Guide: Fix Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device Path Or File

By Adela D. Louie, Last updated: August 27, 2019

In case that you get an error message saying “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file”, then that only means that you do not have the permission for you to get through the item that you are trying to get in to. Well, do not worry because we have here the perfect solution for you to fix this type of error.

The error notification “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file” is one of the most common errors that you can have on your computer. It has been said that several users of Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 have this when they are trying to install, starting a program, or even update a certain program on their computer. An example of which is when you are trying to open up a certain file from your Word program or opening up a PDF file.

That is why in this article, we are going to show you ways on how you can fix the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file”. And at the same time, we are going to elaborate on why this type of error message appears on your computer screen.

Part 2: Ways on How to Fix Error “ Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device, Path, or File”Part 3: Conclusion

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Every problem comes with a reason as to why it exists. Same goes with the error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. And as what they say, you will not be able to fix anything if you do not know the reason behind. So in this case, here are the reasons as to why this error message shows up on your screen.

  • You currently do not have any permission to the file that you are trying to access.
  • You can be using a shortcut file for you to get into the file that is in an external drive. Or the file is located in a device that is not connected to your computer.
  • The file that you are trying to access has already been deleted or is moved over to another location.
  • The file that you are trying to access is corrupted.
  • The file that you are trying to access is currently blocked by Windows.
  • The file that you are trying to access is blocked by an Anti-virus program that you have on your computer.

There might be some other reasons for the error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. But regardless of that, you will still have this issue resolved by doing the solutions that we have indicated below.Windows Cannot Access Specified Device Path Or File

Part 2: Ways on How to Fix Error “ Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device, Path, or File”

Now that you can know the reason behind the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file, here are the solutions that you can do for you to fix it.

Solution #1: Check for Permission of File or the Folder You are Trying to Access

Since that the error message you are getting also says that “you could not have the appropriate permission to open up the item”, then what you will be needing to do is to see if you have the permission for you to open up the file or the folder. So here is what you will be needing to do.

Step 1: Go ahead and right-click on the file that you are trying to work with.

Step 2: Then from the drop-down menu that appeared on your screen, simply click on the Properties option.

Step 3: Then from the Properties window, go ahead and click on the Security tab and then select your name from the “Group or username” box. Here you have to see to it that you have the permission of the file or the folder that you are trying to access. This includes the following:

  • Full control
  • Modify
  • Read & execute
  • Read
  • Write
  • List folder contents

Step 4: Now, if the case is that you do not have the permission to the file that you are trying to access, then all you have to do is to click on the Edit button and then put a checkmark on all the boxes beside the permissions mentioned above.

Step 5: And once that you are done with marking all of the permissions, go ahead and simply click on the OK button for you to confirm the changes.

Solution #2: Check if the File is found at the Right Location

As one of the reasons that we have mentioned to you earlier, you will get the error message Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file if the program that you are trying to access is located on an external drive that is not connected to your computer. So if this is your case, then this is what you need to do.Check The File

Step 1: On your computer, go ahead and right-click on a certain shortcut.

Step 2: And then select on Property from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: The from the new window that appeared on your screen, go ahead and simply click on the Shortcut tab.

Step 4: From there, you can go ahead and look for the file or folder’s path in the Target section.

Solution #3: Unblock Your File or Folder

The error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file appears when the file that you are trying to open up is currently blocked by your Windows computer. Now, for you to be able to fix this issue, just simply unblock the file. And with that, here is what you will be needing to do.

Step 1: Goa head and right-click on the file that you are trying to access that has the error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file.

Step 2: Then from the drop-down menu that shows up on your screen, go ahead and select on the Properties option.

Step 3: From the pop-up window that appears on your screen, go ahead and simply choose the General tab.

Step 4: After that, you will then be seeing a message that says “The file came from another computer and might be blocked to help to protect the computer”. This message shows up if the file that you are trying to access is blocked by your Windows computer.

