Sometimes you may encounter the problem of not being able to open or access or work with files and folders. The simple message that flashes on your computer screen when you try to do this reads – ‘Access denied’. This can happen for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Folder ownership may have changed
  2. You don’t have the correct permissions
  3. The file can be encrypted
  4. File may be in use
  5. The file may be corrupted
  6. The user profile may be corrupted

In such a case, you may not be able to open, work with, access, modify, save or delete files and folders. These problems are usually caused by permissions issues, corrupted user accounts, or even corrupted files. We have already seen some troubleshooting steps and what to do if you get the Access Denied error when deleting files or folders. This article provides some additional troubleshooting steps. Here’s what you can try to fix the problem and get back to work.

Access denied error when accessing files or folders

1]Run disk error check

Run CheckDisk or check for disk errors in Windows 10/8. Microsoft has redesigned the chkdsk utility – the disk corruption detection and repair tool. In Windows 11/10, Microsoft introduced a file system called ReFS, which does not require offline chkdsk to repair corruptions – as it follows a different resilience model and therefore does not need to run the utility traditional chkdsk.

2]Take ownership of a file or folder

If you upgraded your computer to a different or newer operating system, such as Windows 10, it’s likely that some of your account information changed in the process. If so, you may no longer own some of your files or folders. So take ownership first. If that doesn’t help, you can troubleshoot file and folder permission issues in Windows.

3]The file or folder can be encrypted

The encryption method is the best to provide protection against unauthorized access to files and folders. If you do not have access to a file or folder, the file may be encrypted.

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Try the following steps to verify the same.

Right-click on the file/folder and select the Properties option. Next, tap on the “General” tab and tap on the “Advanced” button.

Uncheck the “Encrypt content to secure data” box. If you find that the box “Encrypt contents to secure data” is checked, you will need the certificate to decrypt the file and open it. You can get it from the person who encrypted the folder.

See this if you see an unexpected error preventing you from renaming the folder message.

Related readings:

  1. Access denied, please log in with administrator privileges and try again
  2. Location is not available, access is denied
  3. Access denied, you are not authorized to access this server.
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