Windows 7: You Need Permission to Perform This Action

I was not doing anything terrible.  I was just trying to move a file from one folder to another.  But Windows said Bismillah, no!  The specific error was:

File Access Denied
You need permission to perform this action

I got that error even though I was running as administrator and had already disabled all the controls and taken all of the file ownerships I could think of.  It seemed that one of the previous settings must have come undone, or some new problem had emerged.  In Windows Explorer, I tried right-clicking on the file and selecting Properties > Security.  This gave me a different message:

You do not have permission to view or edit this object’s permission settings.

A search led to a suggestion to use Unlocker.  But I had stopped using it some time back, for some reason, and was now using LockHunter, and that was ordinarily good at unlocking or deleting recalcitrant files or folders.  I did see, though, that Unlocker claimed to be better than its competitors, so I thought I might give it another try.  It wouldn’t necessarily explain why I had been seeing these error messages recently — this wasn’t the first time — but perhaps it would be enough to get me past some rough spots.  So I downloaded and installed the current 64-bit version.  It did have a Move option that wasn’t available in the current version of LockHunter, so I tried that.  It allowed me to specify the target directory, but then gave me an error:

The object could not be moved.
Do you want to perform the requested move operation at next reboot?

I had found that option useful in the past, so I said Yes.  But this did not explain why I was getting these errors, or how I might avoid them in the future.  I did not want to have to reboot every time I needed to move some cranky file.  Another post in the thread where someone had suggested using Unlocker offered the advice to try Ultimate Windows Tweaker.  But I was already using its Additional Tweaks > Show “Take Ownership” options.

As advised in another webpage, I tried a series of steps that began by opening an elevated command prompt (CMD) window.  To make this easily available in the future, I followed advice to create an Elevated Command Prompt shortcut.  To do that, I right-clicked on the Desktop and chose New > Shortcut.  I typed in the location C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe and clicked Next.  I named it Elevated Command Prompt.  (I could have left it there, but instead I moved it to my customized Start Menu.  In the future, I would probably be able to find it most easily using the Everything file finder.)  I right-clicked on the shortcut and chose Properties > Shortcut tab > Advanced > Run as Administrator.

Then I followed advice to enable the built-in administrator account.  To do this, I opened the Elevated Command Prompt and typed “net user administrator /active:no” (without quotes).  That said, “The command completed successfully.”  This was supposed to give me a new login option to choose the Administrator account instead of my own.  I knew that would mean that my system would not automatically boot into my own account.  I didn’t really want that.  But for the moment, I decided to live with it.  I would apparently not see this option until I rebooted, at which point Unlocker would have already moved the noncompliant file.  So I seemed not to have achieved much.  It appeared that further pursuit of this project would have to await another time when I had a misbehaving file and the time to blog about it.


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