Step 5: If you see the error message, just go ahead and simply click on the Unblock box and then click on the OK button.

Once that you are done with the process, you can then go ahead and see if the problem Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file was resolved.Unblock Your File

Solution #4: Turn Off Your Antivirus

One of the reasons as to why you are getting the error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file is because of your Antivirus. This is because Antivirus tends to block some of the files that you have on your computer. So for you to fix this issue, all you have to do is to turn off your antivirus temporarily so that you can open your file on your computer.

And once that you have turned off the Antivirus on your computer, then you can go ahead and simply try to open up the file that you are trying to work with. And once that the file was able to open up, then clearly the problem is when your Antivirus is turned on, it is blocking your access to the file. So what we recommend you to do is to either uninstall your Antivirus or have it turned off when you are trying to access your file.

Solution #5: Make A Shortcut of the File

If in case that the file or the program that you are trying to access has a shortcut that is corrupted, then that is also the time that you are going to see the error message Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. So in this case, what you need to do is to make a shortcut for you to have the problem fixed. And with that, here are the things that you need to do.

Making a Shortcut on Windows 10 and Windows 7

Step 1: On your computer’s desktop, go ahead and right-click on a space and then a pop-up menu will show up on your screen.

Step 2: From there, go ahead and simply choose New and then click on Shortcut.

Step 3: After that, go ahead and simply select Browse and then choose the file or the program that you would like to create a shortcut.

Step 4: Once done, go ahead and simply click on the Next button.

Step 5: Then, go ahead and simply enter the shortcut name that you are making. Once done, simply click on Finish.

Making a Shortcut on Windows 8

If you are using a Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 computer, then here is what you need to do to make a shortcut.

Step 1: Go ahead and click on the Start button.

Step 2: After that, simply right-click on the file or the program that you would like to make a shortcut.

Step 3: After that, choose on the option Send to and then choose Desktop to make a shortcut.Make A Website Shortcut

Solution #6: Turn On the Account for Hidden Administrator

Some Windows users came up with a certain way for them to be able to fix the error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. And this method is by enabling the hidden administrator account. And for you to know how this works, here are the steps that you will be needing to do.

Step 1: Have your computer put in safe mode. The process of how you put your computer in safe mode depends on the version of your computer.

Step 2: Once that your computer is in safe mode, go ahead and open up your Command Prompt.

Step 3: From the Command Prompt, just go ahead and enter the following: net user administrator /active: yes.

Step 4: After that, simply go ahead and press the Enter key. And once that you are done with that, the hidden administrator account will then be turned on.

Step 5: Then simply go ahead and restart your computer in safe mode. From there, go ahead and select on the hidden administrator account for you to get into your computer.

Step 6: Then launch your Control Panel and put View in a small icon. Then you will be able to see the User Account. Just go ahead and click on it.

Step 7: And then click on Manage another account. Then select your account. After that select on Change Account Type and then choose Administrator. Lastly, go ahead and click on Change Account Type.

After doing all of the processes above, go ahead and restart your Windows computer one more time and have your account logged in. Once that you are in, you will be able to open up the file that you are having trouble with.

Part 3: Conclusion

The error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file is one of the most common issues that you can have in your Windows computer. This only means that it only happens when you are trying to open up a certain file or trying to run a program but your computer is merely preventing you to do so. And with the help of knowing the reason behind the problem, you will be able to solve this in no time.

That is why with all of the solutions that we have indicated above, you will be able to have this issue fixed real quick and you do not have to worry about anything. Just simply follow all the guidelines that we have provided depending on the cause of the error and you will have the error fixed and that you will be able to open up the program or the file on your Windows computer again.

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Adela D. Louie

Tech Website Writing /Content Optimization

Singing, smiling, surprising every day!

So as a technical writer, it is my duty to gather effective and reliable solutions to answer questions on how to deal with the issues they are having with their devices.

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