Take Ownership of Any File or Folder

This is about renaming, deleting or simply “unlocking” any system file or folder that you are by default not allowed to modify. More specifically, this is about taking complete ownership of the files or folders. It is especially handy when you, for instance, want to completely disable Windows Security Center or other system services that might be a cause of unwanted behavior on some machines, such as Runtime Broker (Dubbed as Time Broker in services.msc).

The easiest way is to take ownership of the file by using a utility called “Take Ownership Menu Hacks” which is downloadable here. Unpack the zip and double click on “Add Take Ownership to Context menu.reg“ An additional option will be added to the Windows Explorer context menu. Choosing that option will “unlock” the file. If you wish, you can then remove the option back from the context menu by double clicking on “Remove Take Ownership from Context Menu (Default).reg“. Simple as that.

The second option is doing the same thing manually. Let’s assume you want to turn off Security Center which is otherwise running so tenaciously that there’s actually no other way to kill it than renaming its respective libraries in the system. Take it as an example:

  1. Go to C:\Windows\System32 and do the following to both the ActionCenter.dll and ActionCenterCPL.dll

  2. Change permissions of the file manually, (can be applied to whole folders as well): Right click on the file (or folder) –> Properties –> Security tab –> Advanced button –> On the top click on Owner: Change –> Advanced… button –> Find Now button –> Find your user name in the list below (it’s in alphabetical order) and double-click on it –> OK –> OK –> (If it’s a folder check the box Replace owner on subcontainers and objects.) –> Apply –> A message will pop up: OK –> OK –> You’re back in Properties: Security tab. (Now you have become an owner but you still cannot make changes.) Click Advanced button again –> Click on the Change permissions button in the bottom left and then again on Add –> Click Select a principal –> Advanced –> Find Now –> Again select your user name –> OK –> Check Full control –> OK –> (If it’s a folder check the box Replace all child object…) –> Apply –> (Pop window:) Yes –> OK –> OK. You now have full control over the file / folder and can do whatever you want with it.

  3. You now have full access to the file and can do whatever you want with it. Rename the file, (e.g. to ActionCenter.dll.bak). Confirm Continue –> Yes.

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