How to Reset All Permissions to Default in Windows 11

Modify the permissions only if you really have to

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
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Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Some of our readers run into trouble when they modified some user permissions in Windows 11.
  • Their systems became unstable, and they couldn't change back the permissions due to access restrictions.
  • Here is how to reset the permissions to default in Windows 11 by using simple commands and a dedicated tool. 
How to Reset Permissions to Default in Windows 11

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Some users prefer to change NTFS permissions for certain folders in Windows 11 so they can access them better.

However, tinkering with permission settings can generate issues. One of our readers said that he accidentally stopped the Change task permission for a user and his system became unstable.

Moreover, he couldn’t change the permission back because he was denied access to certain folders.

Has something similar happened on your PC? If so, you’re in the same boat as the quoted user above. You can reset all NTFS permissions to default with the methods in this guide below.

What are NTFS Permissions?

NTFS stands for New Technology File System and is a type of file system for Windows PCs. However, NTFS isn’t anything new since it replaced the FAT file system for older platforms in ‘93.

The NTFS permissions control (manage) folder and file access for its filing system. You can select several permission options for folders from their Security tabs.

Permission settings reset permissions windows 11

What is the icacls tool?

Icacls is a command-line utility with which you can modify folder and file permissions. You can input icacls commands to reset NTFS permissions for specific folders or all directories.

The icacls.exe command specified in the first method resets permissions for all subfolders and files in a directory.

This Microsoft page provides further details about the icacls command syntax and its parameters.

How do I reset permissions in Windows 11?

1. Use the icacls.exe command

1. Press the Search button on the Taskbar, type cmd, and select Run as administrator.

windows 11 search for cmd

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2. Then open a folder you want to reset all permissions for in Windows 11 with the Command Prompt’s Cd\(folder path) command. You can open the root directory by executing this command:Cd\

3. To take ownership of an open directory tree, input the following text and hit Enter:takeown /R /F *

takeown command in cmd

4. Input this command and press Return:icacls * /t /q /c /reset

icalcs command cmd

5. Alternatively, you can reset a folder tree’s permissions to default by including its directory path in the command. Execute this command with a real folder location included within the brachets:icacls [full folder path] /reset /t /c /l

In order to reset all permissions to default on Windows 11 using the icals command, you need to use the built-in command-line tool Command Prompt.

Cmd allows you to take ownership of an open directory tree and then reset it with the icals.exe command.

2. Reset permissions with a dedicated tool

  1. Download SubInACL Tool from Microsoft.
  2. Double-click the downloaded file to install it to the following path (If your system is installed on another drive then C:, replace the letter accordingly): C:\Windows\System32
  3. Now, open Notepad and type or paste the following commands:
    • subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=administrators=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=administrators=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=administrators=f
      subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=administrators=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CURRENT_USER /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subkeyreg HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT /grant=system=f
      subinacl /subdirectories %SystemDrive% /grant=system=f
  4. Click File from the menu, select Save As, and then name the file reset.cmd.
  5. Click on Save as type, and then select All Files (*.*), save the file to any location you want, and close Notepad.
  6. Go to the location of the file and double-click it to reset the permissions. The procedure will take a few minutes so be patient.

How can I back up and restore NTFS permissions in Windows 11/10?

It’s a good idea to back up NTFS permissions before messing around with folder and file permission settings. Then you’ll easily be able to restore backed-up permissions when required.

You can back up and restore NTFS permissions with the same icacls command-line tool needed for resetting them. This is how to back up and restore folder and file permissions with two commands:

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin user rights as specified in steps one to four for method one.
  2. Navigate to a folder tree for which to back up permissions in the Command Prompt.
  3. To back up permissions, input and execute this icacls command: icacls c:data /save ntfs-permissions-folder.txt /t /c
    The backup command reset permissions windows 11
  4. You can restore permissions by executing this icacls command: icacls c: /restore ntfs-permissions-folder.txt
    The restore command reset permissions windows 11

To avoid issues in the first place, don’t mess around with folder and file permissions unless you must. However, you can reset permissions to default when issues arise with icacls and Windows Repair.

You can discuss resetting NTFS permissions in this page’s comment section. If you know of any other good way to reset NTFS permissions in Windows 11, let us know about it below.

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