Access Denied Error or File/Folder Permission Issues on an External Drive

Access Denied Error or File/Folder Permission Issues on an External Drive



How to troubleshoot if you see "Access Denied" or "Not accessible" errors when trying to open a drive or a folder within the drive.

When connecting an external drive to a Windows 7, Vista, XP, or 2000 Pro computer, sometimes the permissions/privileges will need to be assigned. Since the ownership of the files belong to a different user account, you may see "Access Denied" or "Not accessible" errors when trying to open the drive or a folder within the drive.

To change the ownership with Windows 7/Vista to the current user, please see here and here.

To change the ownership with XP Professional to the current user, follow the steps below. These instructions are also relevant for Windows Vista.

(Click here for instructions in XP Home.)

  1. Check My Computer > Tools > Folder Options > View, and uncheck "Use Simple File Sharing".
    (Windows Vista users may skip this step, as it is the default mode for Vista Home and Ultimate.)


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  2. Right-click the file/folder you are trying to access, go to Properties.
  3. Go to Security > Advanced > Owner and highlight the user account on your machine that you would like to take ownership of these files/folders.
    Be sure to check the box below, "Replace owner on subcontainers and folders" so all files within the folder will inherit the changes (only if you are changing the permissions on a folder).
  4. At the message, "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", click on Yes.
    (Windows Vista users will need to press the Edit button to change settings.)

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To change the ownership with Windows XP HOME to the current user:

  1. You must boot into Safe Mode.
  2. Right-click the file/folder you are trying to access, go to Properties.
  3. Go to Security > Advanced > Owner and highlight the user account on your machine that you would like to take ownership of these files/folders.
    Be sure to check the box below, "Replace owner on subcontainers and folders" so all files within the folder will inherit the changes (only if you are changing the permissions on a folder).
  4. At the message, "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", click on Yes.


Please also see the following Microsoft Support articles:

If the permissions cannot be changed, please check to see if the files have been encrypted with the Windows encryption feature. The files will have a green font rather than the normal black font:

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The drive must be connected back to the original computer to recover these files. The files have not been encrypted with Seagate software. Please see these Microsoft KB articles for more information:

How to remove file or folder encryption in Windows XP

Best practices for the Encrypting File System

Other issues could include a corrupted partition.

Please see the following links in that case:

  1. File Recovery for Windows - use this for data recovery needs before reformatting a corrupted drive or partition
  2. Tips on how to Prevent File Corruption on External Hard Drives
  3. More on corrupted partitions
  4. On attempting to change the drive letter
  5. On reformatting the drive
    This will erase the data on the drive.
  6. Run a diagnostic on the drive to find out whether the drive is failing. You may use either the diagnostic that comes in the Maxtor OneTouch Manager or FreeAgent software (Test My Drive), or SeaTools for Windows.

A final issue could be corruption of the file structure.

  • Run checkdisk on the drive in order to attempt to repair the corruption.
  • Attempt the steps above for the problem of the corrupted partition.

 

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