How to Take Ownership of a Item in Vista and Windows 7
This will show you how to take Ownership of a file, folder, registry key, or drive where you have been denied access to allow you to give full control of it so that you will be able to delete or modify this item. When you do this, you replace the security permissions to have access.
You will quickly notice that you cannot delete or modify system files, even as administrator in Vista. This is because Vista system files are owned by the TrustedInstaller service by default, and Windows File Protection will keep them from being overwritten. You will encounter a "Access Denied" error.
- If you are trying to delete a folder, then sometimes you will need to delete the contents within the subfolders first before you will be able to delete the main folder itself.
- The hidden My ..... folders are actually a Junction Point to the real username user folders. They cannot be modified since they are not a real location. EX: My Documents for C:\Users\(your username)\Documents
- For more on junction points, see: jimmah.com: Why do I get an Access Denied error when trying to open a folder?
- Sometimes you will need to move the file to the desktop or a user folder first before Vista will allow changes to be made to it. You can then move the file back afterwards.
- You will sometimes need to take ownership of Files and folders created in another operating system when migrated into Vista.
This can only be done while logged on to a administrator account. Deleting or modifying system files without knowing what you are doing may lead to eratic behavior from Vista. Even complete system failure with full data loss.
EXAMPLE: You need permission to perform this action
NOTE: You will see this Access Denied with the Try Again type message when your user account or group does not have Ownership of the file. Clicking on the Try Again does nothing.
Take Ownership of Item Using Context Menu
Take Ownership of Item in Command Prompt
EX: To Take Ownership of this System file:
EX: User name to Take Ownership with: Brink
Open an elevated command prompt
In the elevated command prompt, type the command below and press Enter
to take ownership of the file.
NOTE: Substitute full path of file with the full path of the file that you want to take ownership of within quotes.
takeown /f "full path of file"
takeown /f "C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui"
A message will be displayed that this completed successfully. This will give you ownership of the file.
In the same elevated command prompt, type the command below and press Enter
to grant a user full control of the file.
NOTE: Substitute full path of file with the full path of the file from step 2 within quotes , and (user name) with your user name.
icacls "full path of file" /grant (user name):F
icacls "C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui" /grant Brink:F
5. A message will be displayed that this completed successfully.
NOTE: You should be able to delete or modify the file now. If you still can't, you may need to reboot into Safe Mode and try this again. It may vary according to the file. Some are more stubborn.
To Manually Take Ownership of a Item
1. That's it,
Go to the file, folder, drive, or registry key you want to delete or modify.
NOTE: For example, the system file:
C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui2. For a File, Folder, or Drive
3. For a Registry Key
A) Right click on the file, folder, or drive and click on Properties
WARNING: Do not do this to the hard drive partition that Vista is installed on. It can mess up the boot files
For example, the file: winload.exe.mui
B) Go to step 4
A) Click on the key in the left pane to highlight the registry key (folder).4.
B) Right click on the key and click on Permissions, or click on Edit (Menu Bar) and Permissions.
Click on the Security
tab and on the Advanced
button. (See screenshots below)5.
Click on the Owner
tab. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: For a Registry key, go to step 8 after this
You should make note
of who the current Owner
is so you can change it back to it later if you like.
Click on the Edit
If prompted by UAC, click on Continue
Under the Change owner to
section, click on your user account name
and click on OK
. (See screenshots below
NOTE: If you have a check box for Replace owner on subcontainers and objects, then check it if you want to take ownership of them as well. You will not see this option when taking ownership of just a file. Only with a folder.
EX. Username: Moderator
Click on OK
at the Security pop-up window. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: For a Registry Key, you will not see steps 9 to 12. Go to step 13
Click on OK.
(See screenshot below step 7)
Click on the Edit
button. (See screenshot below)12.
If prompted, click on Continue
in the UAC prompt.
Click on the Add
button. (See screenshot below)14. To Type in Your User Account Name
NOTE: If your user account name is already listed, then do step 15 instead
15. To Select Your User Account name
A) Type in your user account name
in the box under Enter the objects name to select
. (See left screenshot below)
NOTE: For example, Moderator. If you needed to restore TrustedInstaller as the owner, then see
: How to Restore TrustedInstaller as Owner of a File in Vista
B) Click on the Check Names
NOTE: If the username is found, then see right screenshot below. If it is not found, then go to step 15 below to select it
C) Go to step 16.
A) Click on the Advanced
button. (See left screenshot above)
B) Click on the Find Now
button. (See screenshot below)
C) Under Search results
, click on your user account name to highlight it.
NOTE: For example, Moderator. If this is for something like a Flash USB drive, you may also want to select Everyone and give it full permission to. This way you will be able to access it from any user account.
D) Click on OK
Click on OK
. (See right screenshot above step 15)
Click on your user account name to highlight it. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: For example, Moderator (Computer Name/Username)
Check the box for Full Control
NOTE: For more information on these permission choices
, see: Windows Help and How-to: What are Permissions?
Click on OK
NOTE: For a Registry Key, you will not see steps 20 and 21. Go to step 22
Click on Yes
in Windows Security pop-up. (See screenshot below)21.
Click on OK
. (See screenshot below step 11)
Your Done. You can now delete or modify the item.
If you wanted to, repeat the steps and change the Owner back to the previous owner you noted from step 5 above.