Top 13 Ways to Fix Folder Access Denied Error in Windows

Top 13 Ways to Fix Folder Access Denied Error in Windows

Are you getting the “Access Denied” error when trying to open a Windows folder? Suddenly you are stuck on all the files saved in that particular folder. It can’t be good, but we need to understand why Windows 10 folder is giving access denied pop-up errors before we fix it.

Some users face the Access Denied error when they try to open a file saved in a folder instead. While our primary focus is on the folder side of things, these solutions should also give you access to the files in question due to the way Windows works and deals with both of these.

Let’s get started.

1. Administrator rights

The user account that you use to access the folder does not have the necessary administrative rights to access it. Change user account or contact the system administrator responsible for IT equipment, if this is your work laptop.

2. Conflict with Google Drive

If you are trying to access a folder that you have synced with Google Drive, you may see this error. Google Drive can cause conflicts with File Explorer jobs, forcing the folder to display an Access Denied error. A quick way to test this is to close the Google Drive process from the task manager. A simple restart will reactivate your favorite cloud storage application.

Step 1: Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. Find “googledrivesync.exe” under the Processes tab, right click it and select End task.

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3. The folder is encrypted / password protected

The folder can be password locked or encrypted by the administrator or by someone who controls or accesses your Windows computer. You will need to contact the administrator / daughter or your supervisor to unlock it.

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You can also try to decrypt it yourself if your Windows user account has the correct rights and permissions. Right click on the folder and select Properties or press Alt + Enter. Go to the General> Advanced tab and deselect the option “Encrypt content to secure data”. Save these new settings.

4. The folder is corrupted

The folder containing your files may be corrupted. It might also corrupt the files inside. Fortunately, you can recover data from corrupted folder without breaking a sweat.

5. Modify the folder authorization

Step 1: Right click on the folder that throws the Access Denied error and select Properties. You can also press Alt + Enter to open it.

2nd step: Under the Security tab, select the Edit button. Select your username in the pop-up window that follows and give it Full Control.

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6. Location of modified folder

Moving a folder in Windows is easy. Just cut (Ctrl + X) and paste (Ctrl + V) anywhere. You may have moved the folder to a different location, but due to cache issues or a bug it still appears there. Press F5 to refresh the screen and check again.

7. Add an account to the administration group

If a user account does not have administrator privileges, he / she can add the account to the administrator group.

Step 1: Press Windows Key + X to select Computer Management or search for it in the Start menu.

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2nd step: Go to System Tools> Local Users and Groups> Users and double click to open the name of the user account.

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Step 3: Click the Add button on the Member Of tab.

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Step 4: Enter the word “Administrators” in the pop-up window that follows and select the Check Names button to find the administrator account. Then click on OK.

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Step 5: You will be taken back to the previous pop-up where you will now notice the Admins entry. Click on it once and select OK.

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Check again if you still get the Access Denied error when opening this folder.

8. Activate the built-in administrator account

Each installation copy of Windows comes with a built-in administrator account that you can activate using the command prompt. Once activated, switch to the administrator account and you should be able to access this forbidden folder. The default administrator account acts as a super account with all privileges enabled by default.

9. Controlled access to records

Continuing the above point, Windows Security Suite also has a ransomware module to protect against such threats. You can find it under Windows Security> Virus and Threat Protection.

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Disable the Controlled Folder Access option here and try again. You should be able to access the folder now.

10. Corrupted user account

Your Windows user account may also be corrupted, only files and folders. Creating a new standard or administrator user account is quick and can help correct several common errors such as folder access denied.

11. Disable User Account Control

Step 1: Find UAC in the start menu and open “Change User Account Control settings”.

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2nd step: Drag the slider down the screen to Never notify and save settings.

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The Windows Access Denied error should no longer appear when opening this folder.

12. Registry Editor Hack

We recommend that you make a backup of the registry files before making any changes in the event of a problem. These are system level files and can damage your computer. You don’t want that.

Step 1: Find Registry Editor in the Start menu and open it.

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2nd step: Navigate to the folder structure below.


Step 3: In the right pane of the window, right-click to select New> DWORD (32-bit) Value and name the file “AllowInsecureGuestAuth”.

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Step 4: Double click to open the file and enter the value 1 and save the changes.

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13. Run the malware check

You will usually display some sort of ransomware request message displayed on the screen stating that your computer has been hacked. The hacker would block critical system and user folders / files from you and then demand money, presumably in Bitcoins. Some third-party apps like Malwarebytes also offer ransomware and malware checking. You should get Malwarebytes and run a check just to make sure the folder isn’t infected.

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In the cloud

Using a cloud storage service like OneDrive or Google Drive can resolve these issues. As there is a copy of the file on the servers of the cloud service provider, you will never face such issues again in life. Some premium cloud storage apps also offer to save multiple versions of the same file so that you can undo any changes or edits made.

Consider using cloud storage for important files, but if you are concerned about privacy and security, get a hard drive / SSD and take regular backups. For now, we hope one of the solutions has worked for you.


Want to count the number of files and subfolders in a folder? Here are 5 ways to count files and subfolders and see how much space they are consuming.

Last updated on March 18, 2021

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