Having trouble accessing certain files, directories, and folders on your Windows 11 computer? If so, it is likely that you encountered an "Access Denied" error message when you tried to browse your system. This problem can be frustrating, especially if you are the sole owner of your PC and cannot access your own files.
The "Access Denied" error occurs when certain actions are taken, including accessing, moving, copying, or deleting files and folders. In this article, we're going to show you different ways to fix this error and why you keep getting it.
Why are you getting an "Access Denied" error?
The "Access Denied" error is a common problem on Windows systems and indicates that you do not have permission to view the file or folder. This is because your system has not granted access to the current user account you are currently using on your computer. Simply put, you are using an unauthorized account to access paths, folders, and files.
In some cases, ownership issues and file encryption can also lead to this error. It is also possible that your third-party antivirus software has blocked access. For example, some programs may view a real setup wizard as a threat, which is usually a false positive detection.
Here are some common fixes for the Access Denied error in Windows 11.
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How to fix "Access Denied" Error on Windows 11
How do you get your Windows 11 system back from Access Denied errors? Here is how.
1. Set your account to Administrator
In most cases, Access Denied errors can be resolved by making your user account an administrator of the computer. How to set your account to admin:
- Press victory + R. Run to open. Type Control user passwords 2 and click OK.
- In the User Accounts window, select the check box next to Users must provide a username and password to use this computer. If there isn't one, skip this step.
- Then select your account and click properties Button underneath.
- Next go to the Group membership Select tab Administrator from the menu, then click Apply and OK.
- Restart your computer and see if that solves the problem. Otherwise, go to the next step.
2. Disable your third-party antivirus software
Antivirus software is necessary to keep your system safe and secure from threats and malicious actors. However, it can also cause various errors such as denied access issues and fake threats. For example, many users have reported that they get an "Access Denied" error when trying to install certain apps and that the main reason is their security program.
To see if this is the case for you, temporarily disable your third-party antivirus and try accessing or installing the program. If the error doesn't appear, your antivirus software is likely causing the problem and you should consider using another program to protect your computer. Otherwise, use the Microsoft Defender security program built into Windows 11.
If that doesn't fix the problem, move on to the next fix.
3. Check your system's permissions
This is a simple solution that you can try to make sure your account has proper access to the file or folder you are opening. Here's how:
- Find the file, folder, or directory that you want to access. Then right click on it and choose properties from the menu.
- Then go to the safety Tab and click the To edit Button.
- Select your username from the list and check the box next to Full control by doing Allow Column under the Permissions for users Section. Then click OK.
Note: If your username is not on the list, you will need to add it manually and then change its permissions.
4. Activate the hidden administrator account
Your Windows 11 system has a hidden administrator account with more privileges than a normal account. You can enable this to access files, folders, and paths that are restricted to ordinary users. To allow this to happen, do the following:
- Open Windows Search by pressing victory + S..
- Next, enter CMD, right-click the command prompt search result and click Execute as administrator.
- In the command prompt, run the following command: net user administrator / active: yes. This will unlock the administrator account.
- Sign out of the current account and switch to the newly activated administrator account. By using this account you will not have any access problems as it has more permissions than a normal administrator account.
- When you're done with the administrator account, sign out and sign back in to your main account. Repeat steps 1 and 2 and enter this command: net user administrator / active: no. This will disable the administrator account.
Note: When you return to your main account, you will see the error again. If you need constant access to the files, use the hidden administrator account to make the necessary changes to your system and fix the ownership or access problem.
5. Take ownership of the file
As mentioned earlier, sometimes the "Access Denied" error is due to ownership issues. If that's the source of your problem, taking ownership of the file can give you the access you need right away. Here's how:
- Find the folder or file you want to access and right click on it. Then click properties from the menu.
- Go to safety Tab and click the Progressive Button.
- Next, find the Owner section at the top of the window and click change. This will open a new dialog box.
- In the Select User or Group window, enter your user name or Administrators by doing Enter the object name Area.
- Then click on Check names Button and the OK Button to save the changes made.
- Next, check the box next to Replace all permission entries for subordinate objects with inheritable permission entries from this object. If this is not available, skip this step.
- At last, click Apply and OK Save changes.
Aside from doing this manually, you can also take possession of the file from the Command Prompt. If you'd rather enter commands instead, try the following steps.
- Open the command prompt via Windows search by pressing victory + S. and tap CMD. In the result, click on the command prompt.
- At the command prompt, type or paste the following command and press Input after every:
- Takeown / f "path_to_folder" / r / d y
- icacls "path_to_folder" / grant administrators: F /
Note: You must replace the "path_to_folder" section with the actual path to the inaccessible file or folder.
Once you have followed the steps above, restart your computer to see if the problem is resolved. Typically, however, you should have access to the files and folders after running these commands.
No more restricted access
Fixing the Access Denied error is straightforward and doesn't require many technical steps. By taking ownership and granting the user authority, you can work around this problem. Essentially, you need to access the files and folders using the system's administrator account and you are good to go. Or use the admin account to change ownership to your main account. It's all up to you.
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About the author
(8 published articles)
Kim is a technical writer who is passionate about animal welfare and the environment. Writer by day and reader by night, she likes to acquire new knowledge. She is an experienced researcher and advertising specialist. In an alternate universe, she is a professional model.
By Kim Fernandez
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