Resetting NTFS files permission in Windows – Graphical Utility

Update 09/17/2013: New version release. Check the download section


It seems many people found the post entitled “Resetting NTFS files security and permission in Windows 7” very useful, however many were having problems executing the steps properly.

For this reason, I made a small graphical utility to achieve this task:



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.

Sometimes it is necessary to take ownership of the files before resetting their permission. For that reason please check the “Take ownership” option.

[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.

You may also like the following post:

55 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.

Leave a Reply