Windows requires permissions for actions you perform on your computer. But it’s your computer, isn’t it? So, why do you need permission to access certain files and folders? There are several related answers.
Windows want to protect you from accessing certain files because changing them can damage the operating system. Therefore, if your Windows user account does not have the right permissions, you will not be able to access certain files or folders.
In this case, you will get an error message “You must have permission to perform this action“. This is frustrating, of course. But here are some very effective solutions to fix this error.
What causes the “You need permission to perform this action” error message?
There is no single cause for this error, but it is better if it does not occur again. However, in some situations, the error occurs more often, for example when you try to copy files, change the folder/file name, delete a file or folder, or install a program.
Ideally, these actions should not cause any problems. If you do not have the correct security permissions, if the permissions have not been changed correctly, or if the folder or file is locked by a service or system process because it is an important file for Windows to work, you may encounter this error.
The error can also be caused by malware infection or the use of some third-party applications. All this can be frustrating even if you have an administrator account, as you cannot create, modify or even delete files and folders.
How to repair the “You must have permission to perform this action” error message?
Changing the directory owner
- First, find the file you cannot access. Right-click on that file and select Properties.
- Select the Security tab and click Administrator under Group and User Names.
- Click the Advanced button at the bottom.
- In the Owner section, click Edit.
- In the Select User or Group window, click Advanced.
- Then in the Advanced section, click Find Now and select the group that you want to have full rights to the files on your computer. Click OK to close this window.
- Now go to the Permissions tab and click Add.
- Click Select Primary.
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 to select the desired user or group.
- Set the Type to Allow and check the Full Control option. Now click OK to save your changes.
- You are now the owner of the selected file and can modify it without restriction.
Use the command line to change security/ownership permissions
- Press the Windows + X keys to open the Win + X menu and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the list. If
- Command Prompt is not available, you can use PowerShell (Admin) instead.
- When Command Prompt opens, type takeown /f (path_to_folder) /r /d y and press Enter. By running this command, you take ownership of the selected directory or file.
- Now type icacls (path_to_folder) /grant administrators:F /T and press Enter to execute the command.
- You then give the Administrators group full control over the directory. If you want to grant full access to another user or group, enter the appropriate name.
Once these two commands are executed, you become the owner and grant full control to the selected user or group. For this command to work, you must replace (path_to_folder) with the exact location of the file or directory that caused the File Access Denied error message.
Check your antivirus program
Another cause of this problem could be your antivirus program. To solve the problem, users recommend disabling your antivirus program and see if that helps. If not, you should uninstall your antivirus program and see if that solves the problem.
If uninstalling the antivirus program does not solve the problem, you should consider switching to another antivirus program. There are many good antivirus programs on the market, but if you want an antivirus program that won’t affect your system, we recommend that you try popular third-party antivirus programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Check the type of Windows user account.
- Get full control over the file or folder.
- Add yourself to the Administrators group.
- Boot into safe mode.
- Run SFC and CHKDSK.
Your computer may be infected with viruses or malware that are causing the "You need permission to perform this action" error message. Run a scan for and remove malware from your computer using Windows Defender. After that, you can check if the error has disappeared.
Go to the System and Security settings group, click on Security and Maintenance, and expand the options under Security. Scroll down until you see the Windows SmartScreen section. Click on the Change Settings button. You must have administrator rights to make these changes.