How To Take Ownership of a Windows Folder or File in 8 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published January 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Taking ownership of a file or folder within a Microsoft Windows operating system can be a simple process of following a series of steps. There are several reasons you may need to learn to do this, such as editing files you don't own, requiring access to folders that aren't yours or a working on a group project in which each team member requires owner capabilities. Learning how to take ownership of a file or folder on your computer can be a helpful technical skill for anyone working in an office environment.

In this article, we explain what taking ownership of a file or folder is, review why you'd take ownership of a file or folder and give a step-by-by-step guide to the process.

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What is taking ownership of a file or folder on Windows 10?

Taking ownership of a file or folder is a specific process of gaining permissions, and therefore access, to a file or folder. Once you've gained access to a file or folder, you have complete ownership over it on your operating system. By default, if you're the owner of a file or folder, you have implicit rights to that file or folder, and the account you're logged into is the account that gets ownership of the file or folder you create.

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Why take ownership of a file folder?

There are a variety of reasons you may want to take ownership of a file folder. Most commonly, you go through this process to gain full ownership and access to the files or folders on your computer. Additionally, if you've created a file to share with coworkers or have a document that's needed in a group project, you can assign permissions to other people on chosen files so they can also take ownership. There also may be times you need to edit and customize a coworker's files, and you need to take ownership of these files to do so.

If you're the creator of a file, you already own the file as its administrator and have the ability to transfer ownership or give access privileges to others if needed. Likewise, you can also deny ownership privileges to others and prevent them from taking ownership of a file or folder.

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How to take ownership of a file folder

You can take ownership of a file or folder by following a couple of simple steps. This process involves navigating to the folder or file in question and editing its advanced security properties. Here are eight steps you can follow to take full ownership of the file or folder of your choice:

1. Sign in to your administrator account

Start by logging into the administrator account that controls the file or folder in question. You must be the administrator in charge in order to make any ownership changes. Once you've done this, you can navigate to the specific file or folder you'd like to take ownership of. You can then right-click on the desired file or folder to open up the next menu.

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2. Navigate to the security option of the file or folder

From the menu bar that appears, select "Properties" toward the bottom of the list. Click on the "Security" tab to open the "Security" menu. Toward the bottom of this menu, select the "Advanced" button. Within this pop-up menu is listed the current owner of the certain file or folder.

3. Locate the file or folder owner

Once you find the named owner of the file or folder, which is listed at the top of the menu, look for the "Change" icon in the area to the right of the owner's name. Click on this icon. Within the new menu that appears, click the "Advanced" button, that's toward the bottom.

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4. Find your account

Within the new "Advanced" menu, look for the "Find now" button that's located to the right of the menu. Click on "Find now." A new menu drops down that lists all users of the computer. Navigate to your own username and click on it. After doing so, select the "OK" button. A new menu appears, and you can again click the "OK" button.

5. Navigate to the "Advanced Permissions" menu

On the screen, the "Advanced Security Settings" menu returns. In the bottom left area of the menu, click the "Add" button. In the new menu, click on "Select a principal" toward the top. When the new pop-up menu opens, select the "Advanced" option.

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6. Select your account

Once you're within the "Advanced Permissions" menu, you can click on the "Find now" button located at in the right area of the menu. A list of all computer users again appears, and you can select your own username. Then click the "OK" button above the list of names. Again click "OK" on the new menu that appears.

7. Choose permissions

After selecting your username, you're returned to the "Permission Entry" menu. This menu outlines all basic permissions. To gain full ownership of the specific file or folder, select the box that says, "Full control." Then select "OK."

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8. Verify your permissions

You can then verify that you've taken full ownership over the file or folder of your choice. To do this, you can navigate to your username once again, which should appear on the screen. If it's not on the screen, you haven't gained full access to the file or folder, and you can repeat the process once more. If your username appears on the screen, then you're officially the owner of the file or folder.

Please note that none of the organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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