How to take full ownership of files and folders in Windows 10/8/7

Many times when you access files or folder on Windows 10, you receive an error which says you do not have permission to either view the file or even get to see what is inside the folder. These errors generally pop-up when either you are trying to access System files or files which is owned by anybody else. The post shows how you can take full ownership of files and folders in Windows 10/8/7.

How to take full ownership of files and folders in Windows 10/8/7

If you are an admin, and you try to access System files or file owned by some other person, you will be prompted. It is easy to get access as the OS will permit you. However, if you are not an admin, you will need to ask an admin to gives you permission or make you the owner of those files.

  • Select a file or folder, right-click, and select properties > Security Tab.
  • It will list down a list of owners and the option to change permission.
  • Click on Advance Button, which will open, a detailed window where you can view Permissions, Share, Auditing, and Effective Access.

Check the permission settings. You would notice that either your name is not there in the ownership or some other username is mentioned. The marked section in the image below, notice Unable to display current owner message along with Change link right next to Owner Name. You need to change this to yours.

Take Ownership settings in Windows 8

  • Next step is simple; click on the change link. It will open a window where you can search for users.
  • Find your username, and add it.
  • A warning might prompt you, click yes and you will have ownership of the file under your name.

Now, In an exceptional case where you don’t have any access to file, i.e., you cannot even view it, you will need to add your username in the Permissions section. It’s is like you own it, but you cannot see it unless you get a key. You may see an error message as “You don’t currently have permission to access this folder.”

So switch to the permission section and add your username in the same way.

  • File > Right Click > Properties > Security > Advanced > Permissions > Add
  • Click on Select Principal > Search and Add your username.
  • Now make sure you have Full Control.

Adding Username to Windows 8 File Permissions


AdvancedPermissions for Files and Folders

If you want even more granular control, you may choose the advanced settings in the same window.  It gives you the option for options like Take Ownership, Change Permissions, Create Files / Data, etc.

Take Ownership Advance Settings


How to check Effective Access for Any user for a file or Folder

Now if you are a system administrator and you would like to find what kind of access any Windows user (local or domain) has on any file, you can check by using the Effective Access Tab. All you need to do is add the username of that user, and you will be listed with explicit permission granted for that user.

Effective Access to Windows 8 User for a file

Using the same steps, you can also limit any other user to view the file. In case you still have questions, asks in the comments.


  1. In Win8.0 my computer had a folder Config.computername in the root directory. I followed the advice in this article but it did not work. Only after checking the inherited permissions was i able to enter into the folder.


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