Different Ways to Fix the Denied Access Problem on Windows

Last updated on September 20, 2019 by Bryan

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Different Ways to Fix the Denied Access Problem on Windows

Have you ever experienced trying to access a file or installing an application on a Windows PC, and suddenly a message saying “Access Denied” error pops up. This is a common notification telling the user, that there are restrictions that this account on the PC has. Sometimes, these restrictions can interrupt whatever job or project, you are doing on the PC. However, there are some steps you can follow to fix the access denied error. This applies for Windows 10,8,7. Continue reading to know the methods on how to resolve the issue on Windows.

Add Proprietorship to Your Account

One reason why your access to a file is denied, is because you have limited privilege on your user account. This means that there are restrictions to what you can have access to. To remove these restrictions, you can add administrator privileges to your account. Here are the steps to take proprietorship of the account.

Step1 Open the Properties Window

Search for the file that you don’t have access to. Right click and select the “Properties” option.

open folder properties

Step2 Select the Advanced option

On the Properties window, select the “Security” tab, and click the “Advanced” button.

click advanced options

Step3 Select the Change button

Besides the “Owner” segment, is the “Change” button, click it to get to the next window.

change file ownership

Step4 Enter Your User Account Name

On the next window, under the “Enter the object names to select” box, type in your Account Username and click the “Check Names” button and “OK” after.

enter username

Step5 Tick the Replace Owner box

After clicking “OK” from the previous window, the “Owner” segment will now have an additional option below it. Click the checkbox of the “Replace owner on sub containers and objects” option and click “Apply” and “OK.”

tick the checkbox

Place Your Account under the Administrator List

For some folders, especially in the Systems folder, Administrator level privileges are required to access them. Because if you try to open the file without the right authority, the folder access denied notification will just get in your way. Follow the steps below to add your Account to the list of Administrators on the PC.

Step1 Open the Computer Management window

On the search bar, type in “Computer Management” and press the “Enter” key.

launch computer management

Step2 Go to the Users Folder

On the Computer Management window, click the “Local Users and Groups” category and click the “Users” folder. Next, double-click on your account on the left box of the window.

open users folder

Step3 Click the Member Of tab

From the User Properties window that will appear, select the “Member Of” tab and click the “Add” button.

add user

Step4 Add the Administrator option

On the next window, under the “Enter the object names to select” box, type “Administrator” and click “Check Names” and the “OK” button after.

add username

Step5 Apply Administrator Privileges

Under the “Member Of” tab, the Administrator option will be added. Select the Administrator option and click the Apply button and then the “OK” button and restart your PC.

apply changes

Use the Built in Administrator Account

Windows 10 and 8 have a built in “Administrator” account to use. However, it is hidden because of security reasons. To use this account, follow the steps below.

Step1 Run the Command Prompt as Administrator

On the Search bar, type “CMD” and right click on the Command Prompt icon and select Run as Administrator.

run as admin

Step2 Enter the Command Line

On the Command Prompt, type in the command line “net user administrator /active:yes” and press “Enter” to activate the account.

enter the commands

Step3 Use the Unlocked Account

You can now use the Administrator account by logging out from your account and switching to the new one.

switch accounts

Step4 Lock the Account again

After using the account, go back to the Command Prompt and re-enter the same command line, this time replace the “yes” with “no.”

lock the account

Review the Account Permissions

If the “access is denied” notification appears, it would be better to check the Permissions that your account is granted. This will ensure that the problem is not caused by a basic thing like getting system permissions to perform certain tasks. Follow the steps below to see and add permissions to your account.

Step1 Open the Properties of the File Folder

Right click on the folder that denies you access, select the “Properties” from the list of options on the menu.

open file properties

Step2 Click the Security tab

On the Properties window, under the “Security” tab, click the “Edit” button.

click edit button

Step3 Check the Full Control option

Click your username and on the “Permissions for SYSTEM” box, click the “Full control” check box under the “Allow” section.

allow full control

Reset Account Permissions Using Command Prompt

Command Prompt is a tool that works by entering command lines for specific functions. This is also one way to resolve the “Windows access is denied” error. Command Prompt can be intimidating at first because of its appearance. However, if you follow the steps below, there won’t be a problem.

