Microsoft has made its Windows a very secure operating systems for its users from the start and keeps its files well protected in Windows folders which means some of the files in the Windows should not be manipulated by any means and if they are then there is a chance your Windows can be easily hacked or get corrupted. The Microsoft also allows you to make a certain folder protected in your Windows from other users. There can be many situations where you see the “access denied” message whenever you tried open up a particular restricted folder, this mostly happens when you tried to open up a restricted Windows folder or a particular encrypted folder.
If you’re caught up in a situation where Windows has prevented you from accessing your own data then don’t worry because in this article, I will guide you some methods on how to access restricted folders in Windows but bear in mind that the following methods will only work if you have administration rights of your PC, if you logged in from another account in someone’s PC that hasn’t given you any administration rights then it will be a useless struggle.
So, let’s start with the guide…
Method 1: Take Ownership of the Restricted Folder
In order to access the restricted folder, you have to modify its ownership, in order to do so, follow the steps below.
Right-click on the folder that gives a restricted message, from its contextual menu, click on the Properties option as highlighted above. This will launch a Properties dialog box of a particular folder.
From the Properties dialog box, under the Security Tab, click on the Advanced button to modify special permissions and advanced settings of the folder as highlighted above.
In Advanced Security Settings pane click on the Change link given against the Owner option as highlighted above.
Now in Select User or Group dialog box, under “Enter the object name to select” text box, type in the username of your PC and then click on the Check Names button, if you have entered the name correctly then it will be automatically applied. Or you can simply write “administrator” in the text box and then click on the Check Names button. This will pick up the username of your PC.
After clicking on the Check Names button, you can see the username of your PC has been picked and been automatically applied as shown above. Now simply click on the OK button to close the dialog box.
Now back to the Advanced Security Settings window, make sure to checkmark the “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” and “Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object” checkboxes as highlighted above. Now simply click on OK button to apply changes.
After installing the Take Ownership software, right-click on the restricted folder and select the Take Ownership option from the contextual menu as shown above, and that’s it.
Method 2: Enable Hidden Administrator Account
The Hidden Administrator Account is much more powerful than the regular Administrator Account and has the permission to access the certain restricted Windows Folders and files. So if you want to access any restricted Windows folder then using the Hidden Administrator Account can help you to access it. But it is not recommended to use this elevated Administrator Account as it gives the permission to access most areas of the Windows which contains certain files and folder you should not be messing around with and that is the reason Microsoft has hidden this Administrator Account. It is also recommended to disable the Account once you are done using it. You can also move its content to the accessible user account if necessary.
In order to enable the hidden Administrator Account, follow the steps below:
From the Windows Search on the taskbar, type in “cmd” or “Command Prompt” as shown above. Under the best match result list, right-click on the Command Prompts desktop app and from its menu click on the “Run as administrator” option as highlighted.
Now in the Administrator Command Prompt pane, type in the following command and then hit Enter as highlighted above:
After entering the command line above, you can see a message saying that the command completed successfully which means that your hidden Administrator Account is now enabled.
In order to disable the Hidden Administrator Account, type in the following command line and hit enter:
In order to use the hidden Administrator account, simply open up the Windows Start menu, from the start menu, click on the user profile icon and select Administrator option from the menu as highlighted above.
Method 3: Check if the Folder is Encrypted
The particular folder that you are trying to access can be encrypted and that is a reason why you cannot open it and face an “access denied” error message. In order to check whether the folder is encrypted or not follow the steps below.
Right-click on a folder and select the Properties option from the menu. Now from the Properties dialog box as shown above, under the General tab, click on the Advanced button as highlighted
In Advanced Attributed dialog box, under Compress or Encrypt attributes you can see a checkbox of “Encrypt contents to secure data”, if the checkbox is checked then it means that the folder is encrypted and vice versa. In order to decrypt the folder you have to have the right certificate and permission or you can ask the user who encrypted the folder to decrypt it from their account for you.
That’s it! Hope this helped you to know how to access restricted folders in Windows. If you are confused or experienced any difficulty following the instructions or you think you have a better solution that can solve the issue, please let us know in the comments section below.