How to take full Ownership of Files & Folders in Windows 10

This post shows how you can take full ownership of files and folders in Windows 10/8/7. After introducing the User Account Control in Windows Vista, Microsoft increased the security of its core system files by hardening its Effective Permissions. Most of the times,  to replace a System file, rename a System folder or a folder under the root C drive, you have to take ownership of the file or folder. Windows 7 onwards, system files and folders are owned by the Trusted Installer. So, even members of the Administrators group are restricted from modifying objects in it or changing permissions unless they have the ownership.

TIP – You can also use our freeware to do this easily:

Take Ownership in Windows 10

With the release of Windows 10/8, Microsoft has changed the way to Take Ownership a bit. On Windows 7, it is pretty much the same as what we saw in the previous versions of Windows. There isn’t much difference even now – just that the screen has changed a bit and the way we take control has been changed, but the command line still remains the same. For instance, on Windows 7 you have an Owner tab.

Take Ownership in Windows 10

We click on Edit, enter the Object name (It could be Administrators or your Windows username) or select your username from the list, and click OK to make changes.

But in Windows 10 and Windows 8, Microsoft has removed the Owner tab and moved it to the top. See the following screenshot.

Take Ownership in Windows 10

Also, under the Permission tab, when you add a new object, you have two different views – one, the Basic permissions and the other one is Advanced permissions. Here is a screenshot of the Advanced permissions window.

Take Ownership in Windows 10

How to take Ownership of files & folders

Now I’ll show you how to Take Ownership of files and folders

Step 1: Right-click on the file or folder and go to Properties Windows. Under Properties click on “Security” Tab.

Take Ownership in Windows 10

Step 2: Now you can see in the above screenshot, you don’t have any permission to change it. In such cases, you need to Take Ownership of the file or folder. To do so, click on “Advanced”.

Take Ownership in Windows 10

Step 3: Next, in the window that appears, you have to click on “Change” and enter the object name.

Take Ownership

I typed in my Windows username and clicked “OK”. Now you will be able to see that the owner has changed to Shyam Sasindran.

Click on “Replace owner on subcontainers and object” and click Apply.


Once you click on Apply, you’ll see this warning message. Click on Yes to proceed.


Now you will need to click “OK” twice.

Next, again, click on Advanced.

Step 4: Now under the Advanced permissions, you will see a change, and you will see the option to add Multiple Objects


To add multiple objects and to inherit permission, you can click on “Change Permissions”.

Take Ownership in Windows 10

To inherit permissions, click on “Enable inheritance”. To add a new object, click on “Add” and click on “Select a Principal” and type in the Object name.

take Ownership of Files windows 10

Now you can enable the Basic Permission. If you want to enable advanced permission, click on “Show advanced permissions”.


Once you complete everything, click OK and close the Window.

You should be able to access that particular file or folder. Be careful when you alter the permission for System file or folder it may cause serious damage to your system and compromise security. So please create a system restore point first and then proceed with caution.

Related read: How to Change Ownership of a File or Folder.

If you are unable to change File or Folder Permissions, then this post will show you how to troubleshoot File and Folder Permission Issues in Windows.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
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


  1. Saif Ali

    Is there some registry script to do all those clicks for me? Copying and pasting data from drive to drive is a pain in the ass in win8 due to ownership differences.

  2. Evan

    I like how you black out your email on all but one of the pictures.

  3. kams

    This didn’t work for me 🙁

  4. Kartik Sibal

    More Easy Way:

  5. Angry Artist

    This is bullshit!!!! When I clicked “Change” it didn’t do shit!! And now the File’s gone altogether!! I worked hard to create that picture and now it’s gone!! How do I get it back and make it under my ownership?!
    Dammit…. :,(

  6. jacquesRacine_962

    Did not solve my problem either and now I’m stuck with ownership of nothing

  7. Kurt

    This just did not work, I had the same problem with Windows 7, I have 4 portable hard drives with information I cannot access,, why don’t microsoft just make a batch program so i can down load it and get access to my files I have folder match software to keep my work hard drive backed up to my back up hard drive and that will not work due to microsoft and their silly program. The bad part is there is really no other option so we are stuck in whatever microsoft wants to force down our throats.

  8. kenneth

    you all do know that you can get TakeOwnershipEx.exe and that DOES work… well it at least worked for me 🙂 its worth giving a look…

  9. Robert

    The directions were not clear or straight forward. The process is quite convoluted BUT after not giving up and numerous attempts later I was able to retrieve a couple files. Will continue the process if I can remember how I did it to get the rest of the files from my old hard drive.

