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How to Fix “Access Denied” Errors on Windows 10/11


How to Fix

If you see “access denied” messages on Windows 10 or 11 when you try to access certain folders or files, you might be wondering what’s going on. This usually happens because of a permission configuration in the NTFS file system that Windows uses by default. It means that you don’t have the right to access or modify the file or folder, either because it belongs to another user or because it’s a system file.

Fortunately, there are some ways to fix this issue and gain access to the files and folders you need. In this article, we’ll show you how to do this by taking ownership of the file or folder, changing its permissions, and troubleshooting some common problems.

Are You an Administrator?

Before you try anything else, you should make sure that you are an administrator on your PC. This is because only administrators can access or change files and folders that belong to another user or to the system. If you’re not an administrator, you’ll need to ask someone who is to help you out.

To check if you’re an administrator, open the Start menu and type “user accounts”. Click on the User Accounts option that appears. On the next screen, you’ll see your account name and type. If it says “Administrator” under your name, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need to switch to an administrator account or contact one.

Fix Access Denied Errors by Taking Ownership


Are You an Administrator?

The most common fix for “access denied” errors is to take ownership of the file or folder in question. This means that you’ll become the new owner of the file or folder and have full control over it. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Right-click the file or folder and select Properties.
  2. Switch to the Security tab and click Advanced.
  3. At the top of the next window, you’ll see a field labeled Owner. Click Change next to it.
  4. In the Select User or Group dialog box, type your username in the Enter the object name to select box. If you use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows, your username is the first five letters of your email address. Hit Check Names to make sure it’s correct.
  5. Check the box that says Replace owner on subcontainers and objects if you want to take ownership of all the files and folders inside the current one.
  6. Click OK to apply the changes.

You should now be able to access or modify the file or folder without any errors.

Change Permissions for Files and Folders


Fix Access Denied Errors by Taking Ownership

Sometimes, taking ownership is not enough to fix “access denied” errors. You might also need to change the permissions for the file or folder. Permissions are rules that determine what actions you can perform on a file or folder, such as read, write, delete, etc. By default, Windows assigns permissions based on the owner and group of the file or folder, but you can change them manually if needed.

To change permissions for a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the file or folder and select Properties.
  2. Switch to the Security tab and click Edit.
  3. In the Permissions for window, select your username from the list and check the boxes for the actions you want to allow or deny under Allow or Deny columns.
  4. If you want to apply these permissions to all the files and folders inside the current one, check the box that says Apply these permissions to objects and/or containers within this container only.
  5. Click OK to save the changes.

You should now be able to perform the actions you want on the file or folder without any errors.

Troubleshoot Common Problems


Change Permissions for Files and Folders

If none of the above methods work for you, there might be some other issues causing “access denied” errors on your PC. Here are some common problems and how to fix them:

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