PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied

PermissionError: [Errno 13] Permission denied :

This happens if you are trying to open a file, but your path is a folder.

This can happen easily by mistake.

To defend against that, use:

import os

path = r"my/path/to/file.txt"
assert os.path.isfile(path)
with open(path, "r") as f:
    pass

The assertion will fail if the path is actually of a folder.


There are basically three main methods of achieving administrator execution privileges on Windows.

  1. Running as admin from cmd.exe
  2. Creating a shortcut to execute the file with elevated privileges
  3. Changing the permissions on the python executable (Not recommended)

A) Running cmd.exe as and admin

Since in Windows there is no sudo command you have to run the terminal (cmd.exe) as an administrator to achieve to level of permissions equivalent to sudo. You can do this two ways:

  1. Manually
    • Find cmd.exe in C:\Windows\system32
    • Right-click on it
    • Select Run as Administrator
    • It will then open the command prompt in the directory C:\Windows\system32
    • Travel to your project directory
    • Run your program
  2. Via key shortcuts
    • Press the windows key (between alt and ctrl usually) + X.
    • A small pop-up list containing various administrator tasks will appear.
    • Select Command Prompt (Admin)
    • Travel to your project directory
    • Run your program

By doing that you are running as Admin so this problem should not persist

B) Creating shortcut with elevated privileges

  1. Create a shortcut for python.exe
  2. Righ-click the shortcut and select Properties
  3. Change the shortcut target into something like "C:\path_to\python.exe" C:\path_to\your_script.py"
  4. Click “advanced” in the property panel of the shortcut, and click the option “run as administrator”

Answer contributed by delphifirst in this question

C) Changing the permissions on the python executable (Not recommended)

This is a possibility but I highly discourage you from doing so.

It just involves finding the python executable and setting it to run as administrator every time. Can and probably will cause problems with things like file creation (they will be admin only) or possibly modules that require NOT being an admin to run.

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