Windows Security Log Event ID 4656

Operating Systems Windows 2008 R2 and 7
Windows 2012 R2 and 8.1
Windows 2016 and 10
Windows Server 2019 and 2022
 • Subcategory
Object Access
 • File System
 • Registry
 • SAM
 • Handle Manipulation
 • Other Object Access Events
Type Success
Corresponding events
in Windows 2003
and before

4656: A handle to an object was requested

On this page

This event is logged by multiple subcategories as indicated above.

When you enable auditing on an object (e.g. file or folder), this is the first event recorded when an application attempts to access the object in such a way that matches the audit policy defined for that object in terms of who is requesting the access and what type of access is being requested. (it appears that two subcategories must be enabled, Handle Manipulation and one other such as File System or Registry depending on what type of object you are auditing.)

This event will be Audit Success or Audit Failure depending on whether the user account under which the account is running has the requested permissions or not. 

This event's sub category will vary depending on type of object. In the example above notepad.exe running as Administrator successfully opened "New Text Document.txt" for Read access.

This event does not always mean any access successfully requested was actually exercised - just that it was successfully obtained (if the event is Audit Success of course).  To determine if any of the permissions requested were actually exercised look forward in the log for 4663 with the same Handle ID.

Win2012 adds 2 new fields: Resource Attributes and Access Reasons.

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Description Fields in 4656


The user and logon session that performed the action.

  • Security ID:  The SID of the account.
  • Account Name: The account logon name.
  • Account Domain: The domain or - in the case of local accounts - computer name.
  • Logon ID: is a semi-unique (unique between reboots) number that identifies the logon session.  Logon ID allows you to correlate backwards to the logon event (4624) as well as with other events logged during the same logon session.


This is the object upon whom the action was attempted.  

  • Object Server: always "Security"
  • Object Type: "File" for file or folder but can be other types of objects such as Key, SAM, SERVICE OBJECT, etc.
  • Object Name: The name of the object being accessed
  • Handle ID: is a semi-unique (unique between reboots) number that identifies all subsequent audited events while the object is open.  Handle ID allows you to correlate to other events logged (Open 4656, Access 4663, Close 4658)
  • Resource Attributes:  (Win2012) Resource attributes a new feature that allows you to classify objects according to any number of things like project, compliance, security level.    It's part of dynamic access control new to Win2012.  See this webinar See the Win2012 example below.   Also more information in this blog

Process Information:

  • Process Name: identifies the program executable that accessed the object. 
  • Process ID: is the process ID specified when the executable started as logged in 4688.

Access Request Information:

  • Transaction ID: unknown. 
  • Accesses: These are permissions requested.  The correspond to the permissions available in the Permission Entry dialog for any access control entry on the object.
  • Access Reasons: (Win2012) This lists each permission granted and the reason behind - usually the relevant access control entry (in SDDL format).
  • Access Mask: this is the bitwise equivalent of Accesses:
  • Privileges Used For Access Check: Lists any privileges requested.  The only time I'm aware of this field being filled in is when you take ownership of an object in which case you'll see SeTakeOwnershipPrivilege. 
  • Restricted SID Count: unknown.  Start a discussion below if you have information on this field!

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Examples of 4656

Win2008 examples

File example:

A handle to an object was requested.

   Security ID:  WIN-R9H529RIO4Y\Administrator
   Account Name:  Administrator
   Account Domain:  WIN-R9H529RIO4Y
   Logon ID:  0x1fd23

   Object Server:  Security
   Object Type:  File
   Object Name:  C:\Users\Administrator\testfolder\New Text Document.txt
   Handle ID:  0xb8

Process Information:
   Process ID:  0xed0
   Process Name:  C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe

Access Request Information:
   Transaction ID:  {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
   Accesses:  READ_CONTROL
     ReadData (or ListDirectory)
     ReadAttributes   Access Mask:  0x120089
   Privileges Used for Access Check: -
   Restricted SID Count: 0

Registry Key Example:

A handle to an object was requested.

   Security ID:  ACME\administrator
   Account Name:  administrator
   Account Domain:  ACME
   Logon ID:  0x176293

   Object Server:  Security
   Object Type:  Key
   Handle ID:  0x124

Process Information:
   Process ID:  0x8d4
   Process Name:  C:\Windows\regedit.exe

Access Request Information:
   Transaction ID:  {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
   Accesses:  DELETE
     Query key value
     Set key value
     Create sub-key
     Enumerate sub-keys
     Notify about changes to keys
     Create Link   
   Access Mask:  0xf003f
   Privileges Used for Access Check: -
   Restricted SID Count: 0

Win2012 example

A handle to an object was requested.

  Security ID: LB\administrator
  Account Name: administrator
  Account Domain: LB
  Logon ID: 0x3DE02

  Object Server: Security
  Object Type: File
  Object Name: C:\asdf\New Text Document.txt
  Handle ID: 0x178
  Resource Attributes: S:AI(RA;ID;;;;WD;("Project_MS",TS,0x10020,"Transmogrifier"))

  Process ID: 0x113c
  Process Name: C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe

Access Request Information:
  Transaction ID: {00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}
  Accesses: READ_CONTROL
    ReadData (or ListDirectory)
    WriteData (or AddFile)
    AppendData (or AddSubdirectory or CreatePipeInstance)
  Access Reasons:
    READ_CONTROL: Granted by Ownership
    SYNCHRONIZE: Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    ReadData (or ListDirectory): Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    WriteData (or AddFile): Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    AppendData (or AddSubdirectory or CreatePipeInstance): Granted by D:    (A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    ReadEA: Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    WriteEA: Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    ReadAttributes: Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
    WriteAttributes: Granted by D:(A;ID;FA;;;BA)
  Access Mask: 0x12019F
  Privileges Used for Access Check: -
  Restricted SID Count: 0


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