Sometimes you need to get full access to some file or folder in Windows 10. It can be a system file or folder, or one which was created by a user account that no longer exists. In most cases, the Windows operating system will prevent you from doing any operation on such files and folders. In this article, we will see how to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10.

Take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 using File Explorer

To take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 without using third party tools

  1. Open File Explorer, and then locate the file or folder you want to take ownership of.
  2. Right-click the file or folder, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button. The Advanced Security Settings window will appear. Here you need to change the Owner of the key.
    Click the Change link next to the Owner: label
  4. The Select User or Group window will appear.
    Select the user account via the Advanced button or just type your user account in the area which says Enter the object name to select and click OK.
  5. Optionally, to change the owner of all subfolders and files inside the folder, select the check box Replace owner on subcontainers and objects in the Advanced Security Settings window. Click OK to change the ownership.Windows
  6. Now you need to provide full access to the file or folder for your account. Right-click the file or folder again, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  7. Click the Add button. The Permission Entry window will appear on the screen:Windows
  8. Click Select a principal and select your account:Windows
  9. Set permissions to Full control:
    Click OK.
  10. Optionally, click Replace all existing inheritable permissions on all descendants with inheritable permissions from this object in the Advanced Security Settings window.
    What it means is permissions on this parent object will replace those on its descendant objects. When cleared, permissions on each object, whether parent or its descendant, can be unique. Click OK to get full access to the file or folder.

Thats it. You just changed the ownership and got full access to the file in Windows 10 using the File Explorer app.

See: How to restore the TrustedInstaller ownership in Windows 10

Additionally, you may want to add a Change Owner context menu. It will allow you to save significant amount of time by directly setting ownership to one of the pre-defined system accounts.


The context menu allows you to quickly change the owner to one of the following system accounts:  the Administrators group, Everyone, SYSTEM, and TrustedInstaller.  To learn more about the Change owner context menu, please refer to the following post.

How to Add Change Owner Context Menu in Windows 10

There, you will find ready-to-use Registry files, detailed instructions, and clarifications about how every context menu entry works. This will allow you to change the file, folder, or drive owner with one click.

Take ownership of a file or folder in Windows 10 using TakeOwnershipEx

Alternatively, you can save a lot of your time using my freeware, TakeOwnershipEx. It allows you to change file ownership and access rights with one click. Just select the file or a folder and click the Take Ownership button:
After you get full access to the desired file or folder, you can even restore the default permissions which it had. Click the Restore ownership button to restore it:
Thats it. Using the TakeOwnershipEx app, you can save your time, but even if you prefer using the built-in options in File Explorer, it shouldnt be too hard task for you if you followed the instructions in this article.

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