Resetting NTFS files permission in Windows – Graphical Utility

Update 11/15/2015: New version release. Get it from the download section below. 


It seems many people found the post entitled “Resetting NTFS files security and permission in Windows” very useful. For that reason, I made a small graphical utility to automate NTFS resetting files permissions and taking their ownership:



This utility needs administrator privilege in order to run. To use it, first click on “Choose folder” to select the folder you want to reset permissions then press “GO” to proceed.

It is also possible to edit the commands, change or add new commands before you press “GO”.

Explanation of user interface:

  • Checkboxes:
    • Reset files permissions: This is the basic option. You may uncheck it if you want to carry other operations.
    • Take ownership: Sometimes it is necessary to take ownership of the files before resetting their permission. For that reason please check this option if needed.
    • Apply for all sub-directories: Use this option to apply the selected commands recursively.
    • Reset hidden and system files: This command will make invisible files visible.
    • Don’t follow links: this option applies to the “Reset files permission” and “Take files ownership” options only.
    • More options: see the section below.
  • Buttons
    • GO: executes the commands in the “Command that will be executed” text box
    • HELP: takes you to this blog post
    • ABOUT: Shows the version and about text

More options

This is a new feature introduced in version 1.1.0.  When you press this button, you get two options:

  • Add to Explorer folder context menu
  • Remove from Explorer folder context menu

Press “GO” after you select either of the options.

When the ResetPermission utility is added to the Explorer folder context menu, you will be able to right-click on any folder and then choose a new option called “Reset Permission”. Check this screenshot:


How it works

To keep short and less technical, this utility is just a shell that uses the following utilities from Microsoft:

All the commands that are going to be executed are showed to you beforehand.

You have a chance to tweak the commands before you press “GO” and execute them.


Please use this utility at your own risk.

I am not responsible for mishaps due to using this tool recklessly (for example trying to reset system or root folders permission), however, I display a warning when this tool is about to be used on a root folder:


Check the “How it works” section above then please refer to Microsoft TechNet site for information about the tools used.


[Click here to download the utility executable] or [the source code]

Please support my efforts and time put into writing this utility by donating through Paypal:

Thank you.

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89 thoughts on “Resetting NTFS files permission in Windows – Graphical Utility

  1. i know that it will be sounds stupid cos i lost my psswords. Here is my problem.

    I have 3 accounts in my pc. Administrator (by the system) Billy – Standard User and Grego – Standard User. Now all my work is in the desktop of Billy and i have no access since each account has his own priviliges such as No access to others users desktops cos i change permissions to all of them. I try to take ownership by the classic method using the Cagnge owner Tab but this was impossible since i changed permissions.

    Any good suggestion how do i took back my files or change priviliges while i am a standard user ?

    I have access only in Grego account and i run these commands :
    from programs (windows 7 64bit is my os) right click to cmd and run as administrator
    then i log on to c:\users\grego
    then i type the command takeown /R /F *

    after a while the command finish and now i don’t know what to do for the next step.

    is there a possible way to change this account from standard user to an administrator use so i will then and reset passwords from the other two accounts ?

    or is there a possible way to take over Billy files on his desktop ?

    thanX for your attention since i’m very confused and i lost hours of sleep til i found you !!!!
    btw your posts are awesome !!!!

    • Vasilis, please use the graphical utility, it will do the work for you.

      You need to have administrator privilege in order to reset the permissions the way described in this blog post.

      Good luck,

  2. There is a bug in this utility. I am running Windows 7 / 64 bit.
    I wanted to reset all permissions in a drive letter “I”
    However, you utility put double Backslash ( “i:\\” ) instead of a single Backslash. Therefore the cmd shell gives error. Please fix the software, and thanks for it.

  3. good help, but I had to take away one backslash and run in a command window when I tried a full disk, ( example with choose folder: M:\ )

    takeown /r /f M:\\*
    icacls M:\\* /T /Q /C /RESET
    attrib /s -h -s M:\\*

  4. Hi! I have a problem with my HDD, if i use windows i cannot access it, i get ACCESS DENIED, but if i boot Linux or something that is not windows i can access all the files inside, I also have a windows installation in it, and when i try to boot it the screen remains black with the mouse pointer being moveable after the loginscreen, Thanks!

