How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

Ever had the problem of ‘Access is Denied’ while browsing your own computer? It must feel like the computer is not giving you permission to view certain files, even though it’s your personal computer. Well, here’s how you can take back control.

Windows Integrity Level

Since Windows Vista, Microsoft has greatly prioritized security. Despite the occasional malware that can still cause frustrating ‘Access is Denied’ error messages, Windows security has significantly improved. Personally, I can’t even remember the last time I ran a system-wide antivirus scan on my Windows 10 computers, which used to be a regular practice during the Windows XP era.

How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

The Integrity Level on Windows refers to the security concept of Mandatory Integrity Control (MIC) which adds trustworthiness to folder and file structures and registries in Windows. This allows the OS to restrict access permissions based on the level of each file and folder.

How Does it Work?

To go in-depth for this would be too technical. But, as they’ve been saying in the smartphone world, “There’s always an app for that.” We have always had “a software for that” in the Windows world.

How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

MicEnum is a software that provides a graphic view of access permissions on your Windows machine. Let’s see how to get started with it.

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Using MicEnum on Windows 10

After installing and launching MicEnum on your PC, you will have access to the branched Windows Explorer view and a separate tab for the Registry view. The integrity level of each file and folder is automatically displayed, so you only need to check for those that indicate “Access is Denied”.

How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

These files and folders need your attention. If they are system files, they should be correctly tagged. However, there shouldn’t be many files and folders that require this.

Careful with Permissions

Since the permissioning system is tied to the security of Windows OS, it is wise to only change permissions if you know what you’re doing. You cannot change permissions for files or folders that are tagged as “Access is denied”, but you should run a deep scan with your antivirus or Windows Defender.

How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

Delete Locked Files: Here’s how, but be careful and don’t touch system files. To be safe, create a restore point beforehand.

System Scan

Once you right-click on the folder, you have the option to run a Full Scan. This scan will crawl the entire tree to see if the subset hasn’t inherited the parent’s integrity. This step may take a while, so be patient. Here’s a video of the initial scan on my PC.

Registry Level Scan

You can also go to the “Registry view” tab and scan there, but be cautious when making changes. If you’re unfamiliar with Windows registry settings, it’s recommended to avoid altering them.

How to Control Integrity Level of Windows 10 Files, Folders

Monitor Shared Files and Folders: Here’s how on Windows.

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Take Charge

This concise text provides helpful tips for managing files and folders in Windows 10. Share your thoughts and techniques on our forums.

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