How to change file permissions command line

Written by lysis
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Changing file permissions on the Windows command line is convenient for administrators who can navigate through directories and prompts faster than through a graphical interface. Since Windows Server 2003 and Vista, Windows includes the system tool icacls.exe to change the permissions of files and folders. ICacls replaces the older Cacls, which stood for change access control list.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the Windows Start button and select Run. Type "cmd" and press the Enter key on the keyboard to open the command-line prompt.

  2. 2

    Type "icacls" and press Enter to view a list of options and command-line settings. The basic syntax for the command line permissions settings follows the form:

    icacls filepath [my Options]

    Filepath is the location and name of the file, and [myOptions] is the permission settings.

  3. 3

    Give a user named my User read and write access to the file myFile.doc using the following syntax:

    icacls c:\path\myFile.doc /grant my User:R

    icacls c:\path\myFile.doc /grant my User:W

  4. 4

    Remove my User's access to myFile.doc:

    icacls c:\path\myFile.doc /deny my User

  5. 5

    Type "exit" and press Enter to close the command line.

Tips and warnings

  • No reboot is necessary.
  • ICacls and Cacls only work on NTFS-formatted file systems.

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