  5. thank you SO much for this :) A few months back I followed your steps for the command line interface after I had completely messed up permissions on an internal HDD and that fixed it, but on reinstalling Windows I was completely locked out of one particular directory – this tool allowed me to unlock and reset everything with great ease.

  6. DUUUUUUDE!!!!!!!!! You saved my ass!!!!! I love you!!!!!!!! I never donate, but this calls for it!!! Thanks a million, REALLY!!!!!!

  7. Hi, a SkyDrive issue left some important files with PLO attributes. Does your utility have the ability to remove these attributes? Or do you know of a method?


  8. Thank you so very much!
    I have a problem though, when I click “Choose folder”, the app does not let me choose the folder or drive. Instead, it just write the commands to execute and if I click GO it will tell me to select a folder.
    Can you please, check that?

    I’m on Windows 7 x64, UAC disabled and running it as Admin regardless on and Admin account.

    Thank you again!

  9. I read your post with hope in my heart, especially the part where you wrote, “the tool “cacls” that allows one to display or change ACLs (access control lists)”. I need to be able to see ALL of the twisted, layered permissions that plague my hard drive, in order to determine exactly what changes to make.

    In other words, your little gizmo is probably the cat’s pajamas for mass application of drastic measures, but how can I tell which ones to apply?

    I tired the command that the ‘help’ describes as dumping ACL data to a file. The file contains exactly one “.”. Period.


    Help please,

    • Hi,

      I am not sure I understand what you want to achieve. Can you explain in another form?

      If I got you correctly, you just want to see the actual permission data?

      If so, just run:

      icacls \*.* /T

      Replace with the location. This will print all the ACL info of files in the given path.


      • Thanks for you prompt reply!

        You’re example for displaying ACL info is helpful, though the output is cryptic. I’m sure some expert could read it as easily as reading calculus formulas …

        By way of explanation, there are files / directories on my hard drive that simply will not respond correctly to the documented manipulation processes, For example, even though my user ID is owner of certain files / directories, and have full administrator rights, commands like switching off encryption still result in permission denied errors. It seems as if there are, in effect, layers of permissions, based on ownership, access rights, group membership, and ACL / ACU, that remain incalcitrant, even in the face of (seemingly) ultimate authority.

        So, if there were a way to display ALL of the convoluted access rules that affect the contents of the file system, it would be helpful in determining what must be altered, in order to perform useful work.

        Thanks again!

      • Usually, one just resets the whole folder’s permission and starts over.
        Note, if folder encryption is involved then you cannot clear that out.
        Another thing, you may want to “[x]” check the “Take ownership” box as well.

  10. This is exactly what I am looking for, I was trying to change security permissions on group Everyone and messed up all the files on F: drive and now I get access denied. I only have one user on this home machine and it also is the administrator, I think, at least it says so. It’s telling me I don’t have enough rights to download your application, I have the same problems when I try to open up PDF files, do you have a tip to give me that security permission? Once I am over that and I can download your executable, I still have to run your software and hope to God that it works and that I get access back on my thousands of files.

  11. Thanks, this works like a charm! I fixed my security issues and was able to download your application, it worked but only on half of the files. the final comment said: successfully converted 13,883 files and 13095 files not successful. On the line item while trying it said “the handle is invalid” and now when I try to open the files that don’t work instead of access denied it gives invalid format even though they are excel. Any ideas what to do to get the rest of the files converted?

  12. Doesn’t taking bulk ownership just creates one problem to solve another problem? I.e.: there should be a way to reset acls without losing ownership info – and please don’t tell me there’s another tool which resets ownership… that just requires you to bulk change permissions!

    • Taking ownership is optional. You just uncheck the “Take ownership” checkbox from the GUI utility.
      AFAIK, just using “icacls” should just reset the permission and not the ownership.

