The TAKEOWN command in Windows CMD is used to enable an administrator to regain access to a file or directory that previously was accessible only to a specific user or system. This is achieved by reassigning the ownership of the file or directory to the current user. This tool is particularly useful in scenarios where files have become inaccessible due to permission issues or during system migrations.


The basic syntax for TAKEOWN is as follows:

TAKEOWN [/S system [/U username [/P [password]]]] /F filename [/A] [/R [/D prompt]]

Breakdown of Syntax Elements:

  • /S system: Specifies the remote system to connect to.
  • /U username: Specifies the user context under which the command should execute.
  • /P password: Specifies the password for the given user context. Prompts for input if not set.
  • /F filename: Specifies the filename or directory name pattern. Wildcards * and ? are accepted.
  • /A: Assigns ownership to the Administrators group.
  • /R: Recurses through subdirectories.
  • /D prompt: Suppresses the confirmation prompt with the default answer specified by prompt (accepts Y or N).


  • /S: Useful in network administration, allowing administrators to take ownership of files on a remote system.
  • /U and /P: These are used when administrative tasks are performed under user credentials different from the logged-in user.
  • /F: Can be a specific file, or a pattern using wildcards (e.g., *.txt).
  • /A: Typically used when ownership needs to be assigned to the administrator group rather than the current user.
  • /R: Essential for applying ownership changes to not just a single file, but all its subdirectories and files recursively.
  • /D: Useful in scripts or automated tasks where prompts should be suppressed.


  • Take ownership of a single file:
    TAKEOWN /F example.txt
  • Take ownership of all TXT files in a directory recursively:
    TAKEOWN /F C:\path\to\folder\*.txt /R
  • Take ownership of an entire directory and its contents:
    TAKEOWN /F C:\path\to\folder /R
  • Take ownership of a folder and assign it to the administrators group:
    TAKEOWN /F C:\path\to\folder /A /R

Common Issues

  • Permission Errors: Sometimes, even with TAKEOWN, permission issues can occur. Ensure you run CMD as an administrator.
  • Network Issues: When using /S, ensure network paths are correct and accessible.
  • Incorrect Usage of Wildcards: Ensure that wildcards are correctly used, especially in network or multiple file scenarios.


TAKEOWN can be effectively combined with other CMD commands or PowerShell scripts for bulk operations or complex task scripts. For example, after taking ownership, you might want to change permissions using ICACLS:

TAKEOWN /F C:\path\to\folder /R
ICACLS C:\path\to\folder /grant:r username:(OI)(CI)F /T

This script first takes ownership of a folder and its subfolders, then grants full access permissions to a specific user.

  • ICACLS: Used to set file and directory permissions and displays or modifies access control lists (ACLs).
  • CACLS: Older command similar to ICACLS used to manage file and directory permissions.

For more detailed information about TAKEOWN and its applications, you can refer to the official Microsoft TAKEOWN documentation.