Use this step-by-step guide to restore TrustedInstaller as the owner of your system files and folders to fix permissions errors.
- TrustedInstaller is a built-in system user account and is the default owner of several system files and folders.
- To change and modify a system file, you might have to change the default owner from TrustedInstaller to another user.
- Changing the owner of a file or folder from TrustedInstaller to another user causes several problems, including security risks and instability.
- You can restore the TrustedInstaller owner via Advanced Security Settings.
Sometimes, you might be forced to change the ownership of a file or folder from TrustedInstaller to another user. For example, if you want to modify a system file, you have to change the ownership of the file to your user account. If you don’t change the ownership of the target file or folder, you might see the access denied error when you try to open it.
Once you change the file ownership and make the necessary modifications, it is important to restore the TrustedInstaller owner to ensure the files work properly and without errors and are protected from any unintended modifications by you or another program.
If you are facing issues related to TrustedInstaller ownership or TrustedInstaller permissions, follow the step-by-step guide to restore TrustedInstaller as the owner of a file or folder in Windows.
Table of contents:
- What is TrustedInstaller?
- Problems associated with changing TrustedInstaller permission
- How to restore TrustedInstaller as the owner
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is TrustedInstaller?
TrustedInstaller is a critical component of the Windows Modules Installer and is responsible for installing, managing, modifying, and removing Windows updates and several other system components. As such, many system files and folders have TrustedInstaller as the default owner.
You can think of TrustedInstaller as a hidden system user account that is entirely managed by the system. Being a special system user, it is very different from your regular Standard or Administrator user accounts. For instance, You will not see it in the Windows users list.
Files and folders with TrustedInstaller as the owner cannot be modified by any other user, including the administrator, on your computer.
To put it simply, TrustedInstaller’s main job is to prevent tampering with important system files by you or any other program in your system.
Problems associated with changing TrustedInstaller permission
Though most don’t know or consider it, there are several problems associated with changing TrustedInstaller permission. Here are a few of those:
- Security risks: TrustedInstaller is the default owner of several system files and folders. By changing the TrustedInstaller owner of a file, you may be introducing security vulnerabilities by allowing unauthorized changes to be made to your system.
- System instability: Modifying TrustedInstaller permissions may cause conflicts with the system’s normal functioning, leading to instability and potential crashes.
- Loss of system functionality: Some system features may depend on TrustedInstaller for proper functioning. Changing its permissions may disable or cause problems with these features, resulting in a loss of functionality.
- Risk of data loss: Changing TrustedInstaller permissions may result in unexpected changes to the system, potentially leading to data loss.
Overall, it is generally only recommended to change TrustedInstaller permissions if you are an advanced user and fully understand the potential risks and consequences of doing so. Thankfully, if you do change the owner, you can restore TrustedInstaller as the owner for any file or folder in Windows.
The steps below work the same in Windows 10 and 11.
How to restore TrustedInstaller as the owner
You can restore TrustedInstaller as the owner of a file or folder from the Advanced Security Settings window.
Important: Create a system restore point before making changes. The restore point helps you revert the changes if something goes wrong.
Here’s how to change the owner of any file or folder to TrustedInstaller:
- Find the file or folder with the modified owner.
- Right-click on the file or folder.
- Select the “Properties” option.
- Go to the “Security” tab.
- Press the “Advanced” button.
- Click the “Change” link next to “Owner.”
- Type “NT Service\TrustedInstaller” in the blank field.
- Press the “Check Names” button.
- Click on the “Ok” button.
- Click the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons.
With that, you’ve restored TrustedInstaller as the owner of the file or folder.
Steps with more details:
First, find the file or folder with the modified owner. In my case, it is an executable file. After finding the file, right-click on it and select “Properties.”
Go to the “Security” tab in the file “Properties” window and click on the “Advanced” button at the bottom.
As the button name implies, it will open the “Advanced Security Settings” window. Here, you can manage various options like the owner, permissions, auditing, and more. Since we want to change the owner to TrustedInstaller, click the “Change” link next to “Owner.”
Windows now prompts you to select a user or group. Type “NT Service\TrustedInstaller” in the blank field and click on the “Check Names” button.
The above action will add the TrustedInstaller object name to the field. Click on the “Ok” button to confirm the user.
The changes are immediately reflected in the Advanced Security Settings window. i.e., the file owner is changed to “TrustedInstaller.”
(optional) While taking ownership, if you’ve also given yourself full user permissions over the file or folder, select your user account and click the “Remove” button. If you are not sure, then ignore this step.
(Optional) If you are modifying folder permissions, you might also want to select the “Replace owner on the subcontainers and objects” and “Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permission entries from this object” options to apply the changes to the files and folders inside the target directory. These options will not be visible for files.
Click on the “Apply” button.
If you see a warning or information window, click on the “Ok” button to continue.
The above action will change the ownership back to TrustedInstaller.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Here are a few frequently asked questions about TrustedInstaller in Windows.
TrustedInstaller is a part of Windows Modules Installer, and you can think of it as a hidden system user. Almost all the system files and folders have TrustedInstaller as the owner.
No, TrustedInstaller is not a virus, malware, or malicious program. It is a built-in component of Windows Modules Installer and acts as a system user to manage and protect important system files and folders.
No, you cannot remove or delete TrustedInstaller. Even if you can, you should not remove it because it is a critical component of Windows and is required to install, manage, modify, and remove Windows updates and other components.
Yes, you can change the TrustedInstaller permissions. For instance, if you want to modify a system file, you can change its owner from TrustedInstaller to your user account. However, only do this if you know the risks and problems associated with the change.
Yes, there are potential risks with changing TrustedInstaller permissions, including but not limited to introducing security vulnerabilities, causing system instability, and disabling certain system features.
Conclusion – TrustedInstaller as owner
That is all. It is that simple to restore TrustedInstaller as the owner of any file or folder. Keep in mind that you can only do this one file or folder at a time. Bulk changing ownership is not possible. So, if you have multiple files or folders, you have to follow the same steps for all of them individually.
I hope you have found this Windows how-to guide to be useful.
If you are stuck or need help, send an email, and I will try to help as much as possible.