How to delete any folder in Windows – Defeat the Folder Access Denied message

As an Administrator, you would expect complete access to all the options available to manage the data in your computer. However, the reality is that your powers are limited by Windows and you are going to come across messages that let you know that you cannot control all the folders at your will. Even if you sign in as an Admin, the system will stop you from deleting certain folders and you will get a Folder Access Denied error message, stating that you need permission to make any changes.

You may be wondering, how could an administrator require permissions to manage folders. Encountering restrictions when you log in as an admin can be puzzling and frustrating, but you don’t need to put up with this lack of power. In this guide, we will tell you how you can take back control over your computer.

Don’t let that folder get away
Some folders may try to evade deletion, but you can take charge with a few steps. If you receive an error message telling you that you require permission from someone else, even though you are the admin, you can try the below.

1. Right click on the folder you want to delete and select Properties.
2. Click Advanced in the Security tab.
3. At the top of the Advanced Security Settings dialog box, you will see the Name and Owner of the folder. The idea here is to change the ownership of the folder in order to be able to delete it. However, it is very important to keep in mind that if the owner of the folder happens to be an account named TrustedInstaller, you should not attempt to take control. TrustedInstaller is an integrated account that sets up, modifies and deletes Windows components and updates. Renaming and deleting this folder can make your computer useless, so unless you are an advanced user with the required technical skills, don’t mess with TrustedInstaller.

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4. If TrustedInstaller is not in charge of the folder you want to delete, you can proceed. To change the owner in Windows Vista or 7, click the Owner tab and click Edit. In Windows 8.1, enter the username you want to use to take ownership of the folder. Click Check Names and then OK.
5. You will be returned to the Advanced Security Settings screen, but you will see that the owner has been changed and a checkbox called Replace owner on subcontainers and objects will appear under it.

6. Check that box to ensure that you have control over the parent folder and all its content. Then click Apply.
7. Windows Security will display a window telling that you need to reopen the properties before you can view or change permissions. To do this, click OK and then close all the windows. Only leave open the one that shows the folder you want to access.

8. Now you will need to get full control of the folder. In order to do this, right click the folder again, select Properties, go back to the Security tab and then click Advanced.
9. In the Advanced Security Settings window, choose the user you want to enable in the list that appears in the Permissions tab. The little box towards the bottom of the window that says Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object, should be checked.

10. Click Edit. Next, you will see a window called Permission Entry. There you can tick the Full control box and click OK. Keep clicking OK until all the permissions and properties windows have been closed. You may come across a message letting you know that all explicitly defined permissions on all subfolders will be replaced by the permissions you defined at this top level folder. Click Yes.
11. You can now delete the folder without having to put up with any annoying messages saying you don’t have the necessary permissions.

The Alternative: Unlocker
If the above method doesn’t fix the problem, you can try Unlocker, a free tool created by French programmer Cedrick Collomb. Unlocker allows you to bypass Windows restrictions in order to delete or access files. Unlocker works by terminating the processes that are using a determined file, or by forcing these processes to stop using the file, allowing you to safely modify or delete the file. Unlocker works for Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, Windows 7 and 8.

Unlocker is a convenient solution that can help you when you get an Access Denied message, or when the system tells you that the folder or file cannot be deleted because it is open by another program. The software is very easy to use as all you need to do is to right click the folder or file that you want to delete and select Unlocker. A window displaying a list of lockers will appear and you can click Unlock All. After that, you will be able to delete the folder or file. You can get Unlocker for free from www.emptyloop.com/unlocker, but if you want to encourage the tool’s improvement, you can show your support with a donation.

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