How to Recover from a Permissions Disaster in Windows 11


I can try to rephrase your question, but please note that I’m not an expert on Windows or system files. Here is a possible way to ask your question:

How can I fix the “parameter is incorrect” error when opening some system files in Windows 11 after changing and resetting permissions?

I have a hp pavilion laptop 15-eg0xxx with the following specifications:

  • Device name: DESKTOP-IU97JRJ
  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-1165G7 @ 2.80GHz 2.80 GHz
  • Installed RAM: 16.0 GB (15.8 GB usable)
  • Device ID: 49C75218-7433-4F9D-8E39-44556B9A3EE0
  • Product ID: 00325-96779-36371-AAOEM
  • System type: 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor
  • Pen and touch: No pen or touch input is available for this display
  • Edition: Windows 11 Home
  • Version: 23H2
  • Installed on: ‎2023-‎05-‎30
  • OS build: 22631.3085
  • Experience: Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22684.1000.0
  • I was curious about the contents of some system files, but I could not access them because I did not have permissions. So I gave my user permissions, without changing ownership. I later read that this was dangerous because any apps that I run with my user have my permissions. So I decided to find a way to reset permissions. I used the following command in cmd as admin from the C:/ directory (so on the whole pc I think) : `icacls * /t /q /c /reset`. However, I later discovered that I am supposed to have ownership of the files on which I run this command. So I ran `takeown /F C: /A /R`. I think this is where I messed up, but I don’t know. Then I reran icalcs. However, I got a lot of access denied to AVG directories. I thought the antivirus was preventing me from running icalcs, so I uninstalled it. I then added the following exceptions to windows defender (I have no idea if this did what I wanted it to do): process: icalcs, process: icacls * /t /q /c /reset, program: cmd.exe. Then I reran icalcs. It was not able to process all the files: it processed about 8700 and could not process about 23000. I decided to stop messing up further.

    Now I have a problem where many files show a “parameter is incorrect dialog” when I try to open them. I am talking about system files. Normal apps and files work normally. The computer works normally. I ran three repair tools: `chkdsk /r`, `Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth`, `sfc /scannow`. No problems were found.

    Any help is appreciated, thank you very much.

    I have also noticed some things not working and other details. Some “parameter is incorrect” files can be opened by pressing “edit with notepad++”. Pressing “edit with notepad” does nothing. Others can not be opened with notepad++ because the folder does not exist. I could not open a new ubuntu window in the terminal. I tried repairing through windows app settings, nothing changed. Tried resetting, I get “no package identity” when trying to open a ubuntu terminal tab.

    I tried opening notepad. That worked. Now I do not get “parameter is incorrect” any longer on some files, they correctly open. Some files still cannot be opened because the system cannot find the path specified. XML files now seem to correctly open in microsoft edge (edge would say there was an error when I tried before). I am not sure what is causing these changes.

    I investigated further the files whose folder’s could not be found. I was trying to open them from “recents” in the file explorer. I tried manually looking for the files and it seems that they still exist, but their locations are slightly different. In particular, a folder whose name is a huge, seemingly random string of letters and digits, is what changed (to another random string).


while I do not see my user in the permissions of files (so it was correctly removed in the reset), I can still access them no problem. I suppose this is because Authenticated Users seem to have permissions everywhere (not sure though I kinda don’t know what I am talking about). Is this really a default permission? It was not there before, hence why I had to change permissions to view files. I don’t understand what happened at all.


I can try to write an article in the format of an answer to your question, but please note that I’m not an expert on Windows or system files. Here is a possible article:

If you have ever tried to access some system files in Windows 11, you may have encountered a problem where you don’t have the necessary permissions to view or modify them. This is because Windows 11 protects these files from unauthorized changes by assigning them specific owners and permissions. However, sometimes you may want to explore the contents of these files out of curiosity or for troubleshooting purposes. In that case, you may have tried to give yourself permissions to access these files, without changing their ownership. This can be done by using the `icacls` command in the command prompt, which can modify the access control lists (ACLs) of files and folders.

