If a file cannot be copied because of an Access Denied error message it is because the file security permissions are not set correctly (or the user does not have the access rights to the file). You either do not have the access rights to read the file, or do not have access rights to create/overwrite the file.

Network Security

This type of error commonly occurs when copying to a network share. On the computer that is sharing the folder over the network:

- Run Windows File Explorer
- Navigate to the folder you are sharing
- Right-click on the folder and select Properties from the pop-up menu > Sharing tab

- Click on 'Advanced Sharing' button
- Select a user or group from the list and tick the checkbox that says Full control

If it still fails try removing the share and recreating it with Full Control. This will reset the file permissions.

Note: it's likely that network access to files hosted on machines running later versions of Windows (by a
nother networked machine running an earlier version of Windows) may be more problematic due to (more) restrictive security in the newer version of Windows, and/or security modes, access tokens, etc., that differ between the two systems). Older versions of Windows are generally less restrictive in that respect, so you may have more success installing on the machine with the newer Windows version and accessing the older machine/version's files over the network. Such a setup may thus be able to access the files on both sides more easily.

Encrypted Blocked Files

If you download a file, e.g. using Internet Explorer, to an NTFS volume, then the file may be marked as blocked by Windows. You can see if a file is blocked by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties from the pop-up menu. At the bottom of the General tab it will say if the file is blocked or not (This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer). You can click the Unblock button to unblock the file. If a file is both NTFS encrypted, and blocked, then you cannot copy the file from a remote computer. You must either unblock it or unencrypt it. It is possible to configure Windows not to block downloaded files automatically:

- Run gpedit.msc
- Go to: User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Attachment Manager
- Enable: Do not preserve zone information in file attachments

This change will only take effect on new files and not existing files.

Encrypted Files

If a file is encrypted you may also receive an Access Denied error. This behavior can occur if another user has encrypted the file.

To determine if a file has been encrypted: Start Windows Explorer, and then click Detail on the View menu to view the details of the folder's contents. Click Choose Columns from the View menu, and then click to select the Attributes check box to add the Attributes column to the current view, and to view the file attributes. If there is an "E" in the Attributes column for that file, the file is encrypted.

To resolve this behavior, the file must be decrypted by the user who encrypted the file, or by the designated Recovery agent. Files that are encrypted by using the Encrypting File System (EFS) are accessible only to the person who encrypted the file, regardless of the other permissions that are on the file.

Network Drives

If you are connecting to a UNC path, e.g. \\server\share\folder\, then it may be that you are connected to it using a different user account. Although you can specify which username to use (in your profile settings) Windows will not use that username if there is already a connection to that server, even if it is using a different username. Try rebooting and then running your profile (so that SyncBack has a chance to connect to the server with the user credentials you've supplied).

File Security

If you are not using a network share check that the file security permissions are correct for the file being read and/or the folder where it is being copied to. 

To set, view, change, or remove permissions on files and folders

  • Right-click the file or folder for which you want to set permissions, click Properties, and then click the Security tab.
  • Click Edit to open the Permissions for <Object> dialog box.
  • Do one of the following:
    - To set permissions for a group or user that does not appear in the Group or user names box, click Add. Type the name of the group or user you want to set permissions for, and then click OK
     - To change or remove permissions from an existing group or user, click the name of the group or user
  • Do one of the following:
    - To allow or deny a permission, in the Permissions for <User or Group> box, select the Allow or Deny check box.
     - To remove the group or user from the Group or user names box, click Remove.

Additional considerations

  • Performing this procedure might require you to elevate permissions through User Account Control.
  • To open Windows Explorer, click Start, point to All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.
  • You can set file and folder permissions only on drives formatted to use NTFS.
  • To change permissions, you must be the owner or have been granted permission to do so by the owner.
  • Groups or users that are granted Full Control permission for a folder can delete files and subfolders within that folder, regardless of the permissions that protect the files and subfolders.
  • If the check boxes under Permissions for <User or Group> are shaded or if the Remove button is unavailable, the file or folder has inherited permissions from the parent folder.
  • When adding a new user or group, by default, this user or group will have Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read permissions.

You may also get Access Denied error messages when using the Backup read/write file copying method in your profile configuration. If so, try switching it to Standard Windows file copying.

Bypassing File Security

If you are a member of the Backup Operators user group then you may be able to bypass the file security. Note that this method does not work for backup to Zip files or to FTP, and is not relevant to SyncBackFree. 

If you added yourself to the group, then close SyncBackSE/Pro and restart it. Modify your profile, enable Expert mode, and go to the Copy/Delete - Advanced page of the profile configuration. Enable the option "If a file cannot be copied because of security (Access Denied) then try Backup Read/Write copy method" and save the profile. If you still get Access Denied errors it may be because of the "Make safe copies" option (also on the Copy/Delete - Advanced page of the profile configuration). With the safe copies option enabled SyncBackSE/Pro will copy a file to a temporary file, and if it copies correctly, then it will replace the actual file with the temporary file. This avoids problems like network connections dropping during file copying (which would corrupt your backup file). However, there is no way to bypass file security when moving files, only when copying files. Because of this you may need to switch off the "Make safe copies" option, but be aware of the risks involved in doing this.

NAS Devices

Some Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices give an Access Denied error message when the "Make safe copies" option is enabled. Try switching off the "Make safe copies" option on the Copy/Delete -> Advanced page of the profiles configuration. It is also strongly advised that you check to see if you are using the latest firmware for your NAS device.

SyncBack Touch

SyncBack Touch is a cross-platform file server. It lets SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE copy files to and from another device, e.g. Windows, macOS, Linux or Android device. SyncBackFree cannot use SyncBack Touch. Simply install SyncBack Touch on the device you want to access the files on and then create a profile in SyncBackPro/SE to use that device. 

On Windows, SyncBack Touch runs as a Windows service in the background. It can copy open/locked files and also has access to all the files the Windows internal system account can access. This means the user running SyncBackPro/SE doesn't need to be an Administrator to copy open/locked files, nor do they need to be one to access all the files. This means you may be able to get around the Access Denied errors by using SyncBack Touch.

You may receive Access Denied errors if your antivirus program blocks SyncBack from accessing or changing profile files (e.g., <ProfileName>_Logs.ini, <ProfileName>_RHistory.ini) stored in the profile storage location (e.g., "C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\2BrightSparks\").


Check if your antivirus or security software is blocking SyncBack files. If so, add SyncBack app or the folder path to the list of safe or allowed apps to prevent them from being blocked.