[Guide] How to Restore “TrustedInstaller” as Default Owner of a File, Folder or Registry Key in Windows?

We all customization lovers know that we need to take ownership of a system file before replacing or modifying the file in Windows. Almost all Windows customization stuff require modification of system files for example, you need to edit Explorer.exe file to customize Start ORB in Windows 7, you need to edit authui.dll file to change login screen, etc.

By default, a built-in system account "TrustedInstaller" has ownership and full control of all system files in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and later OS, so you need to take ownership and assign full permission to yourself before modifying or replacing the system file.

Taking ownership of a file or folder is very easy. We have provided a ready-made registry script which automatically adds a new option "Take Ownership" in file and folder context menu (right-click menu). So you just need to right-click on a file or folder and select "Take Ownership" option and it automatically makes you the owner of that file/folder and assigns you full permission on that file/folder.

How to Add "Take Ownership" Option to File or Folder Context Menu in Windows

We have also posted a detailed and easy to understand guide which teaches you how to take ownership of a file or folder manually in Windows:

[Guide] How to Take Ownership (Permission) of a File or Folder Manually in Windows?

Now the question comes! Once you have taken ownership of a file and now you want to restore "TrustedInstaller" as default owner of that file, how will you do that? How will you change the owner of a file back to "TrustedInstaller"?

We never realized that someone might need to restore ownership of a file to "TrustedInstaller" until we received following comment from an AskVG reader "KS":

How do I give permissions back to TrustedInstaller, when I changed it, TrustedInstaller wasn't in the list of possible owners anymore??

That was really an interesting point. Once you take ownership of a file or folder in Windows, if you go back to its Properties and try to change the owner back to "TrustedInstaller", you'll be surprised to see that "TrustedInstaller" is no longer present in the users list.

So how to bring back the built-in system user "TrustedInstaller" and set it as default owner of a file or folder? Don't worry! Here is the solution.

Today in this tutorial, we'll tell you how to restore "TrustedInstaller" as default owner of a file or folder in Windows if you changed its owner to yourself?

So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial:

NOTE: The same method will apply to restore "TrustedInstaller" as owner of registry keys in Registry Editor.

1. Go to the folder which contains the file or folder for which you want to restore ownership to "TrustedInstaller". Right-click on the file or folder and select Properties.

2. It'll open its Properties window. Now go to "Security" tab and click on Advanced button.


3. It'll open a new window.

For Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7:

Go to "Owner" tab and you'll see that the owner would be set to your username and "TrustedInstaller" would not be present in the list as we mentioned above.

We'll add it manually. Click on "Edit" button:


It'll open another window. Click on "Other users or groups" button.


For Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10 and later:

Click on "Change" button present near your user account name in advanced security window.


4. Now type NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller in "Enter the object name to select" text box and click on OK button as shown in following screenshot:


5. It'll immediately add "TrustedInstaller" to the users list. Click on Apply button.


6. Windows will show a message box, click on OK button to close it. Again click on OK button in all opened windows and you have successfully restored "TrustedInstaller" as default owner of the file or folder.

You can check and confirm the owner by opening the file or folder Properties and you'll see that "TrustedInstaller" has become the owner of that file or folder again.

Also Check:

Add "Restore Ownership to TrustedInstaller" Option in Files / Folders Context Menu

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows Vista

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  • Nicd guide VG....thnx for this..,....:)

  • Nice, most of us wont need it but some will

  • Not a good trick for me

  • Not a good trick for me

  • vishal bro.
    How to Restore “TrustedInstaller” as Default Owner of a File or Folder via command prompt ?


    Restore Ownership of system file or folder via command prompt ?

    I'm waiting for ur reply


  • VG

    ^^ I dont think its possible. If I come across any working command, will let you know.

  • hi
    7 Copy Delete Animation Modder
    software se copy paste animation mod kiya jata hai
    jis se shell32.dll ki ownership remove ho jata hai

    after next restart
    shell32.dll ki ownership restore ho jati hai
    right click karne pe File Access Denied

    so i asked How to possible ?

  • For the descendants the command to restore TrustedInstaller ownership should be this:

    icacls "Full path to file or folder" /setowner "NT Service\TrustedInstaller" /T /C

  • Hi VG
    Restoring "TrustedInstaller" as default owner of the file or folder is fine. I think what is more important is restoring the rights as well that make the finally non-renamable as earlier so that viruses can't mess up with it.