Step1 Launch the Command Prompt as an Administrator

On the Search bar, type in “Command Prompt” and right click on the icon and select “Run as Administrator.”

run cmd as administrator

Step2 Enter the Command Line

On the Command Prompt, type the command lines “cd /users/(Account Username)” and press “Enter.” Next enter “icacls Pictures /reset /t /q” and hit the “Enter” key.

enter command lines

Step3 Restart the PC

After typing in all the commands, restart the PC to apply all the changes to the system.

restart the PC

Switch Account from Standard User to Administrator

One of the reasons for the access denied error to a file is because the User account you are using is only a Standard User account. If that is the case, then try switching your account to an Administrator by following the steps below.

Step1 Open User Account Window

To launch the User Account window, press the “Windows key and R key” at the same time. On the “Run” box, type “control userpasswords2” and press “Enter” key.

run userpasswords

Step2 Click the Properties option

On the User Account window, tick the checkbox for “Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer” and select your User name and click “Properties.”

open the properties

Step3 Select Administrator option

On the Properties window, select the “Group Membership” tab and switch from Standard user to Administrator and click “OK.”

switch to admin

Step4 Restart the System

Once finished, reboot the system to apply all the changes.

restart pc

Revise the Registry Settings

Registry settings can hold the key to fixing the access issue on your PC. When access restrictions are being a pain, you can try by editing a few things on the Registry. Just be sure the follow the instructions carefully because one wrong setting can cause a bigger error on the system. Here are the steps to edit the registry.

Step1 Run the Regedit Window

Launch the Registry from the Run box by pressing the “Windows + R” keys together and type “regedit” and press “Enter.”

launch registry editor

Step2 Create a New Registry

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanWorkstation\Parameters is the file path to follow. On the right pane of the Parameters folder, right click on a black space and select “New,” and click DWORD (32-bit) Value. Rename Dword to “AllowInsecureGuestAuth.”

open file path

Step3 Edit the Value of the newly created Registry

Open the new registry by double clicking on it and under the “Value Data” enter the number 1 and click “OK.”

set value

Step4 Reset the System

Restart the PC and wait for it to boot.

restart the system

Disable User Control

User Accounts have an option that sets restrictions to what a User account can do to the system. For example, when trying to install an application, the system might say access is denied because the user don’t have permission to do so. What needs to be done, is to disable the User account control to proceed without being interrupted by the notification. Here are the steps to disable User Controls.

Step1 Launch the User Account window

On the search bar, type in “User Accounts” and click the top result.

launch user control

Step2 Disable the Control

Slide the pointer to the lowest point or the “Never Notify” level and click “OK.”

slider control

Turn off Antivirus Program

Most antivirus programs, intercepts programs that is considered as harmful to the system. That is why when you try to install a 3rd party tool to the system, it denies access to the tool. Here are the steps to disable Windows Defender.

Step1 Enter Windows Settings

Launch the Settings window from the Search bar by typing “settings” and press “Enter.”

launch settings

Step2 Open the Update and Security Section

From the Setting window, select the “Update and Security” option

open update and security

Step3 Click Virus and Threat Protection

Click the “Windows Security” option and “Open Windows Defender” option. Select Virus and Threat protection and disable the “Real Time Protection” option.

turn off defender

Extra Tips to Access Google Drive

One instance where the access is denied message appears is when using Google Drive. To resolve this issue, you can try to stop all the process of Google Drive and uninstall it from the system. Here are the steps to do this.

Step1 Launch the Task Manager

To open the Launch Manager, press the “Ctrl + Alt + Del” keys simultaneously and select Task Manager.

open task manager

Step2 End Google Drive Process

On the Task Manager, locate all the process of Google Drive and click the “End task” button.

end task process

Step3 Uninstalll Google Drive

Close the “Task Manager” and uninstall the program from the system.

uninstall drive

Step4 Open the Google Folder

Press the “Windows and R” keys simultaneously again and type %localappdata%\Google and press “Enter.”

open local folder

Step5 Rename the Drive Folder

On the Google folder, search for the Google Drive folder and change it to “Drive.old.”

rename drive folder

Step6 Reinstall Google Drive

Reinstall Google Drive to the System again and see if the issue is fixed.

reinstall drive


Being denied access to the system can become troublesome. However, with the right knowledge, you can fix this problem. In this article, we have discussed different ways to fix the access denied error in different situations with detailed steps. By following the instructions carefully, there won’t be any problem, and you will be able to fix the denied access issue in no time. By the way, if you have any problem or suggestion, please let us know by leaving a comment below. Thank you!

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November 3, 2018

Post By Bryan to Computer Troubleshooting

Last updated on September 20, 2019

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