How To Quickie: Vista Permissions

If you've ever tried to tinker with something in Vista and received a "you need permission to perform this action" warning, you know how frustrating it can be. Vista's new found "security" locks down a lot of things even if your user account has administrative privileges. I ran into a problem like this when installing Adobe Acrobat Reader 8 where the installer didn't have the permissions to run it's own exe file, or something like that.

Vista Warning

For this example, I'll be giving my user account full read/write permissions for a random file. Again, this is just an example and I have no idea why you would ever need full read/write permissions for such a random file. The point is to show you how to overcome a "you need permission to perform this action" situation if you ever find yourself in it. Bookmark the page as you might need it down the road.

  1. Right-click the file and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Security tab.
  3. Click Advanced in the lower right.
  4. In the Advanced Security Settings window that pops up, click on the Owner tab.
  5. Click Edit.
  6. Click Other users or groups.
  7. Click Advanced in the lower left corner.
  8. Click Find Now.
  9. Scroll through the results and double-click on your current user account.
  10. Click OK to all of the remaining windows except the first Properties window.
  11. Select your user account from the list up top and click Edit.
  12. Select your user account from the list up top again and then in the pane below, check Full control under Allow, or as much control as you need.
  13. You'll get a security warning, click Yes.
  14. On some files that are essential to Windows, you'll get a "Unable to save permission changes... access is denied" warning and there's nothing that you can do about it to the best of my knowledge.
  15. Reconsider why you're using Windows.

That's generally how the process goes. You don't want to be doing this too often though. Should you ever get a virus in Vista, the files thought to have been protected, which you gave your account full permissions for, could easily be destroyed - not good if that's a critical system file. This probably also works in XP but I haven't used XP in a while. Vista is just a lot more protective about things so you probably never had this type of situation in Vista, or at least I haven't.