Fix Access Denied Error Message

The following error message may be displayed on your Windows XP Professional computer when you attempt to open or access a folder, but are unable to do so:

Folder is not accessible. Access is denied.

Cause of the Error

This problem occurs when all of the following conditions are true:

  • You have recently installed or upgraded your system to Windows XP.
  • The folder you are trying to access was created on an NTFS file system volume that was created by the previous Windows operating system, before Windows XP was installed.

The access denied error message, in this case, may occur even if you provide the correct user name and password information. This happens because the security ID of the owner of the folder in the previous operating system changes when you install Windows XP Professional.

Some of the cases in which you may not be able to access a folder after installing Windows XP Professional are:

  • The volume of the actual or target My Documents folder is changed to another volume before the installation.
  • Primary partition is formatted during the installation.

Resolution Method

To resolve the access denied error message, perform the following steps to first Simple File Sharing, and then take ownership of the folder generating the error:

  1. Open the My Computer window.
  2. Display the Tools menu, select Folder Options.
  3. On the View tab, clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box in the Advanced Settings section and then click OK.
  4. Right-click the folder that is generating the error, and then select Properties.
  5. On the Security tab, click the Advanced button and then display the Owner tab.
  6. Select your user name in the Name list and then select Replace owner on subcontainers and objects check box.
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. The following error message may be displayed:

    You do not have permission to read the contents of directory Folder_Name. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control? All permissions will be replaced if you press Yes.

  9. Click Yes and then click OK.

The permissions and security settings will now be reapplied to the selected folder and its contents.

The following error message may be displayed on your Windows 2003 or Windows 2000 server computer when you try to access a file that is located on an NTFS system volume:

Access is denied.

The error may occur even if you have the required NTFS permissions to access the file.

Cause of the Error

This error occurs when you are trying to access a file that has been encrypted by another user.

You can find out whether the file is encrypted by performing the following steps:

  1. Open Windows Explorer, and then on the View menu, select Details.
  2. Display the View menu again and then select Choose Columns.
  3. In the Choose Details dialog box, select the Attributes check box.
  4. If the Attributes column displays E for the file you are trying to access it implies that the file is encrypted.

Resolution Method

To resolve this issue, the encrypted file will have to be decrypted by the same user who encrypted it. You may also use a Recovery agent that is designated to decrypt the file.