How to correct the ‘error occurred applying attributes to a file’

If an error occurs when applying attributes to a file, don’t panic, it’s not difficult to fix. This error can occur because the file or folder does not belong to the active user, the file is encrypted, etc. In the meantime, you can read this post from Techquack for viable methods to solve this problem.

When you try to open certain files hosted locally or on a shared domain, you may encounter the error message “An error occurred while applying attributes to the file.” Regardless of which action you choose on this prompt, it will be repeated the next time you try to open the file.

What caused the “Error occurred while attributing file attributes” error message? Possible causes include: the file or folder does not belong to the active user, insufficient permissions, an encrypted file, or a corrupted system file. Now follow the instructions below to fix this problem.


What is the cause of the “Attribute application error on file” problem?

What is the cause of the "Attribute application error on file" problem?

The file or folder does not belong to the active user: In most cases, this error message appears because the active user is not authorized to manage the file. This usually happens after migrating to Windows 10, when the user wants to save old files. In this case, you can fix the problem by assigning the folder.

Insufficient permissions: It turns out that the problem can also occur in situations where the user needs to change certain attributes, but the currently configured permissions are insufficient. If this scenario applies, you can easily solve the problem by opening the properties window and adjusting the permissions.

A file encrypted: If you received a file as an email attachment or downloaded it from the Internet, you may see an error message because the file in question is encrypted. In this case, you can solve the problem by asking the owner of the file to share the encryption certificate so that you can open the file.

Damaged system files: Another likely culprit that can lead to this error is corrupted files. In this case, the problem can be solved by resetting all components of the operating system. You can either perform a clean installation or save your personal data by performing a repair installation (in situ update).


How to solve the “Error of applying attributes to a file” problem?

How to solve the "Error of applying attributes to a file" problem?

Attributing a file or folder

Usually, in Windows 10, the message “Error applying attributes to file” appears because either you don’t have the proper permissions or the file is encrypted. When you updated Windows 10 from previous versions, some account information may have changed, depriving you of access or ownership because you no longer own certain files or folders.

This problem can be solved by restoring ownership using the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the folder you want to own.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Click the Security tab.
  4. Click the Advanced button.
  5. Click Edit. When prompted for the administrator password or confirmation, enter or confirm the password.
  6. Enter the name of the person to whom you want to transfer ownership.
  7. Click Check Names. The name of the account of the person to whom you are assigning the property is displayed.
  8. Click OK.
  9. If you want this person to be the owner of the files and subfolders contained in this folder, select the Replace owner on the subfolders and items check box.
  10. Click OK.
Make sure you have the necessary permissions

File and folder access issues, such as Windows 10 errors when applying attributes, may be related to permissions that determine whether you can access or modify files and folders.

Follow these steps to check permissions:

  1. Right-click a file or folder, and then select Properties.
  2. Click Security.
  3. Under Group or Username, click on your name to see what permissions you have.

You must have read permission to open the folder. To change the permissions for a file or folder, follow these steps (log in as an administrator to change permissions for files and folders):

  1. Right-click the file or folder and select Properties.
  2. Select the Security option.
  3. Under Group or Username, click on your name to see what permissions you have.
  4. Click Edit, click on your name, check the permissions you want, and then click OK.
Check to see if the file/folder is encrypted

Encryption protects files and folders from unwanted access. You cannot open an encrypted file/folder without an encryption certificate, but check if it is encrypted by following these steps:

  1. Right-click the file or folder.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Click the General tab.
  4. Click on Advanced.
  5. Make sure the “Encrypt content to save data” checkbox is selected. If so, you need to get the certificate that was used to encrypt the file or folder to open it. If you don’t have a certificate, get one from the person who created or encrypted the file or folder, or ask that person to decrypt it.
Create a new account

If your user profile is corrupt, Windows may deny you access to files or folders. Therefore, you must use a new user profile by first creating a local user account, which in turn creates a user profile.

To create a local user account :

  1. Click Start and select Settings
  2. Select Accounts
  3. Click on “Family and others
  4. Click on the “Add someone else to this PC” button.
  5. Fill out the form with your username and password. Your new account will be created.
  6. Click on “Change account type
  7. Click on the drop-down arrow to set the account to the local user level.
  8. Reboot your computer.

Log in with the account you just created and see if the file or folder can be accessed. If the problem no longer exists, it could mean that your other user profile is corrupt. You can try the following if your user profile is corrupt.

  1. On the new account, use the downgrade of the regular account.
  2. Click Apply or OK.
  3. Update your old account to return to the default administration level.
  4. Rinse and repeat the process several times to eliminate corruption.
  5. Leave your account activated as an administrator
Launch Microsoft Safety Scanner

Microsoft Safety Scanner is a tool for finding and removing malware on Windows computers. It only scans when you run it manually, then you can use it for 10 days after you download it.

However, it does not replace your antivirus program. It removes the malware that caused the problem from your Windows 10 computer.

How to manage the Microsoft Security Scanner :

  1. Download and open the tool
  2. Select the scan type
  3. Start the analysis
  4. View the results of the screen scan, which lists all the malware found on your computer.

To delete the Microsoft Safety Scanner tool, remove the msertfile.exe by default.


Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Take possession of the file or folder.
  2. Check if you have the necessary permissions.
  3. Check if the file/folder is encrypted.
  4. Create a new account.
  5. Run Microsoft Security Scanner.
  6. Restore the files in Windows. old folder.

A file attribute (often simply called an attribute or flag) is a specific condition under which a file or directory can exist. Files and directories do not actually change when attributes are applied or removed, they are just understood differently by the operating system and other software.

  1. Create a new account.
  2. Change the security settings to open the folder.
  3. Change permissions.
  4. Allow full access.
  5. Use the UAC settings to have different permissions.

Press the Windows + R keys to open a runtime window. Then type "cmd" and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open the extended command prompt. After completing the process, restart your computer and make sure that the "Extended Attributes are inconsistent" error is corrected at the next startup.