Windows is the most popular desktop operating system by people’s choice, and for very good reasons. It’s speedy (most of the time), reliable (again, most of the time) and very user-friendly. But sometimes, it can be crappy and frustrating to use, especially when it comes to some delicate stuff that requires some administrative privileges and system’s permission. If you need to delete some junk files from a sensitive directory within the C drive, it starts to behave like an indecisive teen who can’t pick a dress from prom. It will ask you for administrative permission first, only to give you a “you need permission to perform this action” error message later.

So how do we get around this annoyance, you ask? Well, I’ve got the solution. Whether you are trying to get into a folder or trying to delete one that you don’t need anymore, here are some ways by which you can fix you need permission to perform this action prompt. Let’s begin.

6 Ways to Fix You Need Permission to Perform This Action

Use the command prompt

What I mean to say here is that, give full privileges to all the existing users. To do that, follow these simple steps:

  1. Search for ‘cmd’ on the windows search bar.
  2. Right-click on the search result for command prompt and select ‘Run as administrator.’
  3. When the command window opens up, type the following command in it: net user administrator /active:yes and hit enter.
  4. Restart your PC.
Command Prompt
Command Prompt

The above command should have changed the user privileges to that of an administrator. After the computer has restarted, try to do the same thing that you did before you got that ‘you need permission to perform this action’ message. It should work now without any permission issues.

Manage the file permissions

If that method did not work, you could try to change the present user access controls on the file. Here is how to get it done:

  • Right-click on the file that you are targeting, and click on properties.
  • Enter the security tab.
Security Tab
Security Tab
  • Hit the advanced button on the bottom right corner of that tab.
  • Click on the button that says ‘Edit’ and go to the ‘Other users and groups’ option.
  • In the text field, type your account name or just type Administrators. Then, hit the check names button.
  • On the tab that says ”owner’, tick the Replace owner on subcontainers and objects option and hit OK.
  • Click on your account from the list on the security tab. Click on the ‘edit’ button.
  • Tick the box under the allow tab that says full control. Then, click OK.

Doing this will allow you full control over that file and will let you delete or modify it without the annoying ‘you need permission to perform this action’ message. Try to do what you were trying to do again. See if this change of authority made any difference.

Change ownership using cmd

If the ownership change in out above method did not work, try doing that using the command prompt. Here is what you should do:

  • Launch the cmd by searching in the Windows search tab, or by pressing Win+X and clicking on Command Prompt (Admin).
  • When the command window opens, type this line and hit the Enter key: takeown /f <path> /r /d y
  • The above command helps you to take the complete ownership of the target file. Once that is executed, type this command as well. icacls <path_to_the_folder> /grant administrators:F /T and hit Enter.
  • The above command would give the full ownership to the Admin groups if it were not available earlier.

This method is my preferred one, as it is fast and only takes a few one-line commands to get full access to that path. Copy paste those commands and retry the same thing that you did earlier, but got the ‘You Need Permission to Perform This Action’ alert.

Sometimes, the commands entered through the prompt will not be saved if your Windows system is old. Always apply essential windows updates that are released and reboot your computer after you do any changes through the prompt, for good measure. A fresh reboot pretty much always sets many things straight.

Change the permission of the entire directory

This is not entirely recommended, but you can change the directory’s permission as a whole, recursively. If you change the access rights for a directory, then all the usage rights for the files within it will change irrespective of whether you want then changed or not. But if you decide to change the directories permission anyway, you can do that by right-clicking on the directory and selecting on the properties from the context menu.

  1. Under security tab, go to Group and usernames and click on the administrator option.
  2. Now, as usual, you will have to click on the edit button to change the permissions given to the directory by default.
  3. After that, you can click on the advanced button below the permissions window.
  4. And click on the change button next to the option in the advanced permissions window.
  5. When a new window opens of pumping into select whether the user or a group or click on the advanced option once again which is present on the bottom left corner of the Window.
  6. From the advanced settings, you need to click on the button that says find now.

