I am a Windows administrator on Windows 7, but am unable to access any of the folders that have a lock icon. What do I need to do to access these folders?

Posted on 2009-12-28
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I am a Windows administrator on Windows 7, but am unable to access any of the folders that have a lock icon. What do I need to do to access these folders?
Question by:Knowledgeable
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    is this computer in a network?
    if so try to login as the computer administrator rather than the network admin

    if the computer is stand-alone no network, then make sure you login as administrator not as a user with administrator priviledges
    LVL 18

    Accepted Solution

    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    have u used vista? if yes then you might know how to disable uac(user account control) try disabling user account control and report back.

    Guide to how to disable UAC if u dont know:
    1.To user Control Panel to disable UAC in Windows 7, there are several methods to access the User Account Control settings page:
    1.Go to Start Menu -> Control Panel -> User Accounts and Family Safety -> User Account.
    2.Go to Start Menu -> Control Panel -> System and Security -> Action Center.
    3.Click or right click on Flag icon in notification area (system tray), and then Open Action Center.
    4.Type MsConfig in Start Search to start System Configuration, then go to Tools tab, select Change UAC Settings, then click on Launch button.
    2.Click on User Account Control settings link.

    3.Slide the slider bar to the lowest value (towards Never Notify), with description showing Never notify me.

    4.Click OK to make the change effective.
    5.Restart the computer to turn off User Access Control.
    Method 2: Disable UAC with Registry Editor (RegEdit)

    1.Run Registry Editor (RegEdit).
    2.Navigate to the following registry key:

    3.Locate the following REG_DWORD value:

    4.Set the value of EnableLUA to 0.
    5.Optional step to suppress UAC consent prompt dialog, locate the following REG_DWORD value:

    6.Set the value of ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin to 0 (optional).
    7.Exit from Registry Editor and restart the computer to turn off UAC.
    Method 3: Turn Off UAC Using Group Policy

    For Windows 7 Ultimate, Business or Enterprise edition which has Local Group Policy, or computer joined to domain and has Active Directory-based GPO, the group policy can be used to disable UAC for local computer or many computer across large networks at once.

    1.Enter GPedit.msc in Start Search to run Local Group Policy editor. (Or gpmc.msc to run Group Policy Management Console for AD-based domain GPO editor).
    2.Navigate to the following tree branch:
    Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options

    In GPMC, browse to the required GPO which is linked to the domain or OU where the policy wants to apply.

    3.Locate the following policy in the right pane:
    User Account Control: Behavior of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode

    Set its value to Elevate without prompt.

    4.Locate the following policy in the right pane:
    User Account Control: Detect application installations and prompt for elevation

    Set its value to Disabled.

    5.Locate the following policy in the right pane:
    User Account Control: Run all administrators in Admin Approval Mode

    Set its value to Disabled.

    6.Locate the following policy in the right pane:
    User Account Control: Only elevate UIAccess applications that are installed in secure locations

    Set its value to Disabled.

    Restart the computer when done.

    Method 4: Using Command Prompt to Disable User Account Control

    The command line option can also be used in batch script command file, i.e. .bat and .cmd files, providing greater convenient to advanced technical user. In actual, the commands,, which are also used to disable or enable UAC in Vista, are just doing the same thing as directly modifying the registry.

    1.Open an elevated command prompt as administrator.
    2.To disable the UAC, run the following commands:
    %windir%\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

    and optionally, the following comand to suppress all elevation consent request and notification:

    %windir%\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

    Tip: To re-enable UAC, the command is:

    %windir%\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

    and to turn on prompt for consent UI:

    %windir%\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f
    LVL 26

    Expert Comment

    close your windows explorer and start it as "Run as Administrator".  
    LVL 41

    Expert Comment

    Hang on.... that perfectly normal
    Yes, there are "hard links" on your system (the folder icons with a lock) that are not available (even for an administrator account).   This is perfectly normal, and is by design.
    Most of the these "hard links" are designed for backward compatibility... for example, you'll find a old-sytle "Documents and Settings" folder in the root of the C: drive.   This is a "hard link" to the C:\User folder.  Interactive programs (like *you* logged into the shell) should never attempt to traverse those directories (since you're supposed to know better!).  However, applications that have a hard-coded path to "C:\Documents and Settings" can still work.
    Relax and enjoy Windows 7
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    My 2 cents on this..... I agree with graye.... You will not gain anything messing with these folders.... I have done it just for kicks and it is exactly what he described to you. They do not contain anything that you need or will need to modify at the moment.
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    by:John Griffith
    Activate the hidden admin account -
    START | type cmd.exe | RIGHT-click on cmd.exe abover under programs | Select "Run as Admin" - then  type/paste -
    net user administrator /active:yes
    Logoff your current account - a new account named "Administrator" will be waiting for you at LOGON screen
    Regards. . .

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