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"Access Denied" or other errors when accessing or working with files and folders in Windows

Summary

When you access or work with files and folders in Windows, you experience one or more of the following problems:

  • Issue 1: You receive an "Access Denied" or similar message.

  • Problem 2: You can access, change, save or delete files and folders.

  • Problem 3: a file or folder cannot open after installing a new version of Windows.

Troubleshooting

To resolve a specific problem, follow the steps for the problem that best describes your situation. Use the method for your version of Windows. Note You will not always receive an "Access Denied" error message for these types of problems. If certain steps don't fix the problem, try another step.

Question 1: I get an "Access Denied" error while accessing or working with files and folders

Cause "Access Denied" error message can occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Ownership has changed.

  • You do not have the required permissions.

  • The file is encrypted.

solution

Windows 8

You do not have ownership of a file or folder. If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 8 from an earlier version of Windows, some account information may have changed. You no longer have to go to specific files or folders. You can restore ownership of files and folders to resolve this issue. To apply a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the folder you want to take over, then tap properties. (If using a mouse, right-click the folder and then click properties.)

  2. Tap or click the tab security , tap or click Extended, and tap or click To change. If you're prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Enter the name of the person you want to transfer ownership to, and then click Check names.

    Note The account name of the person you are assigning ownership is displayed.

  4. click on OK.

  5. If you want that person to own the files and subfolders in this folder, select the check box Replace owner of objects and child containers .

  6. click on OK.

You do not have the appropriate permissions Possible problems accessing files and folders can be attributed to permissions. Permissions are rules that determine whether to access or change files and folders. To check permissions for a file or folder, do the following:

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder, and then click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab security .

  3. Under Group or user namesor click your name to view the permissions you have.

To open a file, you must have Read permission. Follow these steps to change the permissions of a file or folder. Important You must be logged on as an administrator to change permissions on files and folders.

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder and tap or click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab security .

  3. Under Group or user namesor click your name to view the permissions you have.

  4. Tap or click To edit, tap or click your name, select the check boxes for the permissions you need, and then click OK.

File or folder can be encrypted Encryption can help protect files and folders from unauthorized access. You cannot open encrypted files or folders without the certificate that was used to encrypt them. To determine whether a file or folder is encrypted, do the following:

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder and tap or click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab Generally and tap or click Extended.

Check box Encrypt content to protect data is enabled, you must have the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder to open. In this case, the person's certificate should have created or encrypted files or folders, or that person should have decrypted the file or folder.

Windows 7

You do not have ownership of a file or folder. If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 7 from an earlier version of Windows, some account information may have changed. You no longer have to go to specific files or folders. You can restore ownership of files and folders to resolve this issue. To apply a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the folder you want to take over and click properties.

  2. Click the tab security , click on Extended, and click the tab owner .

  3. click on To edit.

    Note If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Click the name of the person you want to transfer ownership to.

  5. If you want this person to be the owner of the files and subfolders in this folder, select the check box Replace owner of objects and child containers .

  6. click on OK.

You do not have the appropriate permissions Possible problems accessing files and folders can be attributed to permissions. Permissions are rules that determine whether to access or change files and folders. To determine the permissions for the file or folder, do the following:

  1. Right-click the file or folder and click properties.

  2. Click the tab security.

  3. Click your name to view the permissions you have under Group or user names.

To open a file, you must have Read permission. Follow these steps to change permissions on a file or folder. Important You must be logged on as an administrator to change permissions on files and folders.

  1. Right-click the file or folder, and then click properties.

  2. Click the tab security.

  3. Click your name to view the permissions you have under Group or user names.

  4. click on To edit, click your name, click to select the permissions you must have check boxes, and then click OK.

For more information about permissions, see What Are Permissions ?.

File or folder can be encrypted Encryption can help protect files and folders from unauthorized access. You cannot open encrypted files or folders without the certificate that was used to encrypt them. To determine whether a file or folder is encrypted, do the following:

  1. Right-click the file or folder, and then click properties.

  2. Click the tab Generally and then on Extended.

Check box Encrypt content to protect data is enabled, you must have the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder to open. You should be the person who created the certificate or received the encrypted file or folder, or that person will decrypt the file or folder. For more information, see Importing and Exporting Certificates and Private Keys.

Problem 2: I cannot access, change, save, or delete files and folders

Cause A problem where you are accessing or working with files and folders can occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • The ownership has been changed

  • You do not have the required permissions

  • The file is encrypted.

  • The file is damaged.

