{Fix} Limited permissions and Access Denied problems after Windows 8 (or 8.1) refresh.

In a customer's computer, the following problems appeared after performing a Windows 8 refresh to the factory default state:

1. The user couldn't download (and save) any files from Internet.
2. Programs were not running. Several programs (e.g Word, Excel, etc.) couldn't run normally or they run with problems. 
3. The user couldn't create (or save) any new files in Word, Excel, etc..
4. When the user tried to access the disk's C:\ contents, he received an "access denied" error (C:\ is not accessible. Access is denied.”).
5. User couldn't access the Change PC settings option (PC settings window cannot open at all).

The above problems happened because the user had lost the ownership and his Administrative privileges during Windows 8 Refresh operation. The abnormal fact is that the user continued to appear as an Administrator to his computer. The only way I found to bypass all these restrictions problems was to create a new user, to transfer all the files from the broken user's profile to the new one and then to remove the broken user.

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In this article you can find detailed instructions on how to resolve the restrictions problems (Access denied errors, Download errors, etc.) that appeared after Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 refresh.

 

How to fix Windows 8 (8.1) Access Denied error on Disk C due to restrictions problems after Windows 8 (or 8.1) refresh.

Step 1. Boot Windows 8 in Safe Mode.

In order to boot Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 in Safe Mode:

1. Press simultaneously the “Windows" + “C”  keys to open the Charms Bar.

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2. Click on “Settings” (Gear) icon.

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3. Click "Power".

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4. Hold down the Shift key and click Restart.

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Step 2. Enable Hidden Windows 8 Administrator account.

While in Safe Mode, open an elevated command prompt and enable the hidden Administrator account. To do that:

1. Right-click at the screen's bottom-left corner and from the pop-up menu, choose  the“Command Prompt (Admin)” option.

windows-8-admininstator-command-prompt

2. Choose “Yes” at User Account Control” warning message:

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3. Inside the command prompt window, type the following command and then press “Enter”:

net user administrator /active:yes

enable-administrator-account

(After that, you should view a message that says that your command was completed successfully.)

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4. Close the Command prompt window and restart your computer.

 

Step 3. Create a new user account with Administrative privileges.

1. Leave your computer to boot to Windows normally. (Windows should boot into the limited user profile).

2. Press "Ctrl" + Alt" + "Del" and then choose "Sign Out".

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3. Sign-in with the Administrator account.

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4. Press simultaneously the “Windows" + “C”  keys to open the Charms Bar.

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5. Click on “Settings” (Gear) icon.

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6. Click on “Change PC settings” option.

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7. In PC Settings, click Accounts.

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8. On Accounts, choose "Other Accounts".

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9. Select "Add an account".

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10. Now choose the "Sign in without a Microsoft account (not recommended)" option.

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11. Then click "Local Account".

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12. Type the username for the new user account. (e.g. "User1" ) and specify a password (if you want) for the new user. Then press Next.

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13. Press "Finish" to close the "Add a User" screen.

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14. Then at "Manage other accounts" screen, select the newly created user account. (e.g. the "User1").

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15. Choose "Edit".

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16. Now using the drop-down menu set the new user's Account type to Administrator and then click OK.

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17. Restart your computer, Sign-out and logon to Windows using the new user account (e.g. the "User1" in this example).

18. Check if the new user can work in Windows without restriction problems and then continue to next step.

 

Step 4 (Optional). Transfer files from the old user profile.

After you have ensured that the new user (e.g. the "User1" on this example) can work without problems, then it's time to copy all the personal files (if any) from the limited restrictions user's profile to the new one. *

* All these files are located under the C:\Users\<Username> directory. (e.g. if the old (broken) user is named "User" then you have to copy the folders Desktop, Documents, Pictures, Video, etc. which are located under "C:\Users\User" directory to "C:\Users\User1" directory .)

 

Step 5. Remove the old user profile (The user with limited restrictions problems).

After you have ensured that the new user is working without problems, then it's time to completely remove the broken user from the computer. To do that:

1. Go to Settings > Change PC Settings > Accounts > Other Accounts.

2. Select the old user account (the user with restrictions problems) and then press "Remove".

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3. Select the "Delete Account and Data" option.

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Step 6 (FINAL). Disable the Administrator account

After the account removal, you have to perform one last step: To disable the Administrator account for security reasons. To do that:

1. Right-click at the screen's bottom-left corner and from the pop-up menu, choose  the“Command Prompt (Admin)” option.

windows-8-admininstator-command-prompt

2. Choose “Yes” at User Account Control” warning message:

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3. Inside the command prompt window, type the following command and then press “Enter”:

net user administrator /active:no

disable-Administrator-account

(After that, you should view a message that says that your command was completed successfully.)

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4. Close command prompt window.

 

You 're done!

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