Fix: Notepad Access Denied

The error “Access is Denied” occurs when the operating system is unable to save or edit any file using the notepad application. These files are mostly system files which are mostly found in system folders (such as System 32, Program files etc.).

This is basically a user access control function which restricts you from changing system files or creating new ones in system directories. It is done for the safety of your own computer so important system files don’t get changed and you preserve the integrity of the operating system. This has been the case for all versions of Windows.

However, there are instances where you want to deliberately make some changes to some system files and this error can get problematic. We will go through all the steps needed to make sure you get your work done without the annoying error message popping up. This error is also known to pop up when you try to change the “host” files present in the System32 directory.

Note: Malware and virus are known to make changes to the host file. Make sure that you are virus free whenever you are editing the file.

Solution: Using ‘Run as Administrator’

We will open the Notepad application and run it using the ‘Run as administrator command’. This command will enable administrator privileges and open the application in an elevated mode. Do note that you are required to use an administrator account to use this solution.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “notepad” in the dialogue box, right-click on the application and select “Run as administrator”.

  1. A small UAC will pop up asking you to confirm your actions. Press YES to proceed.
  2. Click File > Open.

  1. Now navigate to the location of the file you are trying to access. Make sure “All files” is selected so all type of files are displayed in the window. Select it and click “Open”.

  1. The file will be opened successfully. Make all the necessary changes and click “Ctrl + S” to save the file or save it manually using the options.


Note: If you cannot edit the host files even after performing the above solution, you should check if you have any antivirus enabled on your computer. Third party antivirus software makes sure that you cannot edit any system files even with administrator privileges. Same goes for the firewall. Make sure they are disabled temporarily and try with the solution again.

If you cannot still access the file under discussion, make sure that the ‘Read-only’ option is unchecked in the file’s properties. You can also take ownership of the file, edit it, and change the ownership back. Take a look at following article. Follow the same method on how to take ownership.

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Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.