All users operating a system might not have access to each and every file and folder. The owner of the file (usually the Administrator) has the right to modify the permissions. However, at times, in the File Properties, users may get the error – Unable to display current owner. Normally, to change the permissions of a file or folder, right-click on the file/folder and select Properties > Security > Advanced > Change. But if you cannot or if you see this message, then this post will help you.
Unable to display current owner on Windows
The causes could be many:
- A software used to lock folders might be preventing the change in permissions.
- The file or folder for which you which to change the permissions might be corrupt.
- The Administrator account might not have been activated.
This situation could be problematic especially if the file or folder in question is important. Since the file/folder doesn’t have an owner, no one is technically authorized to change its properties. To resolve this issue, try these suggestions:
- Run the Shared Folders Troubleshooter
- Uninstall any software which locks folders on the system
- Run the CHKDSK command
- Enable the Administrator account via elevated Command Prompt
- Take ownership of file/folder through Command Prompt
- Run the Diagnostic Startup.
You could try the following solutions sequentially to resolve the problem:
1] Run Shared Folders Troubleshooter
Before proceeding to more complicated solutions, you could try running the Shared Folders Troubleshooter as follows:
Click on the Start button and go to Settings > Updates and Security > Troubleshoot.
Select the Shared Folders troubleshooter from the list and run it.
Restart the system once done.
2] Uninstall any software which locks folders on the system
A few software products which can lock folders could be active even when they are not activated. If you are facing the issue in discussion, you might consider uninstalling any such software.
Click on the Start button and go to Settings > Apps > Apps and features.
In the list of apps on the page, click on the folder lock software to expand its options and select Uninstall.
Restart the system.
3] Run the CHKDSK /f command
The CHKDSK utility helps in checking for bad sectors on the hard drive and fix them if possible. An error in the File System could cause the issue in discussion and running the CHKDSK /f scan could fix it.
Search for Command Prompt in the Windows search bar. Right-click on the option and select Run as administrator.
Type the command CHKDSK /f in the elevate Command Prompt window and hit Enter to execute it.
Restart the system once the command has executed.
When you restart the system, the CHKDSK scan will process before booting into the system.
4] Enable Administrator account via elevated Command Prompt
If the administrator is the sole owner of the problematic file or folder and the Administrator account is not enabled, you could encounter the error “Unable to display current owner.”
The procedure to enable the Administrator account is as follows:
Search for Command Prompt in the Windows search bar.
Right-click on the option and select Run as administrator.
In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter to execute it:
net user administrator /active:yes
Restart the system, and you would get an option to enter Windows as the Administrator.
5] Take ownership of file/folder through Command Prompt
Open the elevated Command Prompt as explained in solution 4.
Type the following command in the elevated Command Prompt window and press Enter to execute it:
takeown /F <path of folder or file> /a /r /d y
Where <path of folder or file> is the location of the problematic file in the File Explorer. If you get a SUCCESS message, type the following command and press Enter:
icacls <path of folder or file> /grant administrators:F /t
If it is successful, restart the system and access the file/folder.
Please remember that commands mentioned in solution 4 enabled the Administrator account and we needed it for solution five too. Once the job is done, you could disable the Administrator account by typing the following command in elevated Command Prompt:
net user administrator /active:no
Once the command has successfully executed, restart the system and login as the intended user to access the file/folder in the discussion.
6] Run Diagnostic startup
In case any drivers or services are interfering and causing the problem, we could try running the system in Diagnostic startup mode. In this mode, the system will boot with minimal drivers, services, etc.
Press Win + R and type the command msconfig. Press Enter to open the System Configuration window.
In the General tab, select Diagnostic startup. Hit Apply and then OK to save the settings.
Restart your system after saving the settings.
Once the system restarts, try accessing the file/folder in the discussion.
If you are still unable to access the problematic file/folder, repeat solution 4 in Diagnostic startup mode.
Once you are done with the troubleshooting, you could change the option to Normal startup in the System Configuration window.
Hope it helps!