How to Restrict Access to Files or Folder on Windows XP

You have a computer which share with others (friends, children, etc.). You’re using Windows XP and you need to customize permission of files or folders on certain users. For example, you want to restrict access your child not to access some folders which have your sensitive information. Or you may want to restrict access on disk drive D: to a certain user.On Windows XP, you can customize either to allow or deny permissions on certain users or groups for a specific files or folders easily. But you need an administrative privilege to perform this task. So in the following section, I’ll show how to customize permissions of files or folders for certain users.

Customize permissions requires administrative privilege so if someone besides you has an account which has administrative privilege, he/she can also customize permissions of files or folders, too.

Note: You shouldn’t customize permissions on the system files or folders for example, Windows Folder (C:\WINDOWS), Program Files (C:\Program Files), Disk Drive C: (Windows System Drive), etc. If you remove permissions that are used by Windows system, the process or service that depends on it may error.

I wrote articles about reset administrator’s password years ago. So you should be aware that someone can gain administrative privilege and override your configuration. To prevent the situation, you have to restrict CD-Rom drive and USB drive to only trusted users because one of these devices is required to reset password.

Step-by-step to restrict access to files or folder

In the example below, I’m going to customize permissions to allow only “linglom” (a regular user) to access the folder C:\Restricted. And I have created another account which also a regular user “ling” who hasn’t the privilege to the certain folder to test access the restricted folder.

  1. Login to Windows XP with an account that has an administrative privilege.
  2. If your PC isn’t on a domain, you have to disable simple file sharing first. See
    [Solved] Missing Security Tab on Windows XP for detail steps.
  3. Select folder that you want to customize the permission. In this example, it’s C:\Restricted.
  4. Right-click on the folder and select Properties.
    Open Folder Properties
  5. On Properties window, select Security tab.
    Select Security Tab
  6. On Security tab, you can customize permissions on a certain user or group.
    Customize Permission
  7. To determine if a name is a user or group, observe at icon in front of the name. If it’s a person, it will be a user. Otherwise, it will be a group.
    User and Group Icons
  8. By default, these permissions are inherit from root (C:\) which I don’t want it so I’ll remove the inheritance. Click Advanced.
    Permissions are inherited
  9. Uncheck “Inherit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here“.
    Remove Permissions Inheritance
  10. The pop-up message appears, you have 2 options: Copy and Remove. In this example, I select Copy for ease of customization. If you select Remove, all permissions wil be removed so you have to configure it from scratch.
    Copy the existing Permissions
  11. Now all permissions are customizable. You notice values on Inherited From columns are <not inherited>. Click OK.
    Permissions are customizable
  12. Back to Security tab, remove Users (BKKTEST01\Users) by select the name and click Remove. This is the Users group which permissions are configured to allow access on this folder.
    Remove a User
  13. Next, add a local user “linglom”. Click Add.
    Add a User
  14. On Enter the object names to select section, type “linglom” and click Check Names. It finds the account that match the name. Click OK.
    Select User Account
  15. Now I have an an user account “linglom” with default permissions (Read & Execute, List Folder Contents and Read) to this folder. Click OK to close the Properties window.
    The User is added with default permission
  16. Test the configuration by login as “ling”, the account which hasn’t permission to access the permission customized folder.
    Login as 'ling' User
  17. Open My Computer -> C:\ -> Restricted. You’ll see the error message:
    C:\Restricted is not accessible.
    Access is denied.

    Access is denied
  18. Then, try again with the user account “linglom”.
    Login as 'linglom' User
  19. You’ll see that you can open the folder and read files but you can’t create a new file or modify existing files on the permission customized folder. This is because that you didn’t give Write permission to the user account on step 15.
    The Folder is Accessible

Summary

You should now get concept about permissions configuration. You can apply to customize permissions (Read, Write and Execute) to certain users on files/folders/disk drives. But keep in mind that if someone besides you has an account which has administrative privilege, he/she can also customize permissions of files or folders, too.

16 Comments

  1. nengsihfitria March 1, 2010
  2. linglom March 2, 2010
  3. nengsihfitria March 2, 2010
  4. nengsihfitria March 2, 2010
  5. linglom March 4, 2010
  6. nengsihfitria March 18, 2010
  7. Amjad April 14, 2010
  8. Ajay meena May 16, 2010
  9. luis May 20, 2010
  10. Chris September 2, 2010
  11. ian September 4, 2010
  12. nanda February 16, 2012
  13. RikB October 31, 2012
  14. Dinesh January 29, 2013
  15. IE August 4, 2016
  16. linglom August 6, 2016

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