How to take ownership of files and folders on Windows 10

Windows 10's file system can be used to to assign permissions to specific groups and users to access files and folders on a computer.

When you're signed in to your Windows 10 account, you get full control over the files and folders you create, sometimes you may also need access to other files. It could be files from an old account from a user that's no longer around, or maybe some system files you need to tweak edit to customize certain aspects of the operating system.

If you don't have specific permissions, Windows 10 will deny you access. But if your account has administrative privileges, you can take ownership of certain files and folders on your computer.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to take ownership of files and folders on your Windows 10 PC without the need of a third-party tool.

How to take ownership of files and folders

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Browse and find the file or folder you want to have full access.
  3. Right-click it, and select Properties.
  4. Click the Security tab to access the NTFS permissions.
  5. Click the Advanced button.

  1. On the "Advanced Security Settings" page, you need to click the Change link, in the Owner's field.

  1. Click the Advanced button.
  2. On the "Select User or Group" page, click the Find Now button.
  3. From the search result, select your user account, and click OK.

  1. On the "Select User or Group" page, click OK.
  2. Click Apply.
  3. Click OK.

  1. Click OK again.
  2. Click OK one more time to complete this task.

It's important to note that if you're taking ownership of a folder, you can check the Replace ownership on subcontainers and object option in the Advanced Security Settings page to take control of the subfolders inside of the folder.

Now you'll need to grant full access control to your account, to do this use the following steps:

  1. Right-click the file or folder and select Properties.
  2. Click the Security tab to access the NTFS permissions.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. Under the Permissions tab, click Add.

  1. Click Select a principal to add your user account.
  2. On the "Select User or Group" page, click the Find Now button.
  3. From the search result, select your user account, and click OK.
  4. On the "Select User or Group" page, click OK.

  1. On "Permission Entry", check the Full control option.
  2. Click OK.

  1. Click OK.
  2. Click Apply.
  3. Click OK.
  4. Click OK to close the file or folder properties to complete the task.

It's important to note that if you're taking ownership of a folder, you can check the Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants with inheritable permissions for this object option in the Advanced Security Settings page to replace the subfolders permissions with the settings from the parent folder.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

20 Comments
  • This is sometimes better open up command prompt type "takeown /f [path} /r /d Y" the gui way can be a pain sometimes
  • Add_Take_Ownership_to_context_menu.reg Remove_Take_Ownership_from_context_menu.reg
  • Share with us.
  • Please click on the links I've provided in my comments.
  • I have a lot of user groups after I clicked the find now button, although I am the only user. How do I reduce those to a minimum?
  • Can I ask why? Almost every group need to be there for core Windows functionality to work. If you remove any - even if they aren't currently being used - you'll get permission errors all over the palce, services will stop working, you'll be unable to join a domain... This is advanced stuff and pokign about without a fulll understanding will more likely break your machine than anything else. If you have extra users you want to manage, go to the control panel. Seriously. The only groups you need to worry about as a normal user are "User" and "Administrator", and all accounts in those groups can be managed through the control panel. Apologies if this sounds condescending, but it wasn't explained exactly how powerful the steps in this guide are. You can easily break your pc by changing ownership and inheritance on files/folders.
  • What an ill-thought-out and irresponsible article.... Windows files (such as shell32 that you demo'd) are owned by TrustedInstaller for security purposes under Windows Resource Protection moniker which replaced Windows File Protection. Changing the owner is a very bad idea!!   For anyone who's unwittingly changed any Windows files after reading this article, you should change it back. TustedInstaller is a fake account, and therefore you can't just give it ownership via it's normal account name, you need to use 'NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller' 
  • Sometimes we need to delete something, corrupted folder perhaps.
  • Very true or bad dlls to do a repair
  • Windows will repair any damaged files either from the dll cache or from the shadow volume copy. Changing the owner and doing your own 'repairs' means you're compromising the security and integrity of the OS. Please don't change the owner of anything unless you know exactly what you're doing and what the consequences of doing so are (something the author doesn't seem understand). And definitely stay away from anything owned by TrustedInstaller.
  • heh, "When you need to modify system files" should be never. Unless you are an IT Pro and know the consequences you should play it safe and stay away from these if you want to remain in a supported state
  • The only time a normal persons should need to take ownership of NON system files, is it you had to create a new profile and need to access the files from your old one, or on occasion when you're troubleshooting somebodies PC - this should never really include files or folders controller by Trusted Installer though
  • Or deleting folders or files that were created by third-party software etc.,
  • @Mauro Huculak
    You're the best, thank you for the tips and trick!
    Please continue with guides like this, they're always great!! P.S. I'm afraid I'm becoming your groupie! :-)
  • Thanks for the feedback. I'll keep them coming. :)
  • Oh I know what you mean but some times the files get jacked and can't be repaired so you have to take ownership to delete them and have windows repair put new ones on.
  • Good guide.
  • Great thanks
  • After installing the cumulative update prior to 14393.222, I noticed that all documents I create on my Desktop get the "shared file" icon in the lower right of the file icon (with the two little green and blue shirted guys). Anybody else experience this? Also, Windows decided to create a Homegroup and reset some of my networking settings at its own will.
  • Its taken a few hours to change the ownership of thousands of files so far and it looks like it froze on a specific file, so I hit cancel.  Now I'm stuck on the cancel screen.  Is it undoing everything I've done so far?