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 Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.


We have a Windows 7 desktop that had an empty bay. We put our old HDD from XP into that bay, and although some of the pictures from that drive are accessible, many of the folders have pictures of locks on them and the contents are not viewable because of a lack of permission. Will this method work for us to get at those photos and documents?


I had to take ownership of the Security Essentials folder in order to get fully rid of MSE after its installer had broken mid-install. Trusted Installer (or what it's really called) sure wasn't happy to let go. I seem to remember having to jump through a bit more hoops than what I see in this blog, on account of it being a more secured folder. On the other hand, maybe it was just because I had to guess blindly at what to do.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000 moderator

But here a lot depends on what Security was in place on the XP System. If the Files where Encrypted then you'll need a XP System to open them and you'll need to know the Encryption Key as well as the software used to encrypt the drive/files. Should work for other security though. Col

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