    Reply
  17. 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.

    Reply
  18. 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!

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Reply
  19. Patton

    It worked. Thank you very much.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Reply
  20. Norman Steketee

    It worked fine, thank you.

    Reply
  21. Shane

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

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      you are welcome.

      Reply
  22. 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.

    Reply
  23. 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.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      This is how it should be set:

      Reply
      1. John V. Osborne

        Sadly TrustedInstaller not recognised ??

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

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

          Reply
          1. John V. Osborne

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

          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

  24. User

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

    Reply
  25. 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?

    Reply
  26. David Cope

    You’re a lifesaver.

    I’ve been trying to get access to back-up content from my old computer. Wasted over an hour trying to navigate the options to no good effect & this process cleared it up straight away.

    :) :) :)

    Reply
  27. Ricksick

    Just take control over the security center files or any other file and rename it. Now it won’t load or bother you

    Reply
  28. Sam

    My question is, how reliable and completely this tool RESTORES ownership and each USER and GROUP permissions back to defaults for the entire hierarchy of files and folders under a selected folder, if one wants to revert the changes made by the tool? Does the tool store all changed permissions in a database file? Cn such operation result in more system problems down the road than it fixes today?

    Reply
  29. Szilard Covasa

    You are a life-saver! Our Windows 8 build server was driving me crazy after a migration from the domain to a local user.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  30. RAKESH

    Thanks for detailed procedure. Can I use it for claiming ownership at Disk level so that all Folders and
    files are owned by me? This is required to own all the files on an external disk which had folders & files created
    on my another computer running Windows XP & now I am unable to overwrite some of these files which files which exist on new computer running Windows 10.

    Reply
  31. Istvan Benedek

    Thanks a lot Sergey, you saved me from a complete reinstall! Could a Windows update cause such permission problems, or a virus maybe?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It can be any software which is able to manage FS permissions.

      Reply
  32. n_icky

    Unfortunately the steps broken down at the top did not work… also, TakeOwnershipEx doesn’t seem to work on all of my files :o. Any ideas?

    Reply
  33. Juliet

    Thanks for this tool! I used it in Windows 10 (installed the win8 version) and it works like a charm. Fixed my Windows Apps folder for me (had problems with the Microsoft Solitaire Collection)

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome.

      Reply
  34. halserrano

    Windows 10 Pro 1607 build 14393.321

    Takeownershipex installs no problem, take ownership selected and confirmed, the items show up in the restore list, but i still get denied access message.

    I followed your instructions for doing it manually, and that has worked out well.

    Id still like to have Takeownershipex work for me though

    thanks

    Reply
  35. OA

    Can’t get past step 7. There is no “add” button on the security tab. Outdated or erroneous tutorial.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      It have not changed yet. The button is there. Take a look at the screenshot in #6.

      Reply
  36. Tom

    Is there a way to disable this feature completely? It is annoying and it takes a lot of time to do this every time.

    Reply
  37. Zain

    Very useful description, solved my issue, bundle of thanks, God bless!

    Reply
  38. ChicagoNole

    I keep getting “Failed to enumerate object in the container” on the folders that I need the most. What did I do wrong?

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Which folder/file?

      Reply
  39. Peter

    Sergey, did you take down the downloade to takeownershipex? All I see on the site is a download of Winaero Tweaker

    Reply
  40. oscar Lundmark

    I somehow removed my access to C:\
    HELP

    Reply
    1. oscar Lundmark

      I think i might of solved it, i added a new profile ** my computer** and gave myself rights to everything and seems like it works

      Reply
    2. Stephen Chuka

      I also have the same problem,how do you fix it?

      Reply
  41. Driver

    there is no security tab

    Reply
  42. Victor

    Excellent! My problem was solvvd!!

    Reply
  43. abdulla

    its very rare to find an explanation in windows stuff as good as this one .. thank you

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      You are welcome. Thank you for kind words.

      Reply
  44. Nikhil Maiden

    thanx so much

    you helped me a lot

    Reply
  45. Sombra

    I did all the steps up to #7. The add button doesn’t light up, is there a reason why it won’t become usable?

    Reply
  46. Ellicott

    Hi

    Thank you for the article. For a certain file, it doesn’t seem work. For an example, C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MsMpEng.exe on Windows 10. You can change the ownership of msMpEng.exe without any problem. However, if you want to have Full Control of the file, Click Apply, then error message: Unable to save permission changes on MsMpEng.exe. Access is denied.

