Quick Tip: Take ownership of files and folders in Windows

In this Quick Tip, Mark Kaelin shows you how to take ownership of a file or folder in Microsoft Windows 7.

By default, the creator of a file or folder in Microsoft Windows 7 is the owner of that file or folder. As owner, that user can allow or deny access to nonadministrator users. However, there are times when an administrator or a user with administrator privileges and/or Take Ownership permission will want to take ownership of a file or folder.

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Taking ownership

If you are an administrator or otherwise have the proper privileges, you can change ownership with these steps:

1. Right-click on the file or folder to get the context menu and then click the Properties menu item (Figure A).

Figure A

Right-click the file or folder and open Properties.
2. Click the Security Tab on the Properties screen and then click the Advanced button (Figure B). You'll get an Advanced Security Settings screen similar to the one shown in Figure C.

Figure B

Click on the Security tab and then the Advanced button.

Figure C

You'll now see the Advanced Security Settings.
3. Click the Owner Tab on the Advanced Security Settings screen and then click the Edit button (Figure D).

Figure D

Click the Owner Tab and then the Edit button.
4. On the next screen, select a new owner from the Change Owner to List (Figure E). Note, if you need to take ownership for subfolders located within the folder, click the Replace Owner on Subcontainers and Objects check box.

Figure E

Change ownership.

5. Click OK on the opening screens and ownership of that folder or file will be transferred.


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.

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