Permissions Error, cannot access both my Ex-HDDs

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I’m in quite some trouble now. I’m a photographer and I store all of my important RAW files and processed photographs on my external hard drives and have been doing so for quite a while. A few months ago, I updated my OS to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 and ever since then I’ve been having trouble accessing folders and files on my Ex-HDDs.

The two external hard disks are:

  • Seagate Expansion Portable Disk (1 TB)
  • Seagate Backup Plus Portable Disk (1 TB)

At first, I just used to get the occasional This area is restricted, press continue to enter with permission type dialogs, and I was fine with that. After a few more uses and tries, I’ve been getting the access is denied message for some folders.

Today, I plugged in my HDDs and none of them could be read. My Computer shows them as ‘Local Disks’ with 0 bytes. I’m not able to open them, then I get an error ‘Drive is not accessible. Access is Denied’.

I believe it’s a permissions problem, but I’m not quite sure. When I check the Security Tab, I see the old Administrator account of the old Windows 8 system (guessing because it has an X mark next to the icon).


When I try adding the Group ‘Everyone’ to the list, and granting Full Control, I’m encountered with yet another Access is Denied error.


What is causing this and how can I fix it?


Have you tried taking ownership of the files using icacls? Here’s some instructions on how to do this for a whole drive (Option 3, No. 4):

If this fails, you may be able to change the permissions using a Linux Live bootable CD or USB, though that would require some extra preparation and research work, and a bit of confidence (or bravery?) using Linux if you have never used it before. You can download Ubuntu and a tool to create a bootable USB from the Ubuntu site.

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