    Wonder if you have a solution to disable Windows Defender permanently. Thank you! -Ellicott 6/27/2017

    Reply
    1. Abhishek Kumar

      Download Winaero Tweaker to disable Defender.

      Reply
  47. Joan Coma

    Now I can delete system32!! kappa

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      Enjoy. /s

      Reply
  48. Paul

    As of 08/09/2017 TakeOwnershipEx worked like a charm. I couldn’t get the manual instructions to work. When I used the app everything worked on the first try. Thanks!

    Reply
  49. Mark Rushworth

    Can anyone help me. I have two pcs running Windows 10 Home Edition. They are both connected to a BT Home hub 5 via Ethernet Cable. My problem I am trying to network them. However when I click on File Explorer on my main pc under Network it show both pc’s. But if I do the same on the other pc it does not show either of them.

    It is also telling me that I do not have permissions to access one of the pcs but I have set this up already. Any suggestions please.

    Reply
  50. John

    For what it’s worth I tried the manual fix (allowing access via the folder properties permissions) to no avail. Then I realized that the folder I was trying to delete was also on dropbox. I went to dropbox on line and deleted the folder. Back to W10 explorer and there it was…. GONE.

    Reply
  51. Em Spearing

    First, thank you for helping me clear a couple of files from my desktop. I only spent about half an hour on this. Next, a great big and heartfelt FY to all connected with Windows-10 for making what should be a straight forward task so GOD DAMNED ARCANE and a pain in the ass.

    Reply
  52. Boris Bigbee

    OK, what am I missing? I followed to a tee the stuff in https://winaero.com/blog/how-to-take-ownership-and-get-full-access-to-files-and-folders-in-windows-10/, even downloaded and used the TakeOwnershipEx app. I still am left with “Read-Only” (Only applies to files in folder). HELP.

    Reply
    1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

      which folder you are trying to access?

      Reply
      1. Boris Bigbee

        C:\CCS\PaperPort-Folders-in-CCS.

        The CCS folder is mine, I added it to C:, and the \PaperPort-Folders-in-CCS is also mine, I added it to \CCS.

        PaperPort-Folders-in-CCS itself contains lots of folders, and some of those folders contain folders (etc.) and each folder contains lots of files.

        B

        Reply
        1. Sergey Tkachenko Post author

          Maybe a bug in the app. I tested it only on default Windows files and folders.

          Reply
  53. Jan

    Thanks, yay, this worked. :D

    Reply
  54. Kimberly

    Hi. I have tried and tried to give myself full control over the program files in windows 10. I need to be able to save one file in one folder under the PF but it will only let me copy files as read only. It will not let me save the full file directly. I’m so frustrated and don’t know what to do.

    I followed your instructions for the folder I need to save in as well as all the parent folders above it. It looks like I have full control yet when I try to save from excel directly to a folder under program files, it says I need administrator approval. Um, I AM the administrator! How can this be? So confused!

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
  55. Thomas Vreeke

    i get ‘Invalid command line C’ and that’s it, what to do now?

    Reply
  56. Ron WIlliamson

    If you have problems exercising this privilege you probably should think twice about even doing it. You can severely screw up windows. Theirs no reason you really need this much access. The elevated admin privilege is more than enough.

    Reply
  57. RV

    Thanks for the take command program, I’ve been trying to git rid of some old back ups for ages an unable to do so,
    first try your program took them away,
    Thanks for the advice an program

    Reply
  58. ramyar

    this method is great for a person who want delete files that windows permission wont let us.
    now i can delete my previous windows. without any application
    thank you man
    :)

    Reply
  59. Yumi

    Thanks a lot! It worked perfectly! :)

    Reply
  60. Ted Socia

    yeah this doesn’t work for the file Im trying to get control of.

    Reply
  61. Bruce Jerrick

    Thanks. This allowed me to deleted some 5-year-old cruft under /C/Windows/Temp (in a directory with a UUID name). Previously I got all kinds of screwy error messages. Along the way of granting permissions as you described there was a message about things not be ordered correctly; fortunately a popup appeared offering to re-order.
    BYW, I did this on a VMware virtual machine running Windoze 8.1 (everything was the same as you described, which was a surprise). It was a clone of a physical machine, and inherited the cruft from it.

    Reply

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