How do I set file permissions in Windows?

Setting File Permissions in Windows

File permissions determine who can access files and folders on a Windows system. A file or folder’s permissions will indicate whether a user has read, write, or execute privileges on that particular file. Each file or folder on a Windows system has an owner and a group associated with it, and each owner and group will have different levels of access to the file or folder in question. This guide will explain how to set file permissions in Windows.

Setting Basic File Permissions in Windows

To set basic file permissions in Windows, right click on the file or folder for which you want to change the permissions. Then, select Properties from the context menu that appears. Select the Security tab on the Properties window.

On the Security tab, you will see a list of users and groups which have been granted any level of access to the file or folder in question. To add new permissions, select the Edit button. This will open the Permissions window.

On the Permissions window, you can add new users or groups, then assign them any level of access: Read (R), Write (W), or Execute (X). You can also modify the existing permissions, or remove users or groups from the list of those who are allowed to access the file.

When finished, select the OK button to apply your changes.

Advanced File Permissions in Windows

In some cases, you may need to set more advanced file permissions in Windows. In order to do this, you must use the command line. To do so, open the Command Prompt window, then type the command “icacls [filename]” where [filename] is the name of the file whose permissions you want to change.

On the command line, you can use the following flags and arguments to set more advanced file permissions in Windows:

• /grant [user]:[permission] — Grants the specified user the specified permission (R for read, W for write, or X for execute).

• /inheritance:[setting] — Sets the inheritance setting for the file (E for enabled, or D for disabled).

• /t — Applies the changes to the file and all subdirectories and files nested within.

• /c — Continues even if errors are encountered.

• /q — Makes the changes without prompting for confirmation.

More complex file permissions can be set using the command line. However, it is important to note that misconfigured file permissions can cause serious problems, including data loss and system instability, so be sure to test any changes before applying them in production.

It is also important to remember that the above commands and settings only affect NTFS formatted partitions and hard drives, and do not apply to FAT or FAT32 drives.


Setting file permissions in Windows is a straightforward process, but can become more complex when more advanced settings are needed. It is important to understand the potential consequences of misconfigured permissions, and always be sure to test out any changes before applying them in a production environment.