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Windows Vista Solutions

Destination Folder Access Denied

You need permission to perform this...


Typically you tried to delete, rename or move a file or folder that you do not have permissions to change, perhaps even if you have Administrator Privileges.

  Sample Dialog  
Destination Folder Access Denied screen shot
Dialog may appear differently depending on Vista style options and where it occurs.
  Key Facts  
Full Title
  Destination Folder Access Denied 

Body Text
  You need permission to perform this action

Date Created: date
Size: size  

Typical location

Issued By

  Windows Vista

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  Microsoft Corporation    
  Button Explanation  
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  This only works if you've fixed the issue while the dialog was left on-screen.  
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  Close the dialog - no actions taken.  
  Solutions and Fixes  

If you want to perform an action on a file or folder you don't have access to, you have to change the permissions. You can change permissions for one file, or enable access to all the files under a folder (and any sub-folders as well). Unfortunately, you have to go through a lot of hoops in an unnecessarily complex set of dialogs to do this. This is especially annoying if you need to edit a configuration file or delete a malware or virus file!

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Bypass OS Limitations
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Access your files from a boot CD that allows you full access to your files. For example, Avanquest's System Commander allows you to boot from its CD, and view the disks, including NFTS partitions. In the partition explorer, you can delete and copy files regardless of permissions and administrative requirements.
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 27-Jan-2009
Change Permissions
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In this example, we want to delete the keylogger file that resides in the system32 directory (we wish malware was so easily identified). As with most files in this directory, the permissions deny us access to the file so we can't delete it even with administrative privileges.

To change permissions or a file or folder perform the following steps:

  1. In Explorer, right-click on the folder name or file name and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Security Tab.
  3. In the Groups or user names box, select the group that fits. For example Administrators.
    solution1 screen
  4. Click on the Advanced button.
  5. Select the Group or Users who you wish to change the permissions. You may need to be an Administrator to make these changes.
    solution 2 screen
  6. Click on Edit button.
  7. Another almost identical screen appears with a few additional options (not shown). Click the Edit button again. Now you can actually make the changes necessary!
    solution 3 screen
  8. In the lower Permissions for SYSTEM box, change the permissions. For example, to provide full control, make sure a checkmark appears in the Allow column for Full Control and remove checkmarks in the Deny column if present.
  9. With the permissions set correctly, click on Ok .
  10. Within some folders (but not all) you'll get a warning message. Be sure to click Yes or your changes will be discarded!
    solutions 4 screen
  11. Click Ok in each the remaining dialogs.

You should now have full access to delete, rename, move, copy over or any other action on the selected file or folder.

If you are on a corporate network, it is possible for the network administrator will have set up the system to prevent you from accessing key folders or files. If you are blocked by any of the steps above, you will have to contact the network administrator to give you permission to access the desired folders or files.

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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 10-Oct-2008
Fix Vista Bug
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If you are moving a folder to a mount-point folder on the same disk, there is a bug on older Vista versions. See the Microsoft Knowledgebase article on Destination Folder Access Denied for more details and a hotfix.
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  FaultWire Staff
Posted: 27-Jan-2009
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Last update: 02-Jan-2011 9:53 am