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Guide: Bypass access denied error when accessing data from different XP/2000 install.

By Rick ยท 38 replies
Nov 15, 2003
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  1. I have seen this question on the forums a few times, but I don't think I've ever seen a real answer to it.

    I just had this situation with a customer's laptop with a corrupted registry, so I played with it until I figured it out. This can be a major problem when trying to retreive your data from a corrupted XP installation or moving your data to a new PC or drive.

    Problem: Access denied to data on another drive or previous installation of Windows XP or Windows 2000.
    Solution: Take ownership of the directory and files.

    Microsoft sums it up better than I can, so I grabbed this article for reference...

    TIP: Windows XP Home users should boot into Safe Mode as an Administrator. The 'Security' tab will become accessible.

    NOTE: You must be logged on to the computer using an account that has administrative privileges. If you are running Windows XP Home Edition, in order to have access to the Security tab, you must first start in Safe Mode and log on with an account that has Administrative rights.

    If you are using Windows XP Professional, you must disable Simple File Sharing. By default, Windows XP Professional uses Simple File sharing when not joined to a domain. For additional information about how to do this, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    307874 HOW TO: Disable Simplified Sharing and Password-Protect a Shared Folder in Windows XP

    To take ownership of a folder:
    Right-click the folder you want to take ownership of, and then click Properties.
    Click the Security tab, and then click OK on the Security message (if one appears).
    Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
    In the Name list, click your user name, Administrator if you are logged in as Administrator, or click the Administrators group. If you want to take ownership of the contents of that folder, click to select the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects check box.
    Click OK. The following message appears, where folder name is the name of the folder that you want to take ownership of:
    You do not have permission to read the contents of directory folder name. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control?

    All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.

    Click Yes.
    Click OK, and then reapply the permissions and security settings that you want for the folder and its contents.
    back to the top

    How to Take Ownership of a File
    NOTE: You must be logged on to the computer using an account that has administrative privileges.

    To take ownership of a file, follow these steps:
    Right-click the file you want to take ownership of, and then click Properties.
    Click the Security tab, and then click OK on the Security message (if one appears).
    Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
    In the Name list click Administrator, or click the Administrators group, and then click OK.

    The Administrator or Administrators group now owns the file. To change the permissions on the files and folders under this folder, continue to step 5.
    Click Add.
    In the Enter the object names to select (examples) list, type the user or group account to which you want to give access to the file. For example, Administrator.
    Click OK.
    In the Group or user names list, click the account that you want (for example, Administrator), and then click to select the check boxes of the permissions that you want to assign that user. For example, Full Control [Allow]. When you are finished assigning permissions, click OK.
  2. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

    Good tip. Why don't you make it a "Sticky Read"?
  3. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 406

    thanks for this tip rick. it helped me out getting rid of some useless files that i had on my drives. :grinthumb
  4. Kip

    Kip TS Rookie

    What do I do if the security tab does NOT appear?
  5. ibetheone

    ibetheone TS Rookie

    Because you have to go to windows explorer go under tools - folder options - click on the view tab scroll all the way to the bottom in advanced settings and uncheck the use simple file sharing checkbox...and then your security tab will show up in a minute or so..;)
  6. brown29

    brown29 TS Rookie


    Thanks for the advice mate, thats helped me out loads on my problem in another thead.

    Thanks, regards. Caine
  7. dopefisher

    dopefisher TS Rookie Posts: 436

    er..... i dont have that option under folder options....
  8. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 3,874

    That means you don't have a home network setup. You will need to run the Network Setup Wizard and let it do its thing. Then you should have that ability.
  9. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,634

    I've done this a lot on hard drives when hooked up to a 2nd machine, to get data off. Go Microsoft, make it so easy to protect all your data and hide it. Only to make it equally easy for someone to take it right back :)
  10. Ali2005

    Ali2005 TS Rookie

    :( i dont see a security tab in file or folder properties, how do i get to security tap? pleae help!
  11. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,049   +11

    Try reading this thread again.
  12. hp_compaq_tech

    hp_compaq_tech TS Rookie

    If you don't have a 'Security' tab..

    If you don't have a 'Security' tab.. the easiest way to get one is to simply boot into safe mode (F8 key) and login as your normal user account (or, of you are normally limited for some reason, as the Administrator). From safe mode, you can follow the same steps and there the elusive tab will be.

    Wait! Is not that the same as above: "If you are running Windows XP Home Edition, in order to have access to the Security tab, you must first start in Safe Mode and log on with an account that has Administrative rights."

    Why yes! Yes it is.
  13. happyjo

    happyjo TS Rookie

    Security Tab in File/Folder Properties

    Try keeping Ctrl key pressed down, while you right-click on the file/folder. Then click on Properties. This may help.
  14. dll_guate

    dll_guate TS Rookie

    No HD shown in Safe Mode

    I have a second HD that I have installed on a new computer with Windows XP Pro. In normal Windows mode, I can see the drive (that has 3 partitions), but all are "Access denied". I understand the need to change the ownership on the old drive, but there is no security tap showing up in normal Windows mode (even with the simple security box unchecked). When I go to Safe Mode to change the ownership there, the drive does not appear in Windows Explorer? Any clues would be greatly appreciated.

