Windows 7 – How to Remove the Lock Icon from a Windows Explorer Folder

While working with Windows Explorer, you may come across a folder with a lock on it. It’s a security feature. Follow the next few steps to eliminate the lock.

Windows Explorer

What does the lock icon mean? Basically that the file or folder has limited user access. It can only be accessed by you, and not any one else on your computer. Should you want this, then the lock icon is a good way to guarantee that those settings are in the proper place. However, should this not be in yourscope, then it’s a problem.

Select the Security Tab and Edit

To modify or remove the lock icon, the process begins with a change to the security settings on the folder. This will change the Users group to read from the folder, at the very least.

Select the folder with the lock icon, right click, select Properties. Go to the Security tab, select the Edit button.

Add A User

Notice that list of groups and users that have access to the folder will appear. And also missing from this list is the “Users” group. So click the Add button.

Next enter “Users” into the text field near the bottom of the window. Follow up with a click to Check Names button.

Select Users

The “Users” selection will change to the location where the Users group is located on your particular computer. In our case, this will occur at Mutley457-PCUsers and it is the name of test test machine). Then click OK.

Security - Features on Users

The Users group will appear in the list of Groups and Users that have access to the folder. The permissions are now modified with the permissions of the Users group, which at the minimum can be Read access. Click OK.



The Lock Icon is missing

Now the icon is no longer there.

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5 Responses to Windows 7 – How to Remove the Lock Icon from a Windows Explorer Folder

  1. Anonymous May 17, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    This is great, thanks. Just wondering if the “Grant full administrative control” option when I right-click on a folder will do the same thing?

  2. Sokobanja May 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Thanks for the litle trick. That is what I need

  3. Minimech84 June 26, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    any idea why this lock on a text file changed the contents?

  4. Santa Ian Loxton July 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    I have just upped to Win7Pro and while it has been a night mare for several days while I moved from XP to 7 mostly it is all settling down and even old legacy programs are working fine. Your article refers to a niggle that I found and still cant make work for me. I want to add to the “Send To” list and for that I have to access “C:Documents and Settings”. Well it has a lock on it so I worked through the process described above. I am now in the list of Users. When I click on my name I have every access box ticked. Hasn’t helped me, the folder is still Locked against access. Advanced tells me that it doesn’t know the owner and if I had the right permissions I could take ownership but there is this cautionary note…”Please note that once you take ownership, the previous owner might not have access to the object”. That means a chance to lock SYSTEM out of its own sandbox. Something I would not want to even consider the consequences of making such a change.They refer me to this page to understand more about User Access Control…“Windows Vista protects %systemroot% files and folders with permissions designed for Windows Resource Protection (WRP), which can only be accessed by the System service. Administrators can read system files and folders but cannot write to them. Note that this differs from previous versions of Windows.”Now what do I have to do to get into this essential area to change the “Send To” list? Any ideas?

  5. Santa Ian Loxton July 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Oh this new 7 system is a whole new ball game to an old XP guy. You don’t need to access any out-of-bounds area, there is a simple tool to change things in the Send To list.
    Firstly, to see an Extended Send To list hold down Shift then Right Click then select Send To.
    But to change the basic Send To list type “shell:sendto” in the top bar of any Explorer page. Then you can Add or Delete whatever elements you wish.
    Panic over, go back to whatever you were doing 😉

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