How to Take Ownership and Gain Full Access to Files/Folders in Windows 10 (and Vista, 7, 8)

How to Take Ownership and Gain Full Access to Files/Folders in Windows 10 (and Vista, 7, 8)

by Gary Oldwood on 31 August 2015 · 32528 views

Anyone who fiddles around with system settings and apps will, at some point, come across the need to take ownership and get full access to a file or folder. By taking ownership of a file or folder, in essence, you make it yours even if it belongs to another user, and by gaining full access, you bassically acquire permissions to do anything you want to it (access, modify, move, etc.).

So let’s see how you can take ownership and gain full access to a file or folder in Windows 10. First we cover the typical ways for taking ownership and getting full access manually from the item’s properties, and then we make use of a 3rd-party tool called TakeOwnershipEx that does both. You can use whichever method you find more suitable.

Click on the links below to jump to the corresponding topic in the article:

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually

Step 1: Go to Properties of the File/Folder

Open File Explorer and locate the file or folder you want to take ownership of. Then right-click on it and select Properties.

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 1

Step 2: Go to the Security Tab and Click ‘Advanced’

In the Properties window, navigate to the Security tab and click the Advanced button.

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 2

Step 3: Open Window to Select New Owner

In the Advanced Security Settings window, click on the Change link located next to the label of the current owner.

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 3

Step 4: Select New Owner

The new window has a textbox at the bottom, in which you enter the name of the account you want to give ownership to (yours, in this case). You can type the name yourself, but if you don’t know the exact name of the account, there’s an easy way to find it: click the Advanced button, and in the new window that opens select Find Now to display a list of all available accounts. Then select the account of your choice from the list and click OK to enter it to the textbox.

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 4

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 5

When the new account is entered in the textbox, you can click Check Names to see if the name you entered is valid or not (an error message will appear if it’s not valid). Finally, hit OK in all open windows to change owner and save changes.

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 6

Optional: If you took ownership of a folder and also want to take ownership of the files and subfolders included in that folder as well, then in the Advanced Security Settings window check the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects option.

Taking Ownership of a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 8

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually

Step 1: Go to Properties of the File/Folder

Open File Explorer and locate the file or folder you want to take ownership of. Then right-click on it and select Properties.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 1

Step 2: Go to the Security Tab and Click ‘Advanced’

In the Properties window, navigate to the Security tab and click the Advanced button.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 2

Step 3: Open ‘Permission Entry’ Window

In the Advanced Security Settings window, click the Add button located at the bottom.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 3

Step 3: Open Window to Select Principal

In the Permission Entry window click on the Select a principal link located at the top to open a new window.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 4

Step 4: Select New Principal

Enter the name of the account you want to get full access (yours, in this case) in the textbox. Type the name of the account if you want, but it's easier by doing the following: click the Advanced button, and in the new window that opens click Find to display a list of all available accounts. Then select the account of your choice from the list and click OK to enter it to the textbox.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 5

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 6

When the new account is entered in the textbox, you can click Check Names to see if the name you entered is valid or not (an error message will appear if it’s not valid). Then click OK to add the account as a principal.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 7

Step 5: Set Permissions to Full Control

In the Permission Entry window check the Full control box and click OK in all open windows to save changes. That's it, you now have full access to the file/folder.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 8

Optional: If you took ownership of a folder and also want to take ownership of the files and subfolders included in that folder as well, then in the Security Settings window check the "Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants with inheritable permissions from this object" option.

Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Manually Screenshot 9

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx

This handy tool can give you ownership and full access to a file or folder of your selection, with the click of a button. Furthermore, it can revert ownership and permissions to those items, again with just a single click.

Step 1: Download and Install TakeOwnershipEx

First, download from here the archive that includes TakeOwnershipEx. Extract it afterwards, and then run the included setup package.

Note that there are two executables in the archive:

  • TakeOwnershipEx-1.2.0.1.exe - for Windows Vista, 7
  • TakeOwnershipEx-1.2.0.1-Win8.exe - for Windows 8, 8.1, 10

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 1

Step 2: Run TakeOwnershipEx

After the installation of the program is completed, run it. You will see two buttons on its window: Take Ownership and Restore Ownership. Select Take Ownership.

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 2

Step 3: Select File/Folder

From the dialog that opens, select the file or folder that you want to take ownership of and gain full access to, then click OK.

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 3

Done! A message will pop up stating that you now full access to the item you selected.

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 4

Step 3: Restore Ownership and Permissions

You can revert back to the original owner and permissions just as easy:

First, click the Restore Ownership button in TakeOwnershipEx’s window to display all items that you've got full access to using it.

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 5

From that linst, mark the desired item and hit Restore rights.

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 6

A message will appear, informing you that ownership and rights are restored to the original account.

Taking Ownership and Gaining Full Access to a File/Folder Using TakeOwnershipEx Screenshot 7

Done!

If you have any problems, or want to ask a question, then do so in the comments section below!

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