How to manually reset folder and file permissions in Windows Explorer

As I was typing out an earlier blog entry about resolving access denied (0x80070005) errors that can happen while installing the .NET Framework, I was intending to link to a post that listed the steps you can take to reset permissions (ACLs) for folders, files and registry keys.  Then as I searched through my previous blog posts I couldn't actually find a post where I listed those steps, so I figured I should list them as a standalone post.

Resetting folder/file permissions

  1. Launch an instance of Windows Explorer

  2. Navigate to the parent of the folder that you want to reset permissions for

  3. Right-click on the folder and choose Sharing and Security...

  4. Click on the Security tab

  5. Click the Advanced button

  6. Set the permissions you want - typically you will want to allow Administrators, System, and Creator Owner to have full control

  7. Check the box labeled Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects

  8. Click OK

  9. Click Yes in the dialog box that appears asking if you are sure

  10. Wait while Windows recursively applies the specified permissions to all sub-folders and files

Also note that there is a tool named subinacl.exe that can be used to automate the process of resetting folder, file and registry permissions so that you don't have to use the set of steps listed above.


Comments (15)

  1. Dwayne says:

    Thanks guys. This article helped out.

  2. vartan says:

    I had a simliar problem with Access denied, except all the subfolders in the folder I was trying to access had the same permissions. When I followed your advice, it applied my new permissions only to the folder itself, and not to the subfolders and files inside. Nor to the files in the subfolders. It’s driving me crazy and I can’t figure out how to get it fixed. Why does it do this?

  3. Hi Vartan – I’m not sure why you are running into this problem while using the Windows Explorer UI.  I suggest trying the steps listed at to use the SubInAcl tool to try to fix this instead.

    1. Douglas says:

      Does this tool work with Win 7 Ultimate?

      1. Hi Douglas – Yes, the steps in this blog post will work on Windows 7.

  4. Roberto says:

    You have to go further than that to change permissions. You have to keep on clicking bottonos in the advanced section and add yourself as Administrator for whatever name you have as Administrator. The real Administrator is the system and you are only set as a sort of power user.  When you find the right section you click on search to find your Administrator's name and add it up and then you select the option to add those rights (inheritance) to all of the children in the branches.

  5. Harvier says:

    You are absolutely awesome, solved all my problems of videos not working and unable to access files, and application. looked around the web for hours after i ignorantly changed some permissions settings. thank you. lol even though its a post from 6 years ago

  6. Shahid Nazeer says:

    I tried the above procedure but it didn't helped me out…While applying it shows Access is Denied with some Items

  7. The title is misleading says:

    More appropriate title would be "how to modify permission…." because "reset" would mean to revert back to default permissions (as an out-of-box OS). And the proper way to reset is to use security template files shipped with the OS, under c:windowssecuritytemplates.

  8. AMD says:

    Use Permissions Time Machine v1.0 to restore default permissions to folder or files or registry keys it's free and fast and easy

  9. Charles says:

    I guarantee this site for anyone who was to restore security settings by default.. This is the most powerful site that help me … but when you enter the site you will see UPDATE …click on it to download the and install it  .. follow the procedures then you are done .. Happy

    Go the website ..everything is there to help you restores security settings…/resetting-ntfs-files-security-and-permission-in-windows-7

  10. John says:

    Equally effective is a tool called ‘Reset Permissions’ that you can install and include in your context menus. It works like that app called ‘Take Ownership’. This tool allows you to reset all permissions, take ownership and delete stubborn orphaned SIDs along the way. The link is:

    Another one is NTFS Permissions Tool. I use this first and then go through the system to target areas where it did not erase any orphaned SIDs and do cleanup with the first tool above. This tool can be had at:

    You can use AccessEnum ( ) to find all orphaned SIDS on a drive to see if your cleanup has gone the good way and nothing is lingering.

    To be safe, you can compare SID numbers with the legitimate SIDs on your system registry at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

    Good luck and have fun. These tools can clean up any sized external drive in no time at all compared to manually going through each file and folder and verifying the permissions and owner through the properties / advanced tabs of the object.

  11. Wajid says:

    I followed all the steps but still facing same issue is there any online service like team viewer ? thanks

    1. Hi Wajid – Can you provide more details about the exact issue that you’re seeing? For example, is there a specific application that you cannot install or run, and do you see a specific error code?

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