How To Fix ‘You need permission from TrustedInstaller’ Errors in Windows

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Every tried to move, delete or change a file or folder and see the error message ‘You need permission from TrustedInstaller to perform this action’? You would think that as the system owner or administrator, you would have the final say on what files go where and what gets deleted. Unfortunately, Microsoft has other ideas.

In order to protect Windows from accidental damage, Microsoft added a different account called NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller. It owns many Windows core files as you will find out if you ever try to move or delete them. I guess the idea was to protect us from ourselves and stop users accidentally deleting important assets on their computer.

If you want to take full control over your computer and avoid ‘You need permission from TrustedInstaller’ errors in Windows, read on.

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Fix ‘You need permission from TrustedInstaller’ errors in Windows

To stop this error from happening we need to take ownership of the file in question away from TrustedInstaller and assign it to ourselves. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways to do that.

Using CMD

  • Open a Command Prompt as an administrator and type ‘takeown /f “full path of folder or drive” /R /D Y’. So for example, if we wanted to take ownership of the Windows folder, we would type ‘takeown /f “C:\Windows” /R /D Y’.
  • You can do the same for executable files. For example, ‘takeown /f “C:\Windows\regedit.exe’ would take ownership of the regedit executable.

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Using Windows Explorer

If you prefer not to use the command line, you can use Explorer instead.

  1. Navigate to the file or folder you want to control.
  2. Right click and select Properties and then the Security tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button and then Change next to Owner.
  4. Type in your account name into the box and click Check Names. If you spelled it correctly, it should become underlined. You may see a list appear depending on how you have your computer set up, just select your username from the list and click OK.
  5. Click OK twice to return to the Advanced Security Settings window. Put a check in the box where it says ‘Replace owner of subcontainers and objects’. Click OK and then Yes if prompted.

If you often come up against ‘You need permission from TrustedInstaller’ errors in Windows, there are registry scripts on the internet that add ‘Take Ownership’ as a right click context menu. It might be worth your while finding one of those.

While annoying, the theory behind TrustedInstaller is sound. It protects the operating system from accidental damage by users. However, if you’re like me and want to fully control your computer and not just do what Microsoft allows you to do, you will need to get used to working with TrustedInstaller.

Suffice to say, once you take ownership of core files, be careful what you do with them!

Posted by Jamie on December 5, 2016

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