Fix The System Cannot Find the File Specified | 10 Solutions

Meet the error message “The system cannot find the file specifed” in Windows 11/10/8/7? This article collects its causes and 10 effective solutions to help you fix it.


by Delia Updated on October 18, 2022

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Symptom: The System Cannot Find the File Specified in Windows 7/8/10/11

When creating a system image backup, accessing files, connecting USB or doing other things, you may get the message “Windows backup failed: the system cannot find the file specified". It is a quite common error for Windows users, especially for Windows 10 or 11. And the error usually indicates an error code 0x80070002. 

The System Cannot Find the File Specified

Causes to The System Cannot Find the File Specified Error

Various reasons can lead to the “The system cannot find the file specified” error in Windows 11/10/8/7. The following are common factors:

  • System files are missing or corrupted. 

  • Connection problems.

  • Missing driver file.

  • Abnormal registry keys.

  • Missing files in drivers.

  • Required files for the specific software are missing or corrupted.

  • Incorrect file permission settings.

  • ...

How to Fix The System Cannot Find the File Specified in Windows 

Now you know some common reasons that will cause the issue. Although the cause is unknown clearly, there are 10 solutions to solve the problem. Just keep reading.

Solution 1. Create RunOnce Registry Key 

This is the first method you can have a try to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” problem.

1. Press Windows key and R key together to open Run box.

2. Type regedit and press Enter.

Tip: Modifying the registry comes with certain risks, you’d better export your registry firstly to create a backup. Click File > Export to make it.

3. After you have backed up the registry, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.

4. Expand the key and look for RunOnce key. You can create it if this key doesn’t exist. Click the CurrentVersion key and choose New > Key from the menu.

Add Runonce

5. Type RunOnce as the name of the new key.

6. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion.

7. Check if the RunOnce key is there. If not, repeat the above steps to create it.

8. Exit Registry Editor and restart your PC.

Solution 2. Delete ProfilemagePath Key

When you are trying to create a backup using the Windows backup utility, backup error 0x80070002 occurs and prevent you from creating your backup. You can delete certain values from your registry to fix the problem. Below are the steps: 

1. Press Windows key and R key together to open Run box.

2. Type regedit and press Enter.

Tip: Remember to create a backup before making any changes. Click File > Export and choose a path to save the backup.

3. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList.

4. Expand the ProfileList key. Navigate through each subkey, and check whether it has ProfileImagePath value available on the right pane.

5. If certain subkey doesn’t have ProfileImagePath value available or if its Data is empty, you need to click it and then choose Delete button to delete it from the menu.

Solution 3. Open the Libraries Folder

The Libraries folder is hidden by default in Windows 10. Some users say that accessing the Libraries folder has helped them fix the system cannot find the file specified error successfully. You can also try it with the following steps: 

1. Open This PC.

2. Right-click the empty space in the left pane > choose Show libraries.

Show Libraries

3. Then you can find the Libraries folder in the left pane.

Solution 4. Run Antivirus Software

The virus, cyber threats, and malicious attack may cause "The system cannot find the file specified" error in Windows 11/10/8/7. You can run antivirus software and scan your system to work out this problem.

Solution 5. Run System File Checker

If the file is missing or corrupted, you can meet the system cannot find the file specified error when you are trying to access or backup some files stored on the system. In this case, you can run SFC scan to repair the missing files.

1. Type Command Prompt in the search box > Right-click its name and choose Run as administrator.

2. Type "sfc /scannow" into the Command Prompt window and press Enter to start.


3. When the process is done, type exit and press Enter to leave this command.

Solution 6. Run CHKDSK Scan

You may meet "The system cannot find the file specified" issue when the file is damaged or corrupted. You can run CHKDSK to scan the file.

1. Type Command Prompt in the search box > Right-click its name and choose Run as administrator.

2. Type chkdsk X: /f (replace X with the appropriate letter that matches your partition). Press Enter to start scanning.

Solution 7. Install Windows Update

Windows updates often help fix hardware and software error. You can go to have a check and update your Windows to the latest version.

1. Press Windows key and I key together to open Settings.

2. Choose Update & security > click Check for updates button.

3. If updates are available, download and install all the updates.

Solution 8. Uninstall and Reinstall the Drives

If you download the driver from the manufacturer’s website and meet “The system cannot find the file specified” problem, then you can try this solution.

1. Right-click This PC > choose Manage > Device Manager.

2. Expand the category and find the device you want to uninstall.

3. Right-click the device and choose Uninstall.

4. Check Delete the driver software for this device and click OK to confirm.

5. Finally, install the driver again.

Solution 9. Format the USB

The system cannot find the file specified error may happen when inserting your USB flash drive, on this occasion, you can format your drive to fix the problem.

1. Open This PC > right-click the USB flash drive > click Format...

2. Check Quick Format option when the format window opens.

3. Click Start to make it.

Format Usb

Tip: It will erase all the existed data on the USB flash drive, just backup your USB in advance to avoid data loss.

Solution 10. Use WinRAR

If you meet “The system cannot find the file specified” when trying to delete a specific file or folder, then you can try this method.

1. Right-click the problematic file > choose Add to archive...

2. Check Delete files after archiving > click the OK button.

Now you are able to delete the file completely.

How to protect your system and data in a powerful way

When you are encounter the system cannot find the file specified issue, you may not access it due to many reasons, for example, system files missing or corrupted, abnormal registry keys, etc. If you don't want to lose any data in the future, it's suggested to create a system image regularly with a reliable backup software for Windows PCs. Here I strongly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Standard

It will include every file, folder, system, installed program, even changes made later in a backup. Once something bad happens or this error occurs again, you can easily restore your computer to an earlier date including all the files. And you can check its advantages in the following before using it:

Backup system regularly: With it, you can use Daily, Weekly, or Monthly backup frequency, depending on how often you change files on the system partition. And you can set backup date, backup time, backup intervals separately.
Backup only changed files: This software use Incremental Backup as default backup method, which backup only changed files since last backup. Note it requires all the backups are intact while you restore system image to new hard drive or computer.
Multiple backup destinations: You can use it to backup to external hard drive, local disk, NAS network shared folder or other locations.

Now, you could download this free backup software to have a try! For servers users, try AOMEI Backupper Server

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

1. Click Backup tab after launching this software, and then select System Backup. The necessary partitions for a full system restore will automatically be included. 

System Backup

2.  Specify the backup target location by clicking the circled place and selecting it on the computer or network location.

Select Destination

4. Confirm the information and then click Start Backup to start the backup process.

Start Backup

That's all the steps for complete system backup in Windows 10 or other systems. It's really easy, isn't it? But if you want to run this task automatically, click "Schedule Backup" and Enable Schedule Backup, then select Daily, Weekly, or Monthly backup frequency.

Schedule Settings

It will be fine in a short time, but in a long run, this may result in backup disk full due to increasing backups. To avoid this problem completely, you can choose to delete old backup regularly based on quantity or backup cycle.

Click Backup Scheme under the Schedule Backup tab, then click Enable Automatic Backup Cleanup and select By quantity, By time or By daily/weekly/monthly cleanup methods.

By Quantity


That’s all for how to fix “The system cannot find the file specified” error in Windows 11/10/8/7. Hope one of the methods can help you get out of the trouble. Meanwhile, please note some operations may result in further data loss, thus it's suggested to create a system image backup with a free backup software like AOMEI Backupper.

And if you are worried about your computer may fail, you can choose to create a bootable media in advance. Then, you can restore system in a ny situation , even when it is not working.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.