A bunch of names and the folders are stored. You can see them in the box that says search results. Select the result that says everyone and selects the ok button.

No, you need to head over to the admissions tab and click on the add button below. Next, you need to click on the link with search select a principal. There you have to perform the same steps by clicking on the advanced button and selecting everyone from the find now button.

Now you can send type to allow and then check the box for full control option. After you are done, click on the ok button to save the changes you have made. Now you should be able to delete or modify the file it is designated location without any Access denied error. Hope this might solve You Need Permission to Perform This Action problem.

Registry Hack using InstallTakeOwnership.reg file

Now, this might come as a surprise to you, but Windows is not exactly as robust of an operating system as you think it is. What I mean to say is that there is stress office operating system are pretty easy to modify. So in this method, we will see how to use the registry to give yourself the rightful authority over a particular file with the help of a third party tool.

Registry Hack using InstallTakeOwnership.reg file
Registry Hack using InstallTakeOwnership.reg file
  1. To do this cover your first after download a Zip file to your Windows computer. Assuming that you are the administrator of the computer which you are using, download the zip from here.
  2. Upon extraction, you will find that the zip file which you downloaded contains two registry files with a .reg extension.
  3. Double click and open the file which says InstallTakeOwnership.reg to install the registry hack.

What additional registry file Window does is that it will add a new context Menu option in the right-click menu of your computer which will be labeled as taking ownership. So now, it becomes super easy to get access to any of the file that you want to open or modify without having to change the permission of the entire directory, as I mentioned earlier.

Are you wondering why I did not mention this option before on the list? It is because this method may not always work on all systems at all times! There is always a catch, isn’t there? But it only takes a little time to realize that, so you might as well give this one a shot.

Now, all you need to do is head over to the same file which you try to ask earlier and right click on it and select take ownership from the context menu. This should hopefully fix the message which says “you need permission to perform this action”.

So now, maybe you are done with this take ownership thing, and you want to remove it from the context menu. You can do that easily as well without you an opening the registry editor, simply by double-clicking on the second file in the same Zip that you downloaded, named something like RemoveTakeOwnership.reg. It’s like the virus and the cure in the same package!

Try booting into Safe Mode

Sometimes, the other software which is installed on your Windows operating system is the culprit behind this error message. Is only one easy way to figure it out. You need to boot your system into safe mode.

In case you don’t know what a safe mode is it is a mode of operation where only the necessary and beaten operating system specific files and processes will be running in the background without any third party programs in memory.

Reboot in Safe Mode
Reboot in Safe Mode

If this issue regarding the file permission being unavailable is being caused by some third party app for service cutting into safe mode and retrying the same modification that you did will clarify whether or not the issue is caused by a third-party software.

One very simple way to boot into safe mode on your Windows system is by holding down the shift key while simultaneously selecting the restart option in the shutdown menu (or the power menu) of your system. Once the computer reboots, a blue screen with options is visible. Don’t worry, this is not a blue screen of death, but more like a blue screen of life! Do I need to stop with these nerd jokes, eh?

You have registered on the screen; you need to click the troubleshoot option and then select the advanced options from the next screen. After that, you need to select the start-up settings and then press the restart button. Now, your Windows system will reboot. After which, you need to press the F4 key to enable the secure boot mode. This will hopefully fix “You Need Permission to Perform This Action” issue that you were facing earlier.


So there you have it. These are some of the most effective methods by which you can fix “You Need Permission to Perform This Action” error message on your Windows computer. Among all these, I highly recommend the registry hack method which adds an option to the right-click context menu. If you don’t get success in one of the methods keep trying with the other ones until you get results. Best of luck!

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Avatar for Kaushal Malkan
You can always find me playing the piano or playing FIFA when I'm not binge-watching TV Series with pizzas. Fountainhead of TechWhoop. Life motto: The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.