How to Claim Control of Files and Folders in Windows


How to Claim Control of Files and Folders in Windows

If you've encountered a situation where you couldn't access a file or folder in Windows, it's likely that you'll need to assert ownership using your user account.

Have you ever encountered a file or folder that seems to resist your attempts to do anything with it? Taking ownership is the solution to that problem.

What Does Ownership Mean in Windows?

In Windows, if a user has ownership of a file or folder, they have the inherent authority to modify permissions for that item. This user is consistently granted access to the file or folder, even if other permissions might suggest otherwise. When you create a file or folder, the user account you're currently logged in with automatically becomes the owner.

Why Take Control of a Folder or File?

You'll usually find the need to take control of a file or folder when you require complete access, typically for purposes like modification or deletion. This might be the case if you're dealing with files or folders created by a user account that no longer exists, working on a hard drive from a different PC, or seeking access to a specific system file—like "notepad.exe"—for a particular tweak. Whatever the motivation, here's the official method for taking ownership of a file or folder. And once you've mastered this, why not streamline the process by adding a "Take Ownership" command directly to your context menu?

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Initially, ensure you're logged in with an account that possesses administrative privileges. By default, any administrative account holds the capability to assert ownership of a file or folder in Windows.

Click with the right mouse button on the file or folder, then select "Properties" from the menu that appears.

[NOTE:Windows 11 has a different right-click context menu, but you're still looking for the "Properties" option.]

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Within the Properties window, navigate to the "Security" tab, and proceed to click on the "Advanced" button.

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

In either Windows 10 or Windows 11, within the "Advanced Security Settings" window, select the "Change" link located beside the displayed owner.

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

In the "Select User or Group" window, input your user account name in the "Enter the object name to select" box, and then press the "Check Names" button. If the name is valid, it will display the complete user name path, including the PC name. Proceed to click "OK."

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

[NOTE:If you're using a Microsoft account (rather than a local account), your official user name is just the first 5 letters of the full email address you used to set up the account. You've probably also noticed that those five letters were also used to name your user folder.]

Returning to the "Advanced Security Settings" window, you'll observe that your user account is now designated as the owner of the object. If it's a folder, you'll find an additional option under the owner section titled "Replace owner on subcontainers and objects." Ensure this option is chosen, and then click "OK."

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Then, on the "Security" tab within the file's Properties window, simply click the "OK" button.

How to Claim Ownership on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Now, you should possess complete ownership and unrestricted access to your file or folder.

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