FIX: Windows 10 won’t let me access my files
Access Denied error in Windows 10 happens when you try to access or work with files and then get either of these three messages:
- Access Denied error
- You cannot access, change, save or delete files and folders
- You cannot open a file or folder after you install a new version of Windows
If you cannot access your files in Windows 10 due to various error messages, try the solutions listed in this guide based on what error message you get.
FIX: Windows won’t let me access files
- Folder ownership changes
- You don’t have the appropriate permissions
- File or folder is encrypted
- File or folder may be corrupted
- User profile may be corrupted
- Recover files from Windows.old folder
- Manually enable SMBv1
1. Folder ownership changes
If you upgraded Windows recently from an earlier version, some account information may also have changed so you may not have ownership of some files or folders. To take back ownership of a file or folder, do the following:
- Right click the folder that you want to take ownership of, then click Properties
- Click the Security tab
- Click Advanced
- Click Change. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
- Type the name of the person that you want to give ownership to and click Check Names. The account name for the person that you are assigning ownership will be displayed.
- Click OK. If you want this person to be the owner of the files and subfolders that are contained in this folder, select the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects check box.
- Click OK
2. You don’t have the appropriate permissions
Permissions determine whether or not you can access or change files and folders. To check this, do the following:
- Right-click the file or folder, and then click Properties.
- Click the Security
- Under Group or user names, tap or click your name to see the permissions that you have. To open a file, you have to have the Read permission.
To change the permissions of a file or folder, follow these steps.
- Log on as an administrator
- Right-click the file or folder, and then select Properties.
- Click the Security
- Under Group or user names, click your name to see the permissions that you have.
- Click Edit, tap or click your name, select the check boxes for the permissions that you must have
- Click OK.
3. File or folder is encrypted
Encryption protects your files and folders from unauthorized access. If you don’t have the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder, then you cannot open it. To resolve this, you first need to check if it is encrypted by doing the following:
- Right-click the file or folder
- Click Properties.
- Click the General tab
- Click If the Encrypt contents to secure data check box is selected, you have to have the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder so as to open it. Get the certificate from the person who created or encrypted the file or folder, or ask the person to decrypt the file or folder.
4. File or folder may be corrupted
Files can become corrupted for various reasons, but the most common is when you have a file open when your computer crashes or loses power. Most such files cannot be repaired, in which case you should delete or restore the file from a backup copy.
5. User profile may be corrupted
Sometimes Windows may not correctly read your local user profile, which means you may lose access to your files and folders. In this case, you have to create a new user profile, so you need a new local user account. Once this is done, the profile is also created. To do this:
- Click Start and select Settings
- Click Change PC settings.
- Click Users.
- Click Add a User
- Click Can they sign in without a Microsoft account?
- Click Local account.
- Enter your new account name.
- If you want to use a password, enter and verify the password that you want to use. If you decide not to use a password, click Next without entering a password.
- Click Finish.
6. Recover files from Windows.old folder
After a recent upgrade, if you don’t reformat your hard disk, you can access old files from the Windows.old folder. To resolve this, you can either use the Fix it link from Windows or fix it yourself manually using the steps below:
- Click Start and select File Explorer
- Double click the drive that Windows is installed on (typically, drive C).
- Double click the Windows.old folder.
- Double click the Users folder.
- Double click your user name.
- Open the folders that contain the files that you want to retrieve.
- Copy the files that you want from each folder and paste them to a folder in the new Windows version e.g. Window 10.
- Repeat the last two steps for each user account on your computer.
7. Manually enable SMBv1
SMBv1 is a file sharing protocol that allows you to access your files from your Windows computer. To do this:
- Click Start and select Settings
- Click Apps
- Click the link Programs and Features under the Related Settings
- In the new window, click the Turn Windows features on or off link
- In the window that appears, scroll down to SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support.
- Click the + to expand that category.
- Check the box for SMB 1.0/CIFS Server and press OK.
- Restart your computer
This will install the files necessary for the file sharing protocol needed for you to access your files.
Were you able to access files after using any of the above solutions? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below.
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