Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I had a 1.5TB hard disk in a Windows 2003 Server. Two partitions, one FAT and the other NTFS.

The server crashed, and while we are ordering a new one, I would like to access the data on that volume. However, when I attach the drive to my Windows 7 64bit desktop, the entire NTFS volume shows up as Access Denied. (The FAT volume is accessible just fine.)

In Explorer, the volume shows up with no info:


In Logical Disk Manager, the volume appears with no info:

Disk Manager

I tried running TAKEOWN on the volume, but since the entire volume is inaccessible, it didn't work:


I also don't have permission to take ownership using the Windows 7 GUI:

GUI Access Denied

I have the username, password, and SID of the owner from the server where this volume was previously. The volume was not encrypted and was not compressed.

How can I gain access to this drive?

share|improve this question
I'd really want to try putting it into a Linux machine and create an image of the drive before trying to "retrieve" data from it, maybe access the files from the image instead before doing something that can damage the information on the drive. Aren't there backups you could retrieve from? – Bart Silverstrim Jun 23 '10 at 13:54
+1 Had the same problem using an external drive previously mounted in Windows XP, but the PC was dead, and had to copy the files. I couldn't because of ownership, particularly. I have used icacls as stated in my answer which helped me, without having to reboot or to use anything else. This knows some limitations under certain conditions, though. – Will Marcouiller Dec 2 '10 at 15:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you are logged in as an Administrator your should be able to take ownership in the owner tab of that last screenshot and then change permissions. Or, if this doesn't work, you could download a Linux boot CD and access the files that way.

share|improve this answer
Linux is what I was thinking of, too. Boot up a live CD, mount the NTFS partition read-only, and copy the contents. – Luke has no name Jun 23 '10 at 13:57
+1, taking ownership will fix this issue. – ITGuy24 Jun 23 '10 at 14:26
Sorry, I forgot to add the final image, which is that access is denied when taking ownership. – Portman Jun 23 '10 at 14:55
Is the account you are using a local administrator? – rybl Jun 23 '10 at 15:24
Yes, the account is the local administrator. – Portman Jun 23 '10 at 22:21

Using the command-line prompt with the Icacls instruction might help also, just to let you know. I have tried it already, no later than lastnight, and worked quite well.

For example:

icacls "[drive]:\Full path" /setowner %USERNAME% /t /c

This above instruction will change onwership for all of the folders and files from the specified full path and all subfolders and files. The /c tells the tool to continue on error, so that it can process all it can.

icacls "[drive]:\Full path" /grant %USERNAME%:F /t /c

This above instruction grants FULL (:F) access to the specified filepath.

Besides, the Linux Live CD is also a neat solution.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, just had to make sure you run the cmd.exe as adminstrator but these commands worked for me with this exact same situation and was able to recover my files from a windows 8 rc box – Mouffette Jul 18 '12 at 16:46

I had the same issue except I wasn't able to see the Security tab at all when accessing the properties of the disk. I managed to lock myself out of it (being my laptop's only hard disk) when I tried to resize the C:\ logical disk (stupidly, admittedly ;)) but managed to corrupt it, to which Check Disk fixed it but buggered the NTFS permissions.

I found that TakeOwn does work on logical drives, but you have to be careful about what syntax you declare in the command prompt. You wrote in your screenshot "J:\", drop the "\" and TakeOwn will pick up the drive.

I'm still locked out though. Hmm...

share|improve this answer
However, accessing the disk through Disk Management displayed the Security tab (after turning File Sharing Wizard off too). Yay! – Justin Dec 2 '10 at 14:39

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.