Access Denied in Windows 7? – Download Free TOwnership (Take Ownership)

I love Windows 7, since it was built with more security in mind than previous Windows operating systems. No, I’m not saying that it’s perfect, but Windows 7 is a significant improvement.

I’m all for enhanced security but, I get plenty ticked off when I need access to a specific file, or folder, and I find out Windows 7 won’t allow it. It doesn’t even trust ME, and I have administrator privileges!

Here’s an example of operating system paranoia, when I requested access to MY local settings folder.


Now, wait a minute – that’s just wrong! I’m the one in control here – not some bloody computer operating system. Computers will do as I command; not the other way around.

I understand, up to a point, why Microsoft programmers decided that some users shouldn’t have access to certain files, or folders, in order to prevent unintentional, or intentional, file or folder modification. Microsoft’s habit of “hiding”system files, by default, is one example of this “safety first” thinking.

Frankly though, I don’t allow any files or folders, on any of my systems, to remain hidden, or inaccessible. I want to know what’s there, who put it there, and most importantly – what it does.

It’s easy enough to change the default setting in Windows Explorer so that system files are no longer hidden. And, I highly recommend that you do so; since malware is notorious for sitting in these files, and attacking/changing them.

Here’s what to do, so that you can at least see these files:

On the Tools menu in Windows Explorer, click Folder Options.

Click the View tab.

Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

However, doing this will not change restricted access to certain of these files, and folders. Microsoft does provide a solution though – if you want to work through an 11 step process. I kid you not – 11 steps!

A much easier solution to this aggravation, comes in the form of a neat little free application – TOwnership.

Take Ownership is a Shell extension which adds a Windows Explorer context menu option – “Take Ownership” to all folders and files, which will allow you to take ownership of a file, or folder, thereby gaining access.

Following installation you will see the new “Take Ownership”, command in Windows Explorer context menu (right click menu), as the following screen capture shows.


When you take ownership of a file, or folder, you will see a screen similar to the following screen capture, as the application goes through its machinations.


Remember the “access denied” warning at the top of this article? After installing and launching TOwnership, it has been replaced with the following, which indicates I now have complete access to my local setting folder. So take that Windows 7!


This is a great free application that can save a user a ton of steps when taking ownership of a file, or folder, is necessary. I highly recommend it.

Download at: Softpedia

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Software, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista

28 responses to “Access Denied in Windows 7? – Download Free TOwnership (Take Ownership)

  1. abhijit

    Just WOW, Thanks bill .
    I have been looking around to gain access to similar folders, now i will.

  2. Liam O' Moulain

    Another one that’s over my head Bill – at least for now. But, the more you teach, the more I learn, and I really thank you for that.

    Please keep on teaching – I’m really starting to get into this.


  3. Bob Slyker

    Hey Bill,

    Like you I have been bugged by the nanny attitude of W7. Great little app! Thx!



  4. Dave B

    Microsoft did what they did in hiding these files for a good reason, I need more than my hands to count how many times I had a user come in after they discovered the “unhide hidden and system files” settings, then proceded to clean up their “cluttered” drive by deleting io.sys or msdos.sys on their Win9x box or boot.ini on their XP box, so I don’t hold it against them. The majority of people that need access to these files can usually figure out how to get to them. 🙂

    • Hey Dave,

      Well, we finally have an issue on which we disagree. I don’t have any doubt that you have seen tons of screw ups when it comes to hidden files. But, I stand on the side of absolute transparency in an operating system. No hidden files, no restricted access.



      • Dave B

        It was bound to happen one of these days!

      • Dave B

        And actually we’re not in 100% disagreement, I’m just saying there are those users that aren’t capable of comprehending what they are seeing and shouldn’t be mucking with the operating system, but by all means those that want more insight into the goings on of their OS and have the knowledge to understand what they see should keep tabs on it.

  5. Ranjan

    Hey Bill,
    As usual, nice find. I too get annoyed when i’m denied access even on being the admin… I’ll try it.
    Btw, if i’m right, this can also be done by a simple registry hack..

    • Hey Ranjan,

      You are right – the same thing can be accomplished with a registry hack. I don’t think though, that registry hacks are ever simple. One mistake and – poof! It’s the principle reason I avoid recommending them here.

      For you and I, and skilled users, a registry hack is no problem, but…….


  6. Ramblinrick


    I just ran into a similar predicament! Thanks for this, will be a big help.


  7. Sounds like a great program, it can be a hassle taking ownership especially when moving data from an old drive to a new build.
    Kinda funny though, a fairly simple program can defeat a Microsoft built in security feature. Well its a good thing its not this easy to elevate administrative privileges…

    • Hey Mark,

      You’re one step ahead of me still – I hadn’t considered the moving data issue. Great advice.

      I read recently, that lowering admin privileges could reduce any Win 7 exposure by up to 90%. That’s a big return on such a simple change.

      As always, thank you for your perceptive comments.



  8. Mister Reiner

    “Now, wait a minute – that’s just wrong!”

    LOL – Thanks Bill, I needed a good laugh today. I can just imagine the look on your face when that dialog box popped up.

    • Mister Reiner,

      Nobody will ever admit that they occasionally talk to their machine, but I see it around me every day. I do it, and I’ll bet you do too. Come on, you can tell us. 🙂

      Good to see you here.



  9. TeXaCo

    Hey Bill,

    I tried a similar program but it didn’t actually do what it said it was supposed to do, so I will give this one a try.



  10. Good find Bill.

    It’s a powerful tool … but maybe too powerful for inexperienced computer users.

    Your readers should always apply the Golden Rule “If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, don’t do it!”


    • Hey Rod,

      I hear ya. The Golden Rule “If you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, don’t do it!”, should be stamped on all newbie keyboards.


  11. Pingback: Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#65) « What's On My PC

  12. No Name

    The folder you referenced is actually a Junction Point. There is a Security Permission on it: Deny “List folder / read data” for Everyone, and it is applicable only to “This folder”.

    The Junctions allow older application to use old folder locations without creating folders all over the place. The reason for the Security Permissions is to keep applications from “walking the directory”, but I am not sure why this is a problem.

    The Take Ownership utility is useful for files Owned by “TrustedInstaller”. These can be especially difficult to change the Security Permissions.