How to Troubleshoot the “You Need Permission to Perform This Action” Error by


Imagine yourself in the middle of an important task typing away on your computer. Then when you need to perform an action, such as delete a file, you get the error “you need permission to perform this action”. Certainly, you would be confused. Why would you need permission to modify something you yourself created? This error message is not only confusing, but also very frustrating! If you are not a tech savvy person, you wouldn’t know where to start in order to fix it.

What do you do when you encounter this error?

This type of error is either an actual permission problem or the file you are trying to modify is locked by a specific process. Here are some troubleshooting methods you can try.

  1. You can restart your computer in safe mode. The most basic troubleshooting step in any device is restarting or rebooting. Do keep in mind, however, that rebooting your computer in safe mode can be slightly different depending on the type of operating system you are using. Look for steps that are compatible with your OS. If restarting your computer allowed you to make the change, then the operating system has probably locked the file which is denying you permission to delete.
  2. The next method you can try is changing permissions. Since the error is related to your permission, then you might want to address this problem right away. Follow the steps in changing permissions carefully can show you how.
  3. Try installing a program called Unlocker. This program is free and safe. It shows you which processes are keeping files locked. Once you have installed the program and identified the process holding a lock on the file you want to delete, you can kill the process to unlock the file.
  4. If you feel like you are already out of options and none of the methods provided has worked, you can try another program that allows you to delete a file before rebooting your computer completely. One such program is called MoveonBoot.
  5. Lastly, you can try using a boot disk. This is a bootable CD/DVD which will load an OS or DOS. This will let you run commands such as deleting files, deleting file partitions, repairing master boot records, and many other options. You can get detailed information about how this works from different online sources. Each online source has specific documentation. Take time to read them through before considering this option.

Addressing a permission issue in your computer can either be simple or complicated. You can also try going to for a comprehensive guide to troubleshooting this error. If you are lucky enough to be tech-savvy and know your way around any operating system, chances are you can resolve this on your own.