PC Troubleshooting, Cannot Copy File: Access Denied

“Cannot Copy (Filename): Access Denied. Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that file is not currently in use.” Check the file if it is open and currently in use. If not, and the problem still appears, this might be one of the solution.

One of my clients contacted me to upgrade her hard disk. She instructed me to copy and transfer all the important files (videos, photos, documents etc) from the old one to the new while she was away for one week vacation. So I brought her cpu to my home and installed a new Windows XP operating system in the new hard disk she bought. I set the old hard disk to slave. When I tried to copy her picture files, a message appeared:

Cannot Copy (Filename): Access Denied

Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected

And that file is not currently in use

Usually, this message appear if the file you are copying is in use by another software like document files opened by Microsoft Word, photo files being edited in Adobe Photoshop and so on and so forth. But if you cannot copy and even view files because it is not accessible or access denied, even though it is not open or not currently in use then the main issue here is Ownership.

What is Ownership?

Every object (files, folder, shared folder, printer or active directory) in Windows has an owner. It includes name, location and size and even date when it is created.  This owner can set conditions (or should we say permissions) on how and to whom the object will be viewed and put into use. In our problem, the owner of the files I want to transfer is my client, which the old hard disk has an installed windows supplied, restricted and protected by a password. So no matter what effort you will put to view, copy and/or transfer files you will only receive one message: ACCESS DENIED.

Taking Ownership

Here are the simple step-by-step procedures on how to take ownership provided that you have the administrator access in a new computer.

  1. Right click on the Start button and left click on Explore.   
  2. At the Start Menu, left click on Tools and choose Folder Options.
  3. Left click the View tab and below the Advanced Settings list, uncheck the “Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended)”. This will reveal the Security Tab in the Properties of each object.
  4. Now right click the object you want to take ownership, you can even select numerous objects by holding the left click and releasing it. Right clicking on selected objects will make it easier for you especially when you want to copy numerous files. Choose Properties.
  5. Choose the Security tab, a message will appear just click OK.
  6. Click Advanced button.
  7. Click Owner tab.
  8. Choose Administrator owner (or your account name) and click Apply then OK.
  9. You could select the
  10. Click OK again then you will exit Properties.
  11. Right click Properties again to the object/objects you have selected.
  12. Click the Security tab, by this time you could now see group or user names.
  13. Click Add button.
  14. Click Advanced and you will prompt the Select Users or Groups Window.
  15. Click Find Now button.
  16. Choose name (RDN) Everyone and click OK.
  17. Click OK again.

Now you could view, transfer, copy and edit files and folders.

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