    How do we do that ?

  • VG

    ^^ You'll need to note the default permissions before changing them so that you can restore them in future.

  • Important note: In the 'Select User or Group' dialog box, click the 'Object Types' button first and select all of the possible object types (checkboxes). Then enter 'NT Service\TrustedInstaller'. If you haven't allowed a search for all object types, it may come back and say that TrustedInstaller doesn't exist.

  • I ran your restore ownership script but it doesn't seem to work. The Security window does not list TrustedInstaller just the user names of System, Administrators, and Users with full control, etc.

    However, the Owner window shows the Current owner as TrustedInstaller with the Permission entries of System and Administrators with full conrol. I tried the manual method but it did not make any changes.

    How do I get TrustedInstaller back into the Security window with full control. Your assistance would be appreciated.

    By the way, It is a Windows 7 system.

  • Dolores,
    To set permissions to full run:
    icacls "full path to file or folder" /grant "NT SERVICE\ TrustedInstaller":F

  • WOw...Thnx!

  • Good Article..
    It helps.

  • Excellent tutorial, I'm glad I found it, you saved me a whole lot of "Brain Squeeze"
    Thank you!

  • hey it's yaman here, i use a trick to denied the accessing of a drive. But after some time when i m accessing it again, some folders are open normally but some folder who have subfolders and files they still have same problem. how can i recover all folders and subfolders..?

  • Please could any one let me know the silent command to restore the owner ship to "Trusted installer" as a default owner. steps i performed is :

    1- TAKEOWN /R /F "C:\Program files" (SUCCESS & now i could see owner is SYSTEM)
    2 - cacls "c:\Program files" /T /E /G ProgFiles:W (ProgFiles is the local group) - SUCCESS

    Now here i tried below to restore the ownership:
    icacls "C:\Program files" /setowner "NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller" /t /c
    ( It gave me message saying , successfully processed 897 files, failed processing 1134 files. (and still i could see SYSTEM as owner and not Trusted installed). PLEASE HELP ME

  • This does not work Exactly the same way in Windows 8.1.
    but this article was instrumental in helping me figure it out

    Thanks Vishal.

  • Thank you. I tried type only TrustedInstaller, but NT SERVICE\ was a good idea.

  • Hi please help... I'm so clueless whn it comes 2 computers. So I tried accessing trusted installer thinking it was some sort of application, I selected the Open with tab nd then selected Windows media centre... So now everything I open takes me 2 windows media centre nd all the microsoft office programs can't open... I don't know what to do, plz help me revert the settings, I seriously need microsoft word


  • VG

    ^^ Try following:


  • Hi
    I clicked on properties, Security, Advanzed, ...
    there is no Owner tab,
    only Permissions, Auditing and Effective Permissions
    can anyone help me?

  • VG

    ^^ Try following:


  • I'm hoping you can advise me here.

    I'm on Windows 8.1. I was renaming a couple files inside a subfolder of "Program Files (x86)" and I kept being told I needed Administrator permissions. (The files belonged to the owner "TrustedInstaller.") It wasn't really a *big* hassle, but after clicking the "Continue" button a few times, I suddenly got an impetuous idea:

    "I should just take ownership of the whole 'Program Files (x86)' folder, and all its subfolders!"

    Without thinking it through, or doing any Google research, I decided to go for it. 30 seconds later, I was right-clicking on "Program Files (x86)", and about a minute after that, my "Dave" user account was now the owner of everything inside that folder.

    Suddenly, I wondered if I had done something really stupid -- if I was now making it easier for viruses, or harder for future Windows updates, installations, etc.

    Did I screw up? Should I fix it, right now, while I have the chance? AND: Is the correct fix to give TrustedInstaller ownership of "Program Files (x86)" and everything in it?

    Now that "Dave" is the owner of that entire folder, I can't know for sure that TrustedInstaller was previously the owner of all those subfolders and files.

    It's worth mentioning that I stopped before actually changing any permissions. So my actions should be pretty fixable -- that is, assuming that the correct answer is that TrustedInstaller should be the owner for everything inside Program Files (x86).

    Should I change ownership back? Is there anything else I should do (instead)?


  • VG

    ^^ Every folder has different owner in Program Files folder. Some folders have TrustedInstaller as owner and some folders have Administrators or SYSTEM as their owner. So its difficult to say which folder has which owner.