  10. Robert

    The above is missing some steps. After trial and error I wrote down what I did so I have a record in the event I need to do this again. Here it is:

    -1- In Windows Explorer, right click on the folder you need to access, select Properties.
    -2- Security Tab, select Advanced.
    -3- Under Owner line, select Change.
    -4- Select Advanced Tab.
    -5- Select Find Now.
    -6- Under Search Results, a list of several users will populate the next window. You need to know the right one to select. In my case there were about 30 or so possible accounts to select from. Three of those made sense. It was either Administrator…, Administrators…, or my (or possibly a 4th, “Everyone”). I found the one that worked. The trick is to know who you need to select so that you assign permission correctly. It’s very cryptic because Microsoft populates the list with so many accounts that are on your computer. That’s just the way Windows 8.1 is. Select OK.

    -7- Under the Owner line (The Balloon from Step #3 above will reappear) select: Replace owner on subcontainers and objects. Select OK. *Be sure to do this step to save yourself time.

    -8- Have at it copying files from the password protected hard drive to your new hard drive.

    There were a couple stubborn files. In which case I did the above steps. Instead of step 7 I selected Apply. Next I had to select on Permissions (without exiting completely, go back to the balloon that appears from step #1 above. Then in the Balloon from step #2 above you will see the Permissions tab. Click “Continue” below Permissions (For some files you may have to go back a screen and then go back into the Security, Advanced, actions in step 2 above. If you go to far back to the point you have to right click properties, you will have to repeate steps 1-7 again.) Although I saw I was the new owner, I was not in a “Principal” in the list of of users. I had to select on the Add tab. Click on Principal: Select a principal. Do the same action as step 4-6 above. I had to be sure to select Full Control on the next window when it becomes available. Select OK on all subsequent tabs. It’s a little cryptic so have patience.
    The process will not likely be clear in the original posting so please be sure to follow my steps above and I wish you success.

  11. Robert

    Kurt, try the steps I listed in my reply above. I hope it works out.

  12. uragiri

    thanks to the power infinity for this intel !!!

  13. Thusitha

    Thanks Great help to me

  14. Thusitha

    Plz Explain about how to work with RegOwnIt

  15. Ruben Hurtado

    Thanks man, your advice was spot-on and made a personal document transfer (XP “My Documents” folder) from my old hard drive quite easy. The instructions were very detailed. I would only advice that you move that recommendation to establish system restore point (and to avoid messing with the system folders) to the start or your article.

    Also, I tried this while I was in “Safe Mode”, I think it should be enabled in order for this to work.

  16. Dan Walker

    THANK YOU!!!!!! it worked!!!!

  17. Sam

    To ShysamS@TWS,
    thank you, thank you, thank you — it’s been 3 days of searching and following guides on this topic and yours has been the one that finally solved my problem:
    fr sam

  18. Anita Kuchera

    Thank you so much! I have been trying to figure out how to fix this for over a year after purchasing my new computer. This is an external drive and I could get to some of the folders but could not get to any of my photos. I have searched before on what to do, but nothing made sense. I decided today I was going to get this fixed and found your steps which worked perfectly. Thanks again.

  19. 7abib0

    SystemData folder is missing!! is it normal?

  20. codeslayer2010

    Thank you Shyam! This post was concise and to the point. It helped me a great deal with the “You must have administrator permission” errors, and I appreciate that you took the time to put in some great screenshots to really clarify things. Thanks again and blessings.

  21. Tiger_words

    This is so stupid. I need to grant myself access to look at/access a file. I wish I had all the hours that this stupid aspect of Windows 8 has cost me. Hours.

  22. mtcerio

    It works, many thanks! I had tried a few suggestions before given by a Microsoft employee in the official forum, and they didn’t! Excellent guys!

  23. Tammy

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. You are marvellous, this worked like a charm. I would like to say your instructions were very precise and understandable. Thankyou again you’re a genius

  24. melmac

    Thank You your steps were easy to understand and worked for me 😀

  25. Andrew F.

    Robert, thank you SO VERY MUCH for posting this! Your *crucial* added-details to the above ‘how to’ by “Captain Jack” have saved me, after a really frustrating time trying to read my old computer’s hard drive thru a Docking Station. A toast to you two, from this elated artist!

  26. Robert

    You are so very welcome. I almost forgot I wrote this until recently reminded by email alerts to this site. Anything I can do to help another person learn from what I learned in life makes it satisfying to me. I recall being frustrated with the steps provided already by the site administrator but those steps weren’t clear to your typical computer user like me and you. It needed a little extra love in the steps. I hope the steps I provided continue to be useful to those in need.

  27. Aflyktion

    you srsly need to learn how to use a computer lmfao – it was strictly operator error im sure.

