Remove the Lock Icon from a Folder in Windows 7, 8, or 10

By Trevor Bekolay on May 13th, 2010

If you’ve been playing around with folder sharing or security options, then you might have ended up with an unsightly lock icon on a folder. We’ll show you how to get rid of that icon without over-sharing it.

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The lock icon in Windows indicates that the file or folder can only be accessed by you, and not any other user on your computer. If this is desired, then the lock icon is a good way to ensure that those settings are in place. If this isn’t your intention, then it’s an eyesore.

To remove the lock icon, we have to change the security settings on the folder to allow the Users group to, at the very least, read from the folder.

Right-click on the folder with the lock icon and select Properties. Switch to the Security tab, and then press the Edit… button.

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A list of groups and users that have access to the folder appears. Missing from the list will be the “Users” group. Click the Add… button.

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The next window is a bit confusing, but all you need to do is enter “Users” into the text field near the bottom of the window. Click the Check Names button.

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“Users” will change to the location of the Users group on your particular computer. In our case, this is PHOENIX\Users (PHOENIX is the name of our test machine). Click OK.

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The Users group should now appear in the list of Groups and Users with access to the folder. You can modify the specific permissions that the Users group has if you’d like – at the minimum, it must have Read access. Click OK.

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Keep clicking OK until you’re back at the Explorer window. You should now see that the lock icon is gone from your folder!

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It may be a small aesthetic nuance, but having that one folder stick out in a group of other folders is needlessly distracting. Fortunately, the fix is quick and easy, and does not compromise the security of the folder!

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 05/13/10
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