  • The user profile is damaged.

solution

Windows 8

You do not have ownership of a file or folder. If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 8 from an earlier version of Windows, some account information may have changed. You no longer have to go to specific files or folders. You can restore ownership of files and folders to resolve this issue. To apply a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the folder you want to take over, then tap properties. (If using a mouse, right-click the folder and then click properties.)

  2. Tap or click the tab security , tap or click Extended, and tap or click To change. If you're prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Enter the name of the person you want to transfer ownership to, and then click Check names.

    Note The account name of the person you are assigning ownership is displayed.

  4. click on OK.

  5. If you want that person to own the files and subfolders in this folder, select the check box Replace owner of objects and child containers .

  6. click on OK.

You do not have the appropriate permissions Possible problems accessing files and folders can be attributed to permissions. Permissions are rules that determine whether to access or change files and folders. To check permissions for a file or folder, do the following:

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder, and then click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab security .

  3. Under Group or user namesor click your name to view the permissions you have.

To open a file, you must have Read permission. Follow these steps to change the permissions of a file or folder. Important You must be logged on as an administrator to change permissions on files and folders.

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder and tap or click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab security .

  3. Under Group or user namesor click your name to view the permissions you have.

  4. Tap or click To edit, tap or click your name, select the check boxes for the permissions you need, and then click OK.

For more information about permissions, see What Are Permissions ?.

File or folder can be encrypted Encryption can help protect files and folders from unauthorized access. You cannot open encrypted files or folders without the certificate that was used to encrypt them. To determine whether a file or folder is encrypted, do the following:

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder and tap or click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab Generally and tap or click Extended.

Check box Encrypt content to protect data is enabled, you must have the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder to open. In this case, the person's certificate should have created or encrypted files or folders, or that person should have decrypted the file or folder.

The file or folder may be corrupted Files can become corrupted due to various reasons. The most common cause is that you are opening a file when your computer crashes or there is a power outage. Most damaged files cannot be repaired. In this case, you should delete the file or restore the file from a backup copy. For more information about corrupted files and how to fix them, see Corrupted files: frequently asked questions.

Your local user profile will be corrupted Occasionally, Windows cannot read your local user profile correctly. This allows you to access files and folders. In this case you have to use a local user profile. To create the profile, you must first create a local user account. When the new account is created, the profile is also created. Proceed as follows to create a local user account:

  1. Drag from the right edge of the screen, tap Optionsand then on Change PC settings. (Move the pointer down on the top right corner of the screen if you are using a mouse on it clickand click Change PC)

  2. In the navigation pane, tap or click user.

  3. Tap or click add user, and tap or click they can sign in without a Microsoft account?

  4. Tap or click local account.

  5. Enter the new account name.

  6. If you want to use a password, enter and confirm the password that you want to use. If you don't want to use a password, tap or click Further without entering a password.

  7. Tap or click Complete.

Windows 7

You do not have ownership of a file or folder. If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 7 from an earlier version of Windows, some account information may have changed. You no longer have to go to specific files or folders. You can restore ownership of files and folders to resolve this issue. To apply a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the folder that you want to take over, and then click properties.

  2. Click the tab security , click on Extended, and click the tab owner .

  3. click on To edit. If you're prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Click the name of the person you want to transfer ownership to.

  5. If applicable, the person who will be the owner of the files and subfolders in this folder will check the box Replace owner of objects and child containers .

  6. click on OK.

You do not have the appropriate permissions Possible problems accessing files and folders can be attributed to permissions. Permissions are rules that determine whether to access or change files and folders. To check permissions for a file or folder, do the following:

  1. Press and hold or right-click the file or folder, and then click properties.

  2. Tap or click the tab security .

  3. Under Group or user namesor click your name to view the permissions you have.

To open a file, you must have Read permission. Follow these steps to change permissions on a file or folder. Important You must be logged on as an administrator to change permissions on files and folders.

  1. Right-click the file or folder, and then click Properties.

  2. Click the Security tab.

  3. Under Group or user names, click your name Permissions displayed.

  4. Click Edit, click your name, check the boxes for the permissions you need to have, and then click OK.

For more information about permissions, see What Are Permissions ?.

File or folder can be encrypted Encryption can help protect files and folders from unauthorized access. You cannot open encrypted files or folders without the certificate that was used to encrypt them. To determine whether a file or folder is encrypted, do the following:

  1. Right-click the file and click Properties.

  2. Click the General tab, and then click Advanced.

Check box Encrypt content to protect data is enabled, you must have the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder to open. You will receive the certificate from the person who created the file. For more information, see Importing and Exporting Certificates and Private Keys.

