Core system files are protected by the Windows operating system so that they cannot be manipulated by users of the system or applications the user runs on the system that easily. That's a good thing as it will not only prevent users from deleting files that are needed to operate the system, but also prevent - some - malware from doing the same.
Sometimes though you may need to modify a file manually that is protected by Windows. This can be quite the frustrating experience when you notice that you do not have control over some files on your system at all.
You cannot just copy a different file version to the location the protected version is stored by Windows, as you will get access denied errors when you try to do so.
There are a couple of ways around that, for instance to take ownership of files or to boot into another operating system to manipulate the files externally.
Access denied example when trying to replace the uxtheme.dll file in the system32 folder:
Destination Folder Access Denied
You'll need to provide administrator permission to move to this folder.
You need permission to perform this action.
The free program can be used to replace files in Windows that are protected by the operating system. It performs the operations that you would run manually to replace those files.
In particular, it does the following:
To use it, simply select the original file and the replacement file in the program interface and hit the start button afterwards. The program handles everything on its own from that moment on.
Note: You need to run the program with elevated privileges. It will refuse to be started otherwise and displays a notification to you to inform you about that.
The program is really easy to use, and since it is creating a backup of the original file before it replaces it, it is relatively safe to use. You can open the backups folder of the application with a click on open backup folder in the program interface. It was located in c:\SysMate_Backup on my test system.
SysMate System File Walker is a handy program for the Windows operating system that helps you replace system protected files while the operating system is running. Note that it requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 or 4.0 (two versions are supplied.
It is compatible with all recent 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows operating system.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.