However, this can also be a risky operation, as it can expose your system files to potential threats from malicious apps that run with your user account. Therefore, you may have decided to undo your changes and reset the permissions of the files to their original state. This can also be done by using the `icacls` command with the `/reset` option, which can restore the default ACLs of files and folders. However, before you do that, you need to make sure that you have ownership of the files that you want to reset, otherwise you may encounter errors or access denied messages. This can be done by using the `takeown` command in the command prompt, which can transfer the ownership of files and folders to a specified user or group.

However, if you have done these steps in the wrong order, or without proper care, you may have caused more problems than you solved. For example, you may have reset the permissions of files that you didn’t own, or you may have taken ownership of files that you shouldn’t have. This can result in some files becoming inaccessible or corrupted, and showing a “parameter is incorrect” dialog when you try to open them. This can affect not only system files, but also other files and apps that depend on them. You may also notice some other issues, such as not being able to open a new ubuntu window in the terminal, or getting a “no package identity” error when trying to reset an app.

If you have encountered these problems, you may be wondering how to fix them and restore your system to a normal state. Unfortunately, there is no easy or universal solution for this, as different files may have different owners and permissions, and different errors may have different causes and effects. However, here are some possible steps that you can try to troubleshoot and repair your system:

  • Run some built-in repair tools: Windows 11 has some tools that can scan and fix various issues with your system files and disk. These include `chkdsk`, which can check and repair disk errors, `Dism`, which can scan and restore the health of your system image, and `sfc`, which can scan and repair corrupted system files. You can run these tools from the command prompt as an administrator, by typing the following commands:
  • `chkdsk /r` `Dism /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth` `sfc /scannow` These tools may take some time to complete, and may require you to restart your computer. After they finish, check if your problem is resolved. If not, proceed to the next step.

  • Restore your system to a previous point: Windows 11 has a feature called System Restore, which can create and restore snapshots of your system settings and files at different points in time. This can help you undo any changes that may have caused your problem, and return your system to a working state. To use this feature, you need to have created a restore point before you made the changes to your permissions, or have one created automatically by Windows. You can check if you have any restore points available by following these steps:
  • Open the Start menu and type “recovery” in the search box.
  • Click on “Recovery options” in the results.
  • Under “Advanced recovery tools”, click on “Open System Restore”.
  • Click on “Next” in the System Restore window.
  • You will see a list of available restore points, with their dates and descriptions. Select the one that is closest to the time before you made the changes to your permissions, and click on “Next”.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to confirm and start the restore process.
  • This process may also take some time to complete, and will restart your computer. After it finishes, check if your problem is resolved. If not, proceed to the next step.

  • Reset your PC: If none of the above steps work, or if you don’t have any restore points available, you may need to reset your PC to its factory settings. This will reinstall Windows 11 and remove all your personal files, apps, and settings. This is a drastic measure, and should only be done as a last resort. Before you do this, make sure that you back up any important data that you don’t want to lose. To reset your PC, follow these steps:
  • Open the Start menu and type “reset” in the search box.
  • Click on “Reset this PC” in the results.
  • Under “Reset this PC”, click on “Get started”.
  • You will see two options: “Keep my files” and “Remove everything”. Choose the one that suits your needs. If you choose “Keep my files”, your personal files will be preserved, but your apps and settings will be removed. If you choose “Remove everything”, everything will be erased from your PC.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to confirm and start the reset process.
  • This process will also take some time to complete, and will restart your computer several times. After it finishes, you will need to set up your PC again, and reinstall any apps that you need.

    Hopefully, one of these steps will help you fix the “parameter is incorrect” error and restore your system to a normal state. However, if you still encounter problems, or if you are not comfortable with performing these steps, you may need to seek professional help from a qualified technician or a Windows support service. They may be able to diagnose and repair your system more effectively and safely.


hope this article was helpful and informative. Thank you for reading. 😊

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