The file or folder may be corrupted Files can become corrupted due to various reasons. The most common cause is that you are opening a file when your computer crashes or there is a power outage. Most damaged files cannot be repaired. In this case, you should delete the file or restore the file from a backup copy. For more information about corrupted files and how to fix them, see Corrupted files: frequently asked questions.

Your user profile may be damaged. Occasionally, Windows cannot read your local user profile correctly. This allows you to access files and folders. In this case you have to use a local user profile. To create the profile, you must first create a local user account. When the new account is created, the profile is also created. For more information about user profiles, see How to Repair a Corrupted User Profile. After the new user profile has been created, you can copy existing user files to the new profile so that they can be accessed.

Problem 3: Cannot open files or folders after upgrading to a new version of Windows

Cause Problems that prevent you from accessing files and folders after you upgrade to a new version of Windows can occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Ownership has changed.

  • The files are saved in the "Windows.old" folder from your previous system.

solution

Windows 8

You do not have ownership of a file or folder. If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 8 from an earlier version of Windows, some account information may have changed. As a result, you no longer have to go to some files and folders. You can restore ownership of files and folders to resolve this issue. To apply a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the folder you want to take over, then tap properties. (If using a mouse, right-click the folder and then click properties.)

  2. Tap or click the tab security , tap or click Extended, and tap or click To change. If you're prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Enter the name of the person you want to transfer ownership to, and then click Check names.

    Note The account name of the person you are assigning ownership is displayed.

  4. click on OK.

  5. If you want that person to own the files and subfolders in this folder, select the check box Replace owner of objects and child containers .

  6. click on OK.

You have files to restore from the Windows.old folder. If you recently switched your computer to Windows 8 from an earlier version of Windows, you did not format the hard drive and you may still have access to your old files from the Windows.old folder. click on the Fix itButton or link to fix this problem automatically. Click in the dialog box File download on To run and then follow the steps in the Fix it wizard. If you want to fix this yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Fix problem automatically

Hints

  • This wizard may only be available in English. The automatic correction also works for other language versions of Windows.

  • If you're not on the same computer, save this fix to a flash drive or CD and run it on the computer that has the problem.

Let me fix it myself Manually get the files as follows:

  1. Open Desktop, tap the folder icon and click computer. Press the Windows logo key + E.

  2. Double-tap or double-click the drive that Windows is installed on (usually drive C).

  3. Double-tap or double-click the Windows.old folder.

  4. Double-tap or double-click the Users folder.

  5. Double-tap or double-click your username.

  6. Open the folder containing the files you want to get. For example, double-tap files in the folder or double-click Documents.

  7. Copy the files from each folder and paste them into a folder in Windows 8. If you want to get all of the items from the Documents folder, copy and paste all the files and folders from the Documents folder in the Windows.old folder Them in the document library in Windows 8.

  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for each user account on the computer.

For more information about how to restore data from a previous version of Windows, see Recover Lost or Deleted Files.

Windows 7

You do not have ownership of a file or folder. If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 7 from an earlier version of Windows, some account information may have changed. As a result, you no longer have to go to some files and folders. You can restore ownership of files and folders to resolve this issue. To apply a file or folder, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the folder that you want to take over, and then click properties.

  2. Click the tab security , click on Extended, and click the tab owner .

  3. click on To edit. If you're prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Click the name of the person you want to transfer ownership to.

  5. If applicable, the person who will be the owner of the files and subfolders in this folder will check the box Replace owner of objects and child containers .

  6. click on OK.

You may need to restore files from the Windows.old folder. If you recently reformat your hard drive on Windows 7 from an earlier version of Windows and you may still have access to your old files from the Windows.old folder. click on the Fix itButton or link to fix this problem automatically. Click in the dialog box File download on To runand then follow the steps in the solution to it Wizard.If you prefer to fix this problem, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Fix problem automatically

Hints

  • This wizard may only be available in English. The automatic correction also works for other language versions of Windows.

  • If you're not on the same computer, save this fix to a flash drive or CD and run it on the computer that has the problem.

Let me fix it myself Manually get the files as follows:

  1. click on beginand then on Workplace.

  2. Double-click the drive that Windows is installed on (usually drive C).

  3. Double-click the Windows.old folder.

  4. Double-click the Users folder.

  5. Double click on your username.

  6. Open the folder containing the files you want to get. For example, double-click B. to get files in the folder Documents.

  7. Copy the files from each folder and paste them into a folder in Windows 7. If you want to get all of the items from the Documents folder, copy and paste all the files and folders from the Documents folder in the Windows.old folder Them in the document library in Windows 7.

  8. Repeat steps 5 through 7 for each user account on the computer.

For more information about how to restore data from a previous version of Windows, see Recover Lost or Deleted Files.