Fixes: Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device, Path, or File

Received the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device”? Check this tutorial to learn the causes and fixes.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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When I try to install a program, I get “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file.”

I have gone into properties to check if I’m able, and everything seems to check out there. I’ve also disabled my virus check program, and still, I get this message.


- Question from Windows10forum


“How do I fix windows cannot access the specified device file?”

After you have downloaded the software when you execute/open a program/file, an error message jumps out:

Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.


Now you cannot either open, read, or modify the item you want to access. That’s perhaps a relatively stressful issue.

But there is no need to panic; you will get helped by this tutorial with a detailed explanation of the possible triggers of this issue, and also the solutions will be listed in the next part.

Possible causes of the system cannot find the specified path/file

You may encounter this error in the following situations. Check if your circumstance can fit these potential causes.

  • The file or folder you want to open/edit was deleted, removed, or lost already. You may have permanently deleted the files in Windows 10 or emptied the Recycle Bin.
  • The system disabled the item you want to access.
  • The shortcut to the program or path might be corrupted.
  • Antivirus software has blocked/disabled the software/program.

Corresponding fixes are gathered below as well.

Troubleshoot: Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file

Check if any solution can help you out. If the method fails, please move on to the next one.

Fix 1. Recover the removed or deleted file/folder

If the file or folder has been removed from your device, then the path to it will not be available anymore, and when you try to start it, you will see “Windows cannot access the specific device, path, or file”.

Check if the item you want to access is still on your device; if not, you need to restore it. The usual fix will be to seek it in the Recycle Bin and restore it. It is the first course of action you could carry out.

If it is not in there, you might have permanently deleted files or emptied the Recycle Bin.

In this case, you could restore previous versions of files, recover them from your backups, or, without a backup, rely on a professional data recovery tool is also a preferable option to solve the problem with ease.

MyRecover would be the best choice. This tool scans the hard disk for deleted and missing files very quickly, which can save you from trouble in minutes.

As an excellent tool, it can restore 200+ types of data, 30 MB free each time. 
Restore all deleted data with the original formats/filenames/paths kept intact. 
It is compatible with many file systems: NTFS/FAT32/exFAT/ReFS, etc. 
Also, it supports a wide range of Windows operating systems, Windows 11/10/8/7 SP 1, and Server.

With all these excellent features, it facilitates all users easily recover deleted or lost files and folders from HDD/SSD/USB/memory card, etc.

Don’t hesitate; download and install it to get your deleted files back with ease.

Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run the program > Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. It scans the hard disk with Quick Scan and Deep Scan to locate your deleted and missing files.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > navigate to the exact path you cannot access > select the file you want > click Recover x files.


If no such file is detected, go to Other missing files > navigate to the exact file type you need > select files to restore.

Using such an efficient data rescue tool, you could easily solve Windows-related questions like “Does the Windows Scan and Fix delete files”.

Fix 2. Unblock file/folder

If the item is still there, but you just cannot read, edit, or execute it, there might be other problems.

Firstly, check if the system blocks it. If so, you need to unblock the file. Windows might block some items from other devices to segregate them and protect your machine.

Step 1. Right-click the file > Properties > tick Unblock if you see the message under the General tab: “This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer.”


Step 2. Then retry and see whether the system cannot access the device, path, or file.

Fix 3. Disable the antivirus software

Antivirus programs can also prevent you from access to an item when detecting possible virus threats.

For instance, Windows Defender automatically deletes files if it suspects them as viruses or threats.

If you are using or running an antivirus tool right now, try to disable it for a while.

  • But what is notable is that the shutdown of your antivirus software might put your machine at risk of a virus attack.

So it is suggested to enable it as soon as the “Windows cannot access to specified device, path or file” issue is fixed. Temporarily disabling will be okay.

Fix 4. Enable the permission to read/write/modify

Permission settings could be one of the possible causes. It controls and decides whether you can access the files or folders.

If there isn’t anything to do with the antivirus software, and your file/folder/program is not blocked, you could try this instead.

Go to check the permission of the file/item.

Step 1. Right-click the file > select Properties > click the Security tab > select the user name you are using under the Group or user names > click Edit.


Step 2. Specify the permissions. Allow the permission options if they are denied.


Then see if you can access the items you want.

Fix 5. Rebuild a shortcut to your file

If the shortcut has gone corrupted, it will be inaccessible. You could recreate one to fix it. For Windows 10 users, you could follow the steps below to make one.

Tap the Windows key > locate the program you want to access > drag it to the desktop. See if it can work properly. Or, you could delete the shortcut first and then rebuild one.

After that, see if the shortcut can work now.

Related suggestions

In this tutorial, the possible reasons and corresponding solutions to the issue “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file” are given with detailed instructions.

To escape from a similar dilemma, check these related suggestions.

  • Delete items carefully.
  • Don’t be in a rush to empty the Recycle Bin, in case you may need your files one day. If you need to recover items deleted from Recycle Bin, you could also seek help from MyRecover. 
  • Back up essential files, folders, and program data. You could let the professional backup software AOMEI Backupper protect your data.
Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.