  • Thanks for the quick reply. That's kind of what I figured.

    That said...

    1. Did I let myself in for any major trouble, taking ownership of all those files & folders?

    2. It seems that I only have two basic options: Retain my ownership of the whole "Program Files (x86)" and hand complete ownership over to TrustedInstaller. Any suggestion for which I should do?


  • VG

    ^^ I'll advise you to repair Windows using setup disc, it might restore the ownership to default owners.

  • Just to doublecheck what you mean by "repair," do you mean following the steps at this URL:


    If I'm reading that page correctly, I can see where it would "repair" certain things (I guess, hopefully, the permissions on the "Program Files" folder) without destroying too much in the process. Like, mostly it would just undo a few windows updates.

    Do I have all this correct?

    Thanks again.

  • VG

    ^^ Yes. It should work.

  • One final question -- not just for my sake, but for the sake of anyone who later does the same thing I did -- transferring ownership for all of "Program Files (x86)" to themselves -- and now they're considering trying to undo that change...

    Is the effort "worth it?" Is it worth taking a couple hours to repair the Windows 8 installation right now, even though nothing is going visibly wrong?

    Thanks again for all the input.

  • VG

    ^^ If I was in your place, I would have left it intact. It should not cause any problem. If you can afford a repair, you should go ahead.

  • Are there really any repercussions in making yourself the owner of all the files?

    Other than giving someone the access they don't need when they don't know what they are doing?

    I mean, if I own it all, I've just taken over what I bought, right?

  • Nice Tutorial, Thanks.

  • You guys are frigging awesome, because i needed full control to modify files but once i did my computer started going basically nuts, so i read this and was able to save my computer

  • I changed permissions.
    Great. Now windows will not boot up and I'm going to have to reinstall my os.
    How do I get back to default now that I can't get back into the computer?

  • VG

    ^^ It might be possible that you changed a folder's permission to TrustedInstaller but it was required user access to properly run Windows and load Desktop.

    You can repair Windows using setup disc to fix the issue.

  • Thank you. Very useful when you work with DISM GUI and wim files

  • Thanks Bro

  • Hello guys!
    I encountered similar problem a moment ago on Windows 10, I couldn't do much, nor could my apps work as none had writing permissions, so without thinking (as I always do) I simply right clicked C:\ and gave full permissions to myself, forgetting about windows folder.
    Thing is, Windows 10 does not have "Owner" tab.
    What you have to do is simply right click folder you want to "give back" to Trusted Installer (in my case C:\Windows, then go to "Security" tab, then click "Advanced" button.

    New windows will appear. Click change in top-left corner, and simply enter:
    "NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller" (without "", of course :))

    Click check names and text you entered should be replaced with underlined "TrustedInstaller" text. This way you'll know you've done everything right.
    Confirm everything, it should take a couple of seconds until all permissions have been given back and that's it! Enjoy!

  • By the way, text you enter goes in a bottom textbox of course, sorry for not pointing that out!

  • It didn't work for me
    i desperatly need the space so i need to delete some stuff

  • VG can you please tell me how to restore permissions for Dhcp?
    In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\TCPIP6 I have Dhcp listed as a group or username but I deleted the key then resored it but I cant restore the Dhcp group.

    How can I do that?

  • OK scratch that, I followed your lead and used NT SERVICE\Dhcp and it worked.

  • Thanks for this. Helped restore Trusted Installer as owner on my Win 10 Home after multiple 10016 log errors.

  • i am facing a problem that i am having a owner s-1-5-21-42768449-2270739434-3444253483-1000. after changing owner i still cant uncheck the "uncrypt contents to save data" option please help as i cant acess all my pictures that i have taken this year. these are very imporant pictures

  • VG

    ^^ Did you try to take its ownership using following?


  • This procedure does not work in Windows 10 as there is no OWNER tab in the advanced section. How do you restore TrustedInstaller in the Windows 10 registry?

  • VG

    ^^ Please check the instructions again. I have added the extra step for Windows 8 and later OS.

  • Thank you! This helped me a lot.

  • Very clear answer. Thanks so much. I've been here and there trying to figure it out and your was the clearest! You're a good patient teacher! :)

  • In response to Ravi's request for a command line option:
    icacls "file" /setowner "NT Service\\TrustedInstaller" /T /C

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