Problem: Windows won't let you remove folders or files because of permission rights
Cannot delete folder. Access is denied
You need permission to perform this action. You require permission from COMPUTER\USER to make changes to this folder
You will need to provide administrator permission to change these attributesExample: You installed a program that sets special permissions to its directory, and after formatting or reinstalling Windows, that folder now belongs to another user (your old account) which you do not have access to. Windows will block your attempt to rename, move, or delete the files or folders.
Cause: Lost user permission (mismatch SID) from previous Windows installation.
Solution: As an administrator, give yourself or everyone permission to the entire directory.
Use the Unlocker program for other access related problems.
Foreword: In the following instructions, the word "target" means the locked file or folder that you want to reclaim. Bolded all-caps words in the code should be replaced with your own input. Move your mouse over the underdotted words for tooltips. All steps will be done inside the Command Prompt, not Windows Explorer. If you are experienced with the Command Prompt, skip to Step 3.
Step 1: DirectoryStart button -> enter cmd in the search box -> Command Prompt should be opened
Go to the folder where the target is stored. If your target is in a different hard drive, type:
cd /d DRIVELETTER:Example: if the target is in "D:\Program Files", type cd /d D:\Program Files
Type cd DIRECTORY to change directory. Type dir to see the current directory's contents. Type cd .. to go one directory up.
Step 2: OwnershipIf you do not have ownership to the target, type:
takeown /f TARGET /rExample: if you are in "Program Files" and you want to give yourself permission to the child folder "cygwin", type takeown /f cygwin /r
Step 3: PermissionAssuming you want to delete the target later, the following code gives all permissions to everyone:
icacls TARGET /grant Everyone:(OI)(CI)(F) /tIf you want to give only yourself permissions, type:
icacls TARGET /grant COMPUTER\USER:(OI)(CI)(F) /tTo find out your computer name, type systeminfo. Your user name is same as the Windows login.
You may also set permissions in Windows Explorer by right clicking a file -> Properties option -> Security tab Example: icacls TARGET /grant Everyone:(DE) /t will make that target deleteable.
Step 4: DeletionYou should now be able to do anything with the target from Windows Explorer. If you rather use the Command Prompt for deletion, type rmdir TARGET /s /q for a directory, or del TARGET /f for a file.
Command Prompt: icacls /?Read this help message for more specific permission settings.
ICACLS name /save aclfile [/T] [/C] [/L] [/Q] stores the DACLs for the files and folders that match the name into aclfile for later use with /restore. Note that SACLs, owner, or integrity labels are not saved. ICACLS directory [/substitute SidOld SidNew [...]] /restore aclfile [/C] [/L] [/Q] applies the stored DACLs to files in directory. ICACLS name /setowner user [/T] [/C] [/L] [/Q] changes the owner of all matching names. This option does not force a change of ownership; use the takeown.exe utility for that purpose. ICACLS name /findsid Sid [/T] [/C] [/L] [/Q] finds all matching names that contain an ACL explicitly mentioning Sid. ICACLS name /verify [/T] [/C] [/L] [/Q] finds all files whose ACL is not in canonical form or whose lengths are inconsistent with ACE counts. ICACLS name /reset [/T] [/C] [/L] [/Q] replaces ACLs with default inherited ACLs for all matching files. ICACLS name [/grant[:r] Sid:perm[...]] [/deny Sid:perm [...]] [/remove[:g|:d]] Sid[...]] [/T] [/C] [/L] [/Q] [/setintegritylevel Level:policy[...]] /grant[:r] Sid:perm grants the specified user access rights. With :r, the permissions replace any previouly granted explicit permissions. Without :r, the permissions are added to any previously granted explicit permissions. /deny Sid:perm explicitly denies the specified user access rights. An explicit deny ACE is added for the stated permissions and the same permissions in any explicit grant are removed. /remove[:[g|d]] Sid removes all occurrences of Sid in the ACL. With :g, it removes all occurrences of granted rights to that Sid. With :d, it removes all occurrences of denied rights to that Sid. /setintegritylevel [(CI)(OI)]Level explicitly adds an integrity ACE to all matching files. The level is to be specified as one of: L[ow] M[edium] H[igh] Inheritance options for the integrity ACE may precede the level and are applied only to directories. /inheritance:e|d|r e - enables inheritance d - disables inheritance and copy the ACEs r - remove all inherited ACEs Note: Sids may be in either numerical or friendly name form. If a numerical form is given, affix a * to the start of the SID. /T indicates that this operation is performed on all matching files/directories below the directories specified in the name. /C indicates that this operation will continue on all file errors. Error messages will still be displayed. /L indicates that this operation is performed on a symbolic link itself versus its target. /Q indicates that icacls should supress success messages. ICACLS preserves the canonical ordering of ACE entries: Explicit denials Explicit grants Inherited denials Inherited grants perm is a permission mask and can be specified in one of two forms: a sequence of simple rights: N - no access F - full access M - modify access RX - read and execute access R - read-only access W - write-only access D - delete access a comma-separated list in parentheses of specific rights: DE - delete RC - read control WDAC - write DAC WO - write owner S - synchronize AS - access system security MA - maximum allowed GR - generic read GW - generic write GE - generic execute GA - generic all RD - read data/list directory WD - write data/add file AD - append data/add subdirectory REA - read extended attributes WEA - write extended attributes X - execute/traverse DC - delete child RA - read attributes WA - write attributes inheritance rights may precede either form and are applied only to directories: (OI) - object inherit (CI) - container inherit (IO) - inherit only (NP) - don't propagate inherit (I) - permission inherited from parent container Examples: icacls c:\windows\* /save AclFile /T - Will save the ACLs for all files under c:\windows and its subdirectories to AclFile. icacls c:\windows\ /restore AclFile - Will restore the Acls for every file within AclFile that exists in c:\windows and its subdirectories. icacls file /grant Administrator:(D,WDAC) - Will grant the user Administrator Delete and Write DAC permissions to file. icacls file /grant *S-1-1-0:(D,WDAC) - Will grant the user defined by sid S-1-1-0 Delete and Write DAC permissions to file.Keywords: Windows 7, Windows Vista, UAC, User Account Control, cacls, cygwin folder, cygwin directory