  13. Any chance of updating to include the following options?

    Folder Selection – Drag and Drop
    Folder Selection – Remember last used folder and open on that folder
    Command Window – Allow paste, to add additional commands to be run
    CheckBox Option – Manual recursive commands, (run command on all folders found instead of using /r – the /r I’ve noticed doesn’t always work!)


  14. Thank YOU SO MUCH. One of the computers I was working on caught a Virus that messes up the file permissions you program save me a lot of time I was more then Happy to donate. Though sorry its so little.

  15. You saved me thank you. I had accidentally removed “users” permission and could in no way manually fix all the hundreds of files that I had messed up it kept giving me failure to enumerate errors. Your utility worked perfectly on the second try (had to select take control)

  16. The program breaks when the path to a file or folder is too long. Any chance you can fix that? Maybe by using the 8.3 filename convention to address files?

    This is what it looks like when the it fails:
    Y:\Computer Backup\F-DRIVE-[BACKUP]\Freelance Work\Stuff I search for when I’m n
    ot working\Changes that you make to environment variables do not affect services
    that run under the Local System account until you restart Windows_files\system_
    center_advisor_psc_ad.png: The system cannot find the path specified.

  17. Your DOS commands worked very well and I could fix my problem with files permissions in my computer. Thank you very much.

    • Looks like it does, the only issue is on C:\Users as even with the /L, it seems to try to follow the link when it reaches a user folder and the bad thing is the icacls will remove the user from owning their folder so one has to manually do the ownership on the files with takeown and then doing the icacls so that all the files in the C:\Users\ are owned by that User.

  18. I think I found a serious problem in your tool. If the file structure you are processing has symbolic links to system directories, for some reason TAKEOWN will follow these links and change ownership of your system drive C:, even if you are processing files in a K: drive. It created a mess here when followed a “Documents And Settings” link in a backup.

    I think you need to apply the parameter /SKIPSL to takeown. This parameter exists at least in Windows 8.1.

  19. I want to get some clarification if you don’t mind. I perform many User Entitlement Reviews on unstructured data (file shares) for medium/large business. I am almost guaranteed to find large numbers of folders with “Broken ACL’s” where although they are Inheriting ACE’s do not match that of the parent. It would be a GREAT help to me if I could run this on a branch of a Share to ‘fix’ the ACL’s from top to bottom, meaning no matter what the current setting is on the ancestor folders! Put a different way, when this finishes are the permissions on EVERY object below the starting point “Inheriting” and have identicle ACL’s? If that is a YES, that is a great start…however there are now situations where an inheriting child had a desirable additional ACE over what it inherited…would you be able to capture that and then revisit the ACL and add again???

    • Hi, thanks for reaching out. Honestly, I cannot properly answer this question for you. The Graphical utility is a simple shell around the “icacls” and “takeown” utilities from Microsoft. I advise you go to TechNet / Microsoft support forums and learn more about the implications of using those tools. Thank you.

  20. Thanks for this app!.. But im having problems with resetting file permissions of archive files like zip and iso.. is says access denied but all other files is success.. what should I do? i cant even open any of that files anymore and also exe files.

    • Sorry for the mistake but it seems that its not just archive files thats having access denied, all kinds of file types were giving access denied.. Dont tell me that my files were corrupted because before i tried this app i ran some of that files thats and it ran without problems but after using this app I cant open my most important files anymore.

    • OK heres another update to my files.. It did gave me errors to some of my files after using this on my drive F, not folder, in the root of that drive theres this most important files that have had the probems occured and theres also somes folders with files in it, the files inside the folders dont have any errors, the only files thats having error are the ones located at the root of drive F.
      I tried moving those files inside one of the folders then there it is! The problems are gone!. How is that?
      I happy that this little app fixed our permission problems hassle-free.. But why is my drive F acting like this now?..

      • I don’t know. Is drive F where Windows is installed? I updated the tool to warn before allowing users to change root folders from now on. I also added links to the utilities used.

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