Microsoft made major changes in Windows 10 to fix the errors of previous versions. However, there are still many errors, and error messages that users have to face while using Windows 10 regularly. One of these issues is “Windows cannot access the specified device, device path, or file”. Users encounter this error message while opening an application or file from their hard drive.
If you are facing the same error on your computer and you are looking for a solution to this annoying application and file error, then you are at the right place. We will look at the possible causes of the device path and file location error message. We will also explain different ways to solve the problem on Windows 10.
What causes the error “Windows cannot access the specified device, device path, or file location”?
Each Windows error probably has multiple possibilities regarding its cause. As a user, you must know all the different reasons that can cause a particular error so that you can find out what is responsible in your case. Accordingly, you can take steps to find the solution to the error and fix the problem properly.
So – You may not have the necessary permission to access the file or application you are trying to open. This applies when you do not open the file as the administrator or when the file has been created by another user who has given you permission to open and modify the file.
file location – The file you are trying to open may no longer exist in the file location. This is likely to happen when you try to open indirectly through shortcuts, from the last folder, or through any application.
Malware – If your hard drive is infected with malware, the malware can block access to certain files. In fact, some files can be misplaced from the original file locations. Malware infection leads to modifications in system settings, corruption methods and processes that ultimately lead to errors during user interaction.
Antivirus software – Antivirus software makes changes to system settings and revokes access permissions for usernames except administrator for privacy and security concerns. So, it can interfere with your interaction with the system like accessing any file or application and the system can show you the respective error message.
Moreover, if you are accessing any file from an external device and the device is not properly connected to your PC, you can get the error message. All these are common reasons “Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file”. Aside from these, issues can occur for an entirely different reason. Whatever the cause, you should take the solution steps one by one to fix the problem.
How to fix “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file”?
Now that you have some ideas about what could be causing this specific error message to appear on your hard drive, it’s time to fix the problem. For each reason, there is a specific solution and thus, you have to try these solutions one by one until you can access the required file or application without seeing the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file”. Here are all the possible ways on how to fix “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file” issue.
Solutions to fix “Windows cannot access the specified device or file path”
- Edit file permission
- Check file location
- Recreate the file shortcut
- Unblock the blocked file
- Disable antivirus software
Method 1: Modify file permission
We have already mentioned that if you do not have permission to access a file or folder, you will see the error message. When there are multiple users on a computer, the administrator can set access permissions for only certain usernames which may not include your username.
If you are using a shared computer or a public computer, you must ask the administrator to grant you permission to access the file in question. However, if you are using a PC, here are the steps to fix the permission issue.
Step 1: Navigate to the file or folder that is causing the problem.
Step 2: Right-click on the file or folder and click on the Properties option from the menu.
Step 3: Go to the Security tab from the top of the properties window.
Step 4: Under ‘Groups or Usernames’, click on your username. Check the User Permission section to see what permissions you have.
Step 5: If you find anything under the Deny option, click the Edit button to change the permissions.
Step 6: Now, uncheck anything under the Deny column and make sure all the boxes are checked under the Allow section.
Step 7: Finally, click on the Apply and OK button respectively to give yourself the permission to access the file or folder.
Now, try to open the file itself and see if the issue is resolved.
Method 2: Check the location of the file
Let’s take an example where you are trying to open an application, for example, uTorrent. You are probably opening the app (uTorrent) from its desktop shortcut. If you are getting the error message “Windows cannot access the device uTorrent file”, it is very likely that the application file is not available in the specified location on the shortcut.
So, you need to check the location of the file on your hard drive and make sure that the file is actually in the location it’s supposed to be in. Here are the steps to verify file location.
Step 1: Navigate to the shortcut of the file, application, or folder that is causing the problem.
Step 2: Right-click on it and click on the Properties option from the menu.
Step 3: Under the General tab, check the location parameter for the location of the original file file that the shortcut represents.
Step 4: Select the location by dragging your mouse pointer over it and right-click and select Copy option.
Step 5: Now open My Computer or FIle Explorer. Double-click on the header section where the location of the file appears to edit it.
Step 5: Paste the location of the copied file by pressing Ctrl + P and then hit the Enter key.
Step 6: Now you should have the file location open on your window and you should check if the file is in the location or not.
If it doesn’t exist, you have to search for the file to find its location. If it is located in the intended location, then you should check other methods to solve the problem.
Method 3: Re-create the file shortcut
A major drawback of Windows is that when the location of the shortcut file changes, it is not automatically updated in the shortcut. This means that if you try to open the file from the shortcut, you cannot open it because the file is no longer in the original location. So, you have to recreate the file shortcut, and here are the steps to follow.
Step 1: Right-click on the empty space on the desktop and from the menu, go to New and then to Shortcut.
Step 2: From the Create Shortcut window, click on the Browse button and select the file from its current location on your hard drive. Click Next button.
Step 3: Enter a name for the shortcut and click the Finish button.
You should have the new shortcut on your desktop and now you can click on it to open the file without any problem.
Method 4: Unblock the blocked file
There are times when Windows can block certain files on your hard drive for the safety of your system. For example, if Windows considers a Valorant game to be malicious for any reason, it will block the file. When you try to open a Valorant game, you’ll get the error message “Windows cannot access the device specified Valorant.”
If you come across this error message, you should unlock the file if you think the file will not harm your computer. Here are the steps to block any blocked file.
Step 1: Navigate to the file or folder that is causing the problem and right click on it. Go to Properties from the menu.
Step 2: From the properties window, go to the General tab. Check the security parameter and if you see a message there with the option to unblock, then you need to select the option to unblock.
Step 3: Click the OK button to unblock the file.
Method 5: Disable the antivirus software
We have mentioned that malware, as well as antivirus software, can prevent you from accessing any file or folder. Therefore, you should first scan your computer with a third-party antivirus to detect any malware and remove them immediately.
If the problem persists, you should temporarily disable your antivirus. This is because some antivirus programs block some files on your hard drive and consider them malicious. If you try to open it, you will get the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file virus”. Here are the steps to temporarily disable your antivirus.
Step 1: Press Ctrl + Alt + Del and open the task manager.
Step 2: Go to the Startup tab and search for your third-party antivirus.
Step 3: Select your antivirus and click on the Disable button.
Step 4: Restart your computer and check if the problem is resolved.
Once you disable your antivirus here, it will no longer run automatically in the background when you restart your computer. You can always go back to the Task Manager to enable the antivirus again.
FAQ about “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file” –
Why is my access to the file denied?
There are several reasons why you may not be able to access a file.
– You may not have permission.
– The file is blocked by Windows.
– The file is corrupted.
The file is not in place.
The file has been quarantined by antivirus software.
How can I fix the “You do not have permission to access the file” error?
You must have permission to access the file. You can go to the file properties and from the security tab select your username and make sure that the permission is allowed.
How do I fix Access Denied on Windows 10?
If you’re on a shared or public computer, ask your administrator to give you permission to access the file. On your personal computer, you need to be logged in as an administrator and access the file. Otherwise, you can give yourself permission to access the file with the steps we mentioned in Method 1: Modify file permission.
What does the “Explorer.Exe Windows cannot access the specified device path or file” error mean?
This means that the file you are trying to access on Explorer or the file is blocked, corrupt, misplaced, orphaned, or you don’t have permission to access it.