  28. deema_d

    Seeing as how you are describing a win SEVEN procedure, and this thread is for EIGHT, what YOUR post does is take folks on steps THAT WILL NOT WORK FOR THEM. SO DELETE IT, POST IT IN A SEVEN THREAD… Right? No? Well, then, why don’t you show us where the “owner” tab is in the eight advanced permissions dialogue box

  29. Robert

    No. This thread is for Windows 8. I no longer have the adaptor that plugs into my old (scratched) hard drive and into the USB port of my computer but step #3 outlines where the Owner permission tab is found. I apologize I can’t go back and get a screen shot for you. The steps I provided are MUCH clearer than the steps provided in the response provided by the Microsoft team. I assume step #3 is where you have trouble?

  30. Bostjan Prelogar

    Run CMD as ADMIN!

    Enter the following command:

    net user administrator /active:yes

    Sign out, sign in as administrator…and “voila”, you just gained super admin rights!

  31. Chris N Linda Brown

    Instead of taking ownership, the computer starts reading the files then stops and says device is not ready?

  32. Jeff Ludwig

    I can do this for all my individual pictures. Is there a way to do them altogether at one time?

  33. Zach Parks

    I get to step 3, and Then it pulls up a window with 2 tabs saying Permissions and effective access.
    Both of which are saying “You do not have permission to veiw or edit this object’s permission settings.”
    I can’t open the window it would normally open.

  34. KomaRekk

    Thank you!

  35. Don

    When I tried this on the image I want to upload, the dialog box said I did not have permission to make changes and offered no alternative. When I opened the file, the dialog box said I was the owner, but said I did not have permission to use the image.

  36. Diamond49

    Please help me, I’m not tech savvy, but am getting hacked on every computer I’ve ever owned!! When I try to ask an HP Tech or any computer repair place to help me, they act like I don’t know what I’m talking about. I know I’m hacked, I have 43 plus users when I go into Control panel Administrator tools, then advanced, find now. When I try to take ownership or inherit permissions it says I have been denied. Then I sent my new laptop to HP to have the OS reinstalled. And I specifically asked them to make me the administrator with full control and inherited permissions. You know what they did? They set up a public user with full control!! And another user called test 1.

    I couldn’t access it or change the name when I called them back all they ever do is tell me to do a factory reset which Doesn’t help AT ALL. Now they want me to send it in again! I’m a single parent I’ve been crying all day cause I’m trying to make money online as I have no job right now. And I can’t get the hackers out of my PC.

  37. Agreed! XD!! Maybe the Angry Artist should check his recycle bin.. although.. He/she has seemed to gain the permissions of the file or he/she wouldn’t have been able to delete it.
    Perhaps if you haven’t already closed the file explorer window, check for the undo option. I guess this is towards anyone who might run into this in the future, since i’m sure this persons file explorer has been closed… and probably the entire computer has been closed down. X’D

  38. Elixir Edits

    Microsoft hates it’s customers. They really do despise us and they demand 100% control over everything we do…

  39. r-jay

    thank you so much 😀
    it helps me alot..

  40. Social Media Expert Canada

    Thank you! After searching on like 20 documents and videos online, this one finally helped !! Appreciate the post 🙂

  41. John Halderman

    Hi, this is the second very clear explanation of this process I have come across and attempted, but, I get an error message attempting either one.
    — Failed to enumerate objects in the container: Access denied —-

    The situation is, My admin user is already shown as Owner, and with Full Permissions, except Special Permissions.

    The folders that I am not able to access are basic folders under Documents,

    My Videos, My Pictures, My Music

    And another thing to add to this, just in case it matters, I had recently had a virus, malware, infection on this machine. I have run multiple scanner/cleaners to clean it . . . I think it is clean!

    Any ideas on this?

  42. Lantern

    thanks its very helpful


  43. Angel

    Do something about it.
    Switch to Elementary OS, Bodhi, Linux Mint, or Ubuntu.
    They can harass you about MS OS, but they can’t force you to use it.

    Once enough people convert over, it will hurt their financial gain.
    They will begin to apologize, plead, beg, cry for people to “return to Microsoft!”

    Join the rebellion.

  44. Troy

    Not just join, but spread the word to everyone you know.

    Then, get them to help others, & help the ones they helped, & so on.
    Spread the word!

    Microsoft began as a slow leak, & became a dominating force.
    Let’s be that leak again…

    Aye, Cap’n?

  45. willro

    Cheese on Toast

  46. Elixir Edits

    I like the sound of that 🙂

  47. I just found the solution: Change the owner to Everyone. This helped me to delete some files that didn’t work unless It was for everyone!

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