Apply a basic audit policy on a file or folder

You can apply audit policies to individual files and folders on your computer by setting the permission type to record successful access attempts or failed access attempts in the security log.

To complete this procedure, you must be signed in as a member of the built-in Administrators group or have Manage auditing and security log rights.

To apply or modify auditing policy settings for a local file or folder

  1. Select and hold (or right-click) the file or folder that you want to audit, select Properties, and then select the Security tab.

  2. Select Advanced.

  3. In the Advanced Security Settings dialog box, select the Auditing tab, and then select Continue.

  4. Do one of the following tasks:

    • To set up auditing for a new user or group, select Add. Select Select a principal, type the name of the user or group that you want, and then select OK.
    • To remove auditing for an existing group or user, select the group or user name, select Remove, select OK, and then skip the rest of this procedure.
    • To view or change auditing for an existing group or user, select its name, and then select Edit.
  5. In the Type box, indicate what actions you want to audit by selecting the appropriate check boxes:

    • To audit successful events, select Success.
    • To audit failure events, select Fail.
    • To audit all events, select All.
  6. In the Applies to box, select the object(s) to which the audit of events will apply. These objects include:

    • This folder only
    • This folder, subfolders and files
    • This folder and subfolders
    • This folder and files
    • Subfolders and files only
    • Subfolders only
    • Files only
  7. By default, the selected Basic Permissions to audit are the following:

    • Read and execute
    • List folder contents
    • Read
    • Additionally, with your selected audit combination, you can select any combination of the following permissions:
      • Full control
      • Modify
      • Write


Before you set up auditing for files and folders, you must enable object access auditing. To do this, define auditing policy settings for the object access event category. If you don't enable object access auditing, you'll receive an error message when you set up auditing for files and folders, and no files or folders will be audited.  

More considerations

  • After you turn on object access auditing, view the security login Event Viewer to review the results of your changes.
  • You can set up file and folder auditing only on NTFS drives.
  • Because the security log is limited in size, carefully select the files and folders to be audited. Also, consider the amount of disk space that you want to devote to the security log. The maximum size for the security log is defined in Event Viewer.