  15. DoctorPed

    DoctorPed TS Rookie

    I used a variation of that method for XP Home and FINALLY, after four weeks I get into my user name folder...

    Now none of the folders in the user file can be accessed...and the steps do not work for it...

  16. The_Maestro

    The_Maestro TS Rookie Posts: 52


    I'm not 100% sure with XP Home but when you logon change the way you logon to be able to type in your user name as opposed to clicking on the picture and log on as administrator, see if you can access it then, that way you should still be able to see the drive, although normally to take ownership of and old 2000/XP installation you need to be in safe mode
  17. dbarkley

    dbarkley TS Rookie

    "Access is Denied" .. error fixed !

    Sharing this because it has taken me nearly 3 days and much research and frustration [tried every suggestion offered] before I finally found the fix for my problem.

    I wont go into the details of why .. but Windows Update had ceased to work and the error messages were not particularly helpful .. just 'failed' and that was it.

    It took me a while I finally identified that the error was caused by the update
    program being unable to write to the necessary registry keys [Access Denied]
    so, not necessarily only the update program .. this problem could come from any program which needs to change system keys and might apply to other applications which report this error.

    Came eventually to this article:

    which describes how to reset the Registry Key permissions to the installation defaults ..

    This worked .. and I now have Windows Update working.
  18. DoctorPed

    DoctorPed TS Rookie

    The problem has taken me six weeks because I desperately tried to recover my desktop...and I finally realized it would never happed...just ordered a new hard drive from TigerDirect and I will run the Restore DVD on it...

    I logged on with my screenname instead of "Administrator" and it solved all my problems...it was one of the links in this thread...

    Thanks for the help, guys!
  19. mstrmind

    mstrmind TS Rookie


    Hi Guys. I have some serious computer problems. I used to have this huy I know who builds machines work on my computer. However, I keep having lots of hardware failures when he is done. I am tired of messing with BS and excuses. I ended up having to get a new HD. I installed windows, and it crashed. I installed a different version of windows and it got locked up by a virus called "tray app". Then I re-installed again. NOW I have 3 OS on my computer, I want to access files from the other installs and then combine it into one OS. Also after my HD crashed and I had to re-install windows, I had 2 drives in Raid 0 and would like to know how to get them back to raid? Or if they can see files seperetely of each other.... LOL... YES! I am a chick. And YES! I know that I sound like an *****, but hey I am a newbie :) :p
  20. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 3,874

    Well if you just installed 3 different OS' onto a new HDD, then I'd suggest formatting and starting all over. UNPLUG YOUR NETWORK CABLE!! This is important as until you get a firewall and anti-virus setup you won't be subject to crap from the net. Once you have your firewall and anti-virus setup plug in your network cable and go DIRECTLY to Windows Update and get all the updates. After that is done you should be ok.

    :wave:Welcome to TechSpot:wave:
  21. christine0701

    christine0701 TS Rookie

    do i understand correctly that if I have drive C and F, say. and i hook up F as a slave to C, i can switch ownership of files that are on drive F to be owned by the account on drive C?

  22. xbrit98

    xbrit98 TS Rookie

    A little twist to this thread (I need some help)

    Hi all, I have a Win XP Pro box, a bunch of internal hard drives and a Seagate 300Gb external firewire/USB drive.

    I needed to re-install Windows so I backed up all of my stuff (including 20,000 digital pics) to the 300 gig firewire. Once backed up, I went into the seagate drive and made sure that I could access my pics and I could. Feeling rather confident in myself I went ahead and wiped out my primary XP hard drive and re-installed XP.

    Imagine the heart stopping moment I had when I could no longer see my pictures on the external drive. I can display the folders but when I try to access I get the 'Access denied' error.

    After reading several posts I'm 100% sure it is beacuse I chose to make my files private at some point and now, I cannot take ownership back.

    If I boot into safe mode my firewire drive isn't available and since safe mode only loads minimal drivers, I can't imagine it working if connected to USB.

    Do you guys have any ideas or thoughts?

    thanks in advance...
  23. hardmous

    hardmous TS Rookie

    hi i'm new here. i have an old foler (contianing other folders and files in it) that is "access denied," and it is from a previous winxp installation. now i did try the aforementioned method suggested by microsoft. however--when i go to click on the "security tab" i get the "access denied" message. any suggestions. thanks in advance!
  24. Zargo

    Zargo TS Rookie

    'Access denied' fixed, but cannot copy

    I installed a new hard drive, installing a new version of Win XP (Home) on my new hard drive. I thought I could cut and paste files from the old system drive to my new one.

    The first problem I had was even being able to look at some of the files on the old system drive. After some messing around I worked out that files which read 'access denied' could be accessed in safe mode after I took ownership of them. But, I stll can't copy the files onto my new hard drive. I get "access denied". Can anyone help?
  25. mmak

    mmak TS Rookie

    This does not work for me

    I have some files that say the access is denied and i right click on them and there is no security tap there is just a genral, sharing and customize tab at the top.

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