How to manually reset folder and file permissions in Windows Explorer

As I was typing out an earlier blog entry about resolving access denied (0x80070005) errors that can happen while installing the .NET Framework, I was intending to link to a post that listed the steps you can take to reset permissions (ACLs) for folders, files and registry keys. Then as I searched through my previous blog posts I couldn't actually find a post where I listed those steps, so I figured I should list them as a standalone post.

Resetting folder/file permissions

  1. Launch an instance of Windows Explorer
  2. Navigate to the parent of the folder that you want to reset permissions for
  3. Right-click on the folder and choose Sharing and Security...
  4. Click on the Security tab
  5. Click the Advanced button
  6. Set the permissions you want - typically you will want to allow Administrators, System, and Creator Owner to have full control
  7. Check the box labeled Replace permission entries on all child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects
  8. Click OK
  9. Click Yes in the dialog box that appears asking if you are sure
  10. Wait while Windows recursively applies the specified permissions to all sub-folders and files

Also note that there is a tool named subinacl.exe that can be used to automate the process of resetting folder, file and registry permissions so that you don't have to use the set of steps listed above.