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System files accidentally locked


New Member
I have a strange problem.
My son was experimenting with system security and managed to lock up system files.
From what I can tell, he went into Properties on the top level C: drive. He went to Security, and individually selected each user besides Administrator (including SYSTEM). He picked Deny for all of them and Applied the changes.

If I try to get to the top level C: drive, I get C:\ Access is Denied. Most things do still run, but I'm not sure what problems it may be causing. One odd thing I've seen is that I can launch cmd from C:\windows\system32. If I try running cmd as Administrator, I get an error that the file does not exist.

Since the admin commands won't run, I don't know what to do next.

Any suggestions would be great. Thanks!

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15 Notebook


Do you have System Restore turned on? Give that a try. If you get Denied, try booting from a rescue disk or Windows 8 install media and try System Restore from there.

Maybe try to Refresh your system?


If you know how to reverse what you son did, you can enable the built-in administrator account. I believe if you use that account, you will not get denied access. I think you will need option 2 to enable it. After it's enabled, and if System Restore is turned on, use that account to restore it. It's best to disable the account when you are finished.

Last edited:

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8 Pro
If every solution fails, as a last resort, you might have to do a reinstall, however, I think that's unlikely. Do you have your data partition, data folders and files backed up onto available and trusted external media?

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 7 Pro 64bit [MS blue-disk set]
    Computer type
    System Manufacturer/Model
    2 Acers & 1 Antec[?]
    i7 in 2 Acers, i5 in desktop
    Desktop w/Gigabyte
    Two w/16GB, 1 w/8GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Laptops GameWorthy; Desktop maybe GameWorthy
    Monitor(s) Displays
    flatscreens; 2 are BluRay worthy
    Screen Resolution
    1368x768; 1600x900
    Hard Drives
    1TB internals; 2 ext usb WD 1TB HDs
    what's PSU?
    Regular plus external fans
    desktio w/PS2
    desktop w/PS2
    Internet Speed
    DSL middle level [160?]
    from Netscape 0.9 to FF 36
    well-balanced, well-configured mult-layered defense is best
    Other Info
    From MS-DOS 3.3, MS-DOS 6.22, from Windows 3.1 to WFW 3.11 to Windows 95-98SE, now to Windows 7 Pro.
    Security for now: Windows 7 Firewall, Emsisoft AM, MSE [scan-only], SpywareBlaster, Ruiware/BillP combine

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