Q. Why did upgrading to Windows 10 kill my ability to access my Office files? Microsoft press

Q. Why did upgrading to Windows 10 kill my ability to access my Office files?

Q. I upgraded to Windows 10. All my Microsoft Office documents and folders were read-only. I reverted back to Win7 to be able to access my files. Why did this happen? How can I open and edit my Office documents in Windows 10?

A. This error isn’t limited to Windows 10; it can also happen with some Windows 7-to-Windows 8 upgrades. Typically, it’s the result of a mangled ownership security attribute for files or folders. This makes Windows treat your files as if they were being accessed by a different user!

Because you’ve already reverted back to Windows 7, here's what you can do:

  • Make a full backup or image.
  • Manually copy your user files and folders to a safe location, off the main hard drive. Make sure to copy all files that were locked after the Windows 10 upgrade.
  • While still in Windows 7, delete the original versions of the troublesome user files and folders. Be sure to delete all previously locked files and folders.
  • Now, do the Windows 10 upgrade again.
  • When the update is complete, copy your user files back from wherever you stored them.

Because the files that you stored off the main drive were not processed in any way by the Windows 10 upgrade, you should be able to copy them into your new setup — and access them normally.


(Originally published on Windows Secrets on Thursday, November 12, 2015.)


Editor's note: We feature an abridged Q&A from Fred Langa's LANGALIST, a column available exclusively to paid subscribers of the Windows Secrets newsletter,. What you see here is just a small sampling of what Langa's writing for the newsletter — go here for more information on how to subscribe.

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