How to Repair “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file” Problem in Windows Computers

You may get this exact error when you try to run a program or open a file on a Windows computer. And simply getting the necessary permission may not help. That’s why so many people ask the same question and seek further help from Microsoft support and some famous forums.

What are the possible reasons why Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file? Why don’t you have permission to access the file? With this guide, you will be able to understand the reasons and learn all the effective solutions to fix the problem when Windows cannot access the specified device. Let’s get started right now.

What are the reasons for the “Windows can’t access the specified device, path or file” error?

  • You don’t have the necessary permissions to access the file. Intentionally or not, you may not have the necessary permissions to open/modify an application or file.
  • The location of the file is not available or does not exist. The file you are trying to access may no longer exist on your computer.
  • The file has been modified or deleted by malicious software. If you are infected with malware, it may modify or delete your files.
  • An antivirus application blocks your access. Antivirus apps are notorious for causing errors in Windows 10. Here’s a method to make sure your antivirus app isn’t causing this error.
  • The file is in an externally inaccessible location. If you have saved a file on a network or an external hard drive that is no longer properly connected to your PC, you will get a “Windows cannot access the specified device or file path” error.

How to resolve the “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file” error message?


Disable or uninstall antivirus software

This error can occur if antivirus software is blocking a file or folder. If you have antivirus software installed, try disabling or uninstalling it to see if the problem is resolved.

Check to see if the file or folder has been deleted

It is also possible that the file was deleted if you opened the file or folder through a shortcut. If a location is available, navigate to it and check if the file or folder is there.

Check the resolution of the file or folder you want to open

  1. Right-click the file or folder you want to open, and select Properties.
  2. Click the Security tab. In the Group or User Name section, select your name and click Edit.
  3. In the Group or User Name section, select your name.
  4. Under Permissions, in the Allow column, check the box next to the permission you want to have.
  5. If you’re not sure which permission to choose, check all the boxes.

Make sure the file location is available

  1. Right-click on the shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Shortcut tab. You will then see if the destination is available or not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Right-click on a file or folder and go to Properties. Click on the "Security" tab and click on "Change" with the words "To change permissions, click Change". On the next screen, you can select an existing user from the list or add/remove users and configure the necessary permissions for each user.

  1. Temporarily turn off your antivirus software.
  2. Check that the file or folder is authorized.
  3. Unblock the file.
  4. Check the location of the file.
  5. Restore a deleted or erased file.

Find Settings, then open the Settings app. Then click on Accounts > Family and other users. Finally, click on your username, then click Change Account Type. Then select Administrators from the Account Type drop-down list and click OK.

  1. Select Properties.
  2. Click the Security tab.
  3. Click the Advanced button.
  4. Click Edit next to the owner's name.
  5. Click the Advanced button.
  6. Click Search Now.
  7. Select your username and click OK.
  8. Click the OK button.