Fix: Google Drive “You need permission to perform this action”

By: Matthew Adams
4 minute read

The Folder Access Denied error window in Windows states, “You need permission to perform this action.” This window might open when you attempt to modify the contents of a folder that you don’t have full directory permissions for even in an admin account. So is Windows stating you need permission to alter the contents of your Google Drive directory? If that’s so, these are a few potential fixes for the cloud storage folder.

Check Other Software is not Using the Same Google Drive File or Folder

Another program or process might be using a Google Drive file or subfolder. For example, another utility might be backing up the file or subfolder. Then the Folder Access Denied window will also open when you try to modify the Google Drive content. If that’s so, close all open programs on your taskbar and check other software processes with the Task Manager as follows.

  • You can open Task Manager by right-clicking the Windows taskbar and selecting Task Manager.

  • Then you can select third-party software listed under Background processes. So select a background process to close there.
  • Now press the End task button to close selected processes.

Add Unlocker to Windows

Unlocker is a third-party program that tells users what software and processes are holding a lock on another folder or file. Press Download on the Unlocker Softpedia page to save its installer to Windows, which does install some extra bundled programs unless you select its Advanced option. When you’ve installed it, right-click the GD folder and select a new Unlocker option on the context menu. A window might open showing you what software and processes are locking Google Drive. Press the Unlock All button on the Unlocker window to close the software and processes.

Restart Google Drive

When you’ve closed all other software on the taskbar and a few other programs listed under background processes on Task Manager, restart Google Drive. So right-click the Google Drive icon in your system tray and select Quit Google Drive. Then run the Google Drive client software again.

Check the Google Drive Folder Permissions

Windows might be denying you folder access because your user account doesn’t have the required Google Drive folder permissions. Your user account should have full control permission for the Google Drive folder. This is how you can check the folder’s permissions and, if required, take ownership of it in Windows 10.

  • Firstly, you should open File Explorer, right-click your Google Drive folder and select Properties.
  • Click the Security tab on the Properties window.

  • Press the Advanced button to open the window shown in the snapshot directly below.

  • Your Windows user account listed there should have full control permission for the Google Drive folder, subfolder and files. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to take ownership of the folder for full access.
  • Click the Change option on the Advanced Security Settings window to open the Select User or Group window.
  • Press the Advanced button on the Select User or Group window.

  • Next, click Find Now, select your user account from the search results and click OK.
  • You should also press the OK button on the Select User or Group window and click Apply.
  • Then you can select a Replace ownership on subcontainers and object option on the Advanced Security and Settings window to also change the owner of all subfolder and files within the GD directory.
  • To grant full access control to the new owner account, select the Permissions tab on the Google Drive folder’s Advanced Security and Settings window.
  • Press the Add button to open the Permission Entry window.

  • Then click Select a Principal to open the Select User or Group window.

  • Press the Advanced button, select your user account as before and click OK.
  • Your selected user account will now be in the Select User or Group object name text box. Press the OK button on the Select User or Group window.
  • Now you should select the Full Control check box on the Permission Entry window and click OK.
  • Press the Apply and OK buttons on the Advanced Security Settings window.

Set up a Batch File to Take Ownership of the Google Drive Directory

There is a slightly quicker way to take ownership of the Google Drive directory if Windows isn’t recognizing folder permissions. Instead, you can set up a batch file with Notepad that will do the same thing. This is how to set up a take ownership batch file.

  • Type ‘Notepad’ into the Cortana search box and select to open that text editor.
  • Copy and paste the following text into Notepad with the Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V hotkeys.

SET DIRECTORY_NAME=“C:Locked Directory”

TAKEOWN /f %DIRECTORY_NAME% /r /d y

ICACLS %DIRECTORY_NAME% /grant administrators:F /t

PAUSE

  • Erase C:Locked Directory and replace it with the actual path of your Google Drive folder.
  • Click File > Save as to open the Save as window.
  • Select All Files from the Save as type drop-down menu.
  • Enter ‘Take Ownership.bat’ in the File name box.
  • Press Save to save your batch file, and then you can run the batch from File Explorer.

So those are few ways to fix access denied errors for Google Drive and any other folder or file in Windows. Then you’ll be able to modify the folder as required. This Windows Report article also provides further details on how you can take ownership of a folder.

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