How to Reset File and Folder Permissions to Default in Windows

If you want to reset files and folder permissions to default in Windows, then you are at the right place. This post will provide three methods to help reset files and folder permissions to default in Windows. Before getting into details, it’s crucial to understand in which condition a user needs to set default file and folder permission.

Sometimes users may face issues with apps or programs not running correctly on Windows computers, or they want to troubleshoot user profile problems. In such a condition, restoring user permissions to default can resolve the issue successfully.

Reset File and Folder Permissions to Default

How to Reset File and Folder Permissions to Default in Windows

We will cover three methods to reset all user permission to default, which are like

  1. Run icacls command
  2. Run the secedit command
  3. Use subinacl Tool

Remember, you may need admin permission to execute these commands.

1] Run Icacls Command

The icacls command permits the user to view, modify and reset file system permissions on files and folders. Icacls command-like utility has a reset option that can replace ACLs default inherited ACLs for all matching files. Before executing the Icacls command, the user must take ownership of the folders on Windows. Then, open the Command Prompt on Windows, run as an administrator window, and type the following command.

icacls * /t /q /c /reset

Now press the Enter key to execute the command successfully. This will reset all the user permissions to default for every folder, subfolder, and file.

In the above command, the parameters are explained like:

  • *-This wildcard character includes all folders within the directory.
  • /t- it aims all the subfolders and files within the current folder.
  • /q-Run command without displaying success messages.
  • /c-Continues the operation even if errors occur.
  • /reset-This parameter resets the permission options to their default values.

2] Run Secedit Command

run secedit command

Windows offers the Secedit command to analyze and configure system security. To reset all user permissions using this command, run the command prompt with admin access, then type the following command.

secedit /configure /cfg %windir%\inf\defltbase.inf /db defltbase.sdb /verbose

Now press the Enter Key to execute the command, wait for the process’s completion, and restart your PC. This will reset the user permissions to the default system settings.

3] Use Subinacl Tool

use subinacl tool

If you are uncomfortable using the command prompt, you can reset the file and folder permission to default with the help of the subinacl tool. This is a command-line utility from Microsoft that can help users to reset user permissions. Follow the below process the use this tool to reset permission as default.

  • Download the Subinacl tool from Microsoft’s webpage from here. When you open the page, the download starts automatically. If not, then wait 30 seconds and click the link.
  • It was once downloaded; double-click on the installer package. This will open the installation wizard. Click on Next and accept the license agreement terms.
  • Now set the path as C:\Windows\System32 and click on the Install Now button. Wait for the subinacl tool to be installed successfully.
  • After installing, open Notepad, type the commands, and save it as a cmd file.
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f
subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=system=f
subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=system=f
subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=system=f
  • Now run this file by double-clicking it to reset the user permissions to default.


In this post, we have discussed three methods to reset file and folder permissions to default in Windows. Try each method to understand which one suits you better. Remember, user permission always plays a vital role in PC security.

If you ever experience a user permission issue, you must reset them to their default settings. Windows permission change is always tricky because you cannot return to the default permission once you change it.


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