By Ivy / Last update November 9, 2022

How do I reset NTFS permissions?

“Hello! We had an incident on the computer and some NTFS permissions from a folder structure even volume have been removed. What should I do to reset NTFS file permission in our Windows 7? Is the way difficult or easy because we don’t have much experience on computer?
Besides, I’m wondering if any of GUI tool could do a backup for all vital data, so that we could restore NTFS permissions as simple as restore a backup image when necessary. Maybe I can schedule a daily backup to keep it up to date. Any advice would be appreciated.”

In fact, many users have this doubt, if you are one of them, please continue to see below, learn more about NTFS permission and how to reset NTFS permission. You will learn the 5 effective ways in the following.

What does NTFS permission in Windows do?

In Windows networks, you can set sharing permissions for drives and folders. NTFS permissions, as its name implies, are available to drives formatted with NTFS, which affects local users as well as network users. To be specific, you can only access files or folders with permissions, regardless of where the user is connecting.

And the files in NTFS drives have a Security attribute compared to those in FAT32 formatted drives. You can access it with this approach: open a file in the NTFS partition > right-click it and select Properties > General > Advance. You could see two options there: File attributes and Compress or Encrypt attributes.

Advanced Attributes

Why restore NTFS permission? 

By default, almost all system files, system folders, and even registry keys are owned by a special user account called "RrustedInstaller", and other users only have read permission. And it will check the permissions when you access specific files or folders, if you don't have the permission, it will not allow you to access them. So you need to restore NTFS permission to gain it.

Also, there is a possibility that you lose permission to access specific files or folders, in this case, you can only restore NTFS permission to get it. 

How to reset NTFS permissions in Windows 10 

To Reset NTFS permissions, the most common way is using ICACLS command line. It's the replacement for cacls (Change Access Control Lists), and allows you to define who and how users access filesystem objects. Besides, you still have the ability to backup and restore NTFS permission and reset its to default permission or inherit from the parent folders if the NTFS permissions mess.

And you can also use the Windows registry and third-party backup software to help you out. Please read them carefully and select one. 

Way 1: Reset NTFS security permissions with ICACLS command line

1. Open Command Prompt and run as administrator and navigate through the tree of folders you need to fix.

2. Type the following command and press Enter to take ownership of a tree of folders before resetting. If not, you will receive the "access is denied" error.

 takeown /R /F *.

3. Click Yes if you are asked to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you full control.

4. Type the following command and press Enter. It will reset the permissions of all the folders, files, and subfolders, and remove any other ACLs.

ICACLS * /T /Q /C /RESET

Tips:

  • The /T switch is to get subfolder permissions too.
  • The /C switch is to suppress success messages.
  • The /C switch is to continue even if errors are encountered.

5. If you just want to reset NTFS permission for specific folders and grant the current user with full access permission, you need to type the following command.

ICACLS * /t /grant: F

Tips: 

  • The F switch is to grant full access permission.
  • For more ICACLS switches, you need to learn in the Microsoft documents.

Way 2: Backup and restore NTFS permissions with ICACLS command line

And you can also backup and restore NTFS permissions with this command line. 

1. Open Command Prompt and run as administrator. 

2. To backup NTFS permissions, use the following command.

 icacls d:data /save ntfsperms.txt /t /c

3. To restore NTFS permissions, use the following command.

icacls d: /restore ntfsperms.txt

Note: You may discover that the target path to save NTFS permissions is different from the path to restore. Don’t worry. It will be recognized as well.

Way 3: Backup and restore NTFS permission with Windows registry

1. To backup NTFS share permissions, go to Registry and navigate to the following key. 

HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesLanmanServerShares

2. Right-click the Share registry key and select Export. You could set a unique name for it, ntfsperms.reg, for example.

3. To restore NTFS share permissions, double-click the ntfsperms.reg and import it back in the registry. 

Way 4: Reset NTFS permission with the Windows registry

1. Open command prompt and run as administrator.

2. To backup the registry key - ntfsperms.reg, type the following command.

reg export HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesLanmanServerShares ntfsperms.reg

3. To restore the registry key - ntfsperms.reg, type the following command.

reg import ntfsperms.reg

Way 5: Restore NTFS permissions from backup with third-party software

Except for ICACLS and Windows Registry, you can also use third-party backup and restore software for help. I strongly recommend you using AOMEI Backupper Professional, as it will backup files and its NTFS together. If you lose permission or something goes wrong, you are able to restore NTFS permission on the computer you back it up.

Before start, you need to download this software and install it. Prepare an external storage or other devices to receive the backup image. 

Download Free TrialWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

(PS: This version only works on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, XP and Vista. For server users, you can choose to use its Server edition.)

1. Run AOMEI Backupper Professional on your Windows machine. Go to the Backup tab and select File Backup. Click Add Files or Add Folders to select the data you want to backup. After that, select a destination path and click Start Backup to backup files with NTFS permissions. 

File Backup

2. To restore NTFS permission, switch to the Restore tab and choose Select Task. Then, you will see all your backups and choose the file backup in the given list and click Next. If it is not listed, click Select Image File to browse manually.

Select Task

Tip: To restore NTFS permissions on the external drive, please connect it to your machine beforehand.

3. Select files or folders with NTFS permission need to restore and click "Next".

Select Folders Files

4. Select where you want to restore your files or folders, either original location or new location

Restore To Original Location

5. Click the Setting icon at the lower left corner, tick "Restore NTFS Permissions" and hit "OK". At last, back to the main page and click "Start Restore" to restore files with NTFS permissions. 

Restore Ntfs Permissions

Tip: NTFS permissions can only be restored to NTFS formatted drives on the computer you back it up.

 

Summary

If your files with NTFS permission mess, you can try above methods to reset NTFS permissions to default. To be sure your files are always safe, it's recommended to keep AOMEI Backupper Standard and backup files to external hard drive regularly. So no matter you lose the permission or it's damaged, you can easily get it back.

To protect unlimited PCs & servers within one company, the easiest way is to use the Technician Plus edition to backup files. It allows you to create a portable version of this software and backup files without installing again.