Access is Denied error while installing software on Windows

If while installing new software on Windows, you receive an Access is Denied error message, this article may help you in troubleshooting and fixing the Windows Installer Access Denied error. This is one of the most common errors we get when we try to install any application on Windows 10/8/7. There are a few reasons why we may get to see this error message. In this article, we’ll discuss a few tips to resolve this problem.

Access is Denied error while installing software

Scenario 1: One of the common reason is lack of administration rights. If you are logged in as a Standard user, the installation will give you this error. So make sure you’re logged in as a Local Administrator. When I mean Local administrator, I mean that to say that you need to log in as Local administrator – not Domain administrator. Because even if you are a Domain administrator, sometimes Domain policies will restrict access to certain locations. For instance, if you are installing Microsoft SQL Server, it’s highly recommend that you ensure that you are logged into the machine as a Local administrator; otherwise, you might get a lot of error message including Microsoft SQL Service Fails to start.

Scenario 2: The other most common reason is User Account Control. Sometimes UAC will restrict you from accessing certain file locations or registry locations. The best practice is to always right-click on the setup and click on “Run as administrator”. By doing so, setup will elevate with full administrator rights. In some cases, however, we may need to disable UAC temporarily, until you finish the installation.

To do so, go to Start under search type in “UAC”.

access is denied

Click on “Change User Account Control settings”.

Access is Denied

Make sure you drag the bar all the way to “Never Notify” then click OK and reboot the system and try to install it again. Do remember to change back the UAC settings, after you have completed the installation.

Scenario 3: If it does not help, you may next try to disable your security software – because this software can be very tricky sometimes. It may restrict access to a specific path or specific registry location. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to find it out. So it’s better to disable the security software completely and then try to install the software. Again, do remember to re-enable your security software, once your installation completes successfully.

Scenario 4: There are some common locations which sometimes we are denied permissions. So far, the locations I have seen are Temp and Installer folder. So go to C:\Windows\Installer and %temp% and Take Ownership of these folders. Then try again.

Scenario 5: The last steps you could try is to enable the built-in administrator account:

To do this, click the Windows Start button and type in CMD.

Right-click on CMD, click on Run as administrator and execute the following command:

net user administrator /active:yes

You will get a message “Command ran successfully”.

Next, execute the following command:

net user administrator <Password>

Please replace the <Password> tag with your passwords, which you want to set to an administrator account.

To disable the administrator account, you will have to use:

net user administrator /active:no

Now install the software via this account and see.

Related read: Windows Installer Service could not be accessed or started.

How to open an encrypted file if Access is Denied in Windows may also interest you.

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Shyam aka “Captain Jack” is a Microsoft MVP alumnus and a Windows Enthusiast with an interest in Advanced Windows troubleshooting. Suggestions made and opinions expressed by him here are his personal one's and not of his current employers. He blogs at