Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2


Allows an administrator to recover access to a file that previously was denied by making the administrator the owner of the file.


takeown [/s Computer [/u [Domain\User [/p [Password]]]] /f FileName [/a] [/r] [/d {Y | N}]

  • /s Computer
    Specifies the name or IP address of a remote computer (do not use backslashes). The default is the local computer. This parameter applies to all of files and folders specified in the command.
  • /u Domain\User
    Runs the script with the permissions of the specified user account. The default is system permissions.
  • /p [Password]
    Specifies the password of the user account that is specified in the /u parameter.
  • /f FileName
    Specifies the file name or directory name pattern. You can use the wildcard character "*" in specifying the pattern. You can also use ShareName\FileName.
  • /a
    Gives ownership to the administrators group instead of the current user.
  • /r
    Performs recursive operation on all files in the specified directory and subdirectories.
  • /d {Y | N}
    Default prompt used when the current user does not have permissions to view folders within a directory. Use Y to take ownership and N to suppress the confirmation prompt.
  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • This command is typically used in batch files.

  • Using the /s, /u, and /p command-line options The /u and /p command-line options are available only when you use /s. You must use /p with /u to provide the user's password.

  • If /a is not specified then file ownership is given to the user who is currently logged on to the computer.

  • Mixed patterns using the question mark (?) and the wildcard character (*) is not supported.

  • If you install a Windows Server 2003 operating system on a computer with another Windows Server 2003 operating system already installed and then attempt to delete it, you cannot delete the entire directory. One of the hidden directories, named \Installer, contains some .msi and .ico files that are locked, and you have to format the drive to delete them. This is because the Windows Server 2003 operating systems apply security attributes to the file so that the only the System account of the previous installation can access the files. Even an administrator of this computer cannot reset these permissions. You must run takeown to delete these files.

  • After deleting the lock with takeown, you might have to use Windows Explorer or cacls to give you full permissions to the files and directories before you can delete them. For more information about cacls, see Related Topics.


To take ownership of a file using the name pattern Lostfile, type:

takeown /f lostfile

Formatting legend

Format Meaning


Information that the user must supply


Elements that the user must type exactly as shown

Ellipsis (...)

Parameter that can be repeated several times in a command line

Between brackets ([])

Optional items

Between braces ({}); choices separated by pipe (|). Example: {even|odd}

Set of choices from which the user must choose only one

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Code or program output

See Also


Command-line reference A-Z
Command shell overview