I am trying to build an assortment of batch files that control permissions on files and folders via right click context menu. I know there are existing solutions out there but I am trying to code it myself.

Ideally I'd like the following separate commands:

  • Take Ownership of a Directory (Recursive)
  • Take Ownership of a File
  • Set Owner to Current User
  • Set Owner to Administrators
  • Set Owner to TrustedInstaller

Right now I'm focused on the Take Ownership functions. My problem is that I don't know the "Proper" way to Take Ownership of a directory and all its files and sub-directories.

There are various implementations scattered around the internet that "work", but the resulting permissions look really polluted with a lot of duplicate entries.

The "Take Ownership" commands floating around are all basically this:

cmd.exe /c takeown /f "%~1" /r /d Y && icacls "%~1" /grant *S-1-3-4:F /t /c /l /q

But when I run that command on a directory located in Program Files, this is what I get:

Duplicate Permission Entries

I don't know about you, but I think the access list looks pretty ugly/polluted. There are duplicates for every entry.

So I started messing with the /inheritance:d flag, which disables inheritance and copies the ACEs:

cmd.exe /c takeown /r /d Y /f "%~1" && icacls "%~1" /inheritance:d /grant *S-1-3-4:(OI)(CI)F /T /C /L /Q icacls "%~1" /grant administrators:(OI)(CI)F /T /C /L /Q

This command transfers ownership to the current user recursively, disables inheritance, grants the current user and Administrators full access for "This folder, subfolders, and files." (OI)(CI)

This is what I get now:

Cleaner ACLs

The access list looks a lot cleaner, but there is no inheritance.

I guess my questions are:

  1. When taking ownership of a folder recursively, should I keep inheritance enabled?
  2. How do I de-duplicate permission entries correctly, hopefully without completely disabling inheritance?
  3. Should I be using iCACLS /grant:r to replace permissions?
  4. Am I over-thinking things?!

Really appreciate any input on this.

  • "Am I over-thinking things?!" - Yes.
    – harrymc
    Jul 14 at 20:08
  • @harrymc :( Sorry if my question is a bit trivial. Even though it's a small problem to solve, I'd like to know if there is a Right Way™
    – Jay
    Jul 14 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


Yes I would always keep the inhertance. Instead of icacls I would use PowerShell: Copy permissions:

Get-ACL C:\Shared | Set-Acl C:\Shared1

Before you set permissions on the multiple files and folders, it is always recommended that you use the -WhatIf parameter to know on which file or folder permissions are being applied. lthough Set-ACL works fine, it's a clunky bit of code that isn't very 'powershelly'. As tfl mentioned, there's an external module called NTFSSecurity that makes this a lot easier: https://www.powershellgallery.com/packages/NTFSSecurity/4.2.4


List folder ACLs and their current inheritance

Get-Item .\Data -Recurse | where {$_.psiscontainer -eq $true} | Get-NTFSAccess | select fullname,inheritanceenabled

To change the permissions you would need to change the inherance otherwise you can't modify it. But with $permissions = Get-Acl, you can save it in a variable and reapply if needed, or export to an csv and so on. https://thesleepyadmins.com/2020/04/28/export-folder-permission-using-powershell/

I always recommend it to export it first, and then changing, because you can restore if you make a mistake.

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