Error 0x80070780: The File Cannot Be Accessed by the System

Sometimes, when you try to access some files or folders on the computer, external hard drive, or other USB devices, the "The file cannot be accessed by the system" message with the error 0X80070780 might pop up and prevent you from doing that. The issue can happen in Windows 10/8/7 due to various reasons, including file permission issues, system files corruption or missing, hard disk errors or bad sectors, the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable, or unknown virus or malware infection.

Error 0x80070780: The File cannot be accessed by the system

Generally, there are four common situations in which users may encounter error 0x80070780. Choose the specific situation of yours and apply the corresponding solutions to fix "the file cannot be accessed by the system".

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Case 1. Error While Accessing Files Perform data recovery > reinstall driver > disk cleanup > format the drive...Full steps
Case 2. Error While Copying Files Robocopy to copy files > backup files ...Full steps
Case 3. Error While System Backup Run SFC repair > disable security software...Full steps
Case 4. Error While System Restore Clean boot Windows with an admin...Full steps

Fixes for Error 0x80070780 "The file cannot be accessed by the system"

Different situations indicate different causes. While different causes imply different solutions. Follow to help yourself out of the frustrating error 0x80070780 with ease.

Quick Fix: Login as Administrator

Before you start, here is a quick fix that you may follow to get rid of the 0x80070780 error and access your files immediately:

Step 1. Click the Windows icon and click your username at the top.

Step 2. On the user account list, check if you are signing in as an administrator. If not, click to switch to "Administrator".

Switch user account to find missing files.

Step 3. Sign in with the password of your administrator account.

After this, try to open your files and folders files again on your computer. If files are openable, congratulations. You may stop here. If files are still inaccessible, follow solutions below to get rid of this issue.

Situation 1. Encounter Error 0x80070780 While Accessing Files

When you attempt to open your computer hard drive or external storage device and access its files, you may receive the notification telling you the file cannot be accessed by the system. In such a case, you are four options to choose from.

Method 1. Perform Data Recovery

If data recovery takes priority, you can first recover data with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. EaseUS data recovery software can retrieve your data from computer or external storage devices. It also works to recover lost data for certain or recover damaged/corrupted files in some cases.

 Download for Win Recovery Rate 99.7%
 Download for Mac Trustpilot Rating 4.7

It's worth trying to rescue your files using this reliable software especially when storage devices becomes inaccessible.

If the software fails to recover the files you want to retrieve, it's probably the items that are seriously corrupted or damaged. If so, learn how to recover corrupted files instead.

Method 2. Reinstall Device Driver

Device driver issues may result in the device not showing up problems on a computer, like USB not showing up in Windows 10, which can also make the files inaccessible. A good way to exclude driver issues is to reinstall device driver. You can rely on a professional tool: EaseUS DriverHandy. It can quickly scan and find out all computer drives and fix them intelligently.

Free Download 

Windows 11/10/8/7100% Secure

It will provide several solutions, such as repair, backup, and reinstall to fix all device drivers problems.

reinstall device drivers

Method 3. Perform Disk Cleanup

Step 1. Open "This PC", right-click your hard drive, then choose "Properties".

Step 2. Under the "General" tab, click "Disk Cleanup".

Step 3. Choose the files you want to delete and click "OK".

Fix error 0X80070780 -  Run Disk Cleanup

Method 4. Format the Drive

Formatting a drive can help solve file system errors and may help fix some disk errors that may result in error 0x80070780: The file cannot be accessed by the system. Since formatting will erase all the files existing on the drive, you are recommended to back up your precious files with free backup software in advance. Then format the hard drive without worrying about data loss.

Step 1. Open "This PC", right-click your hard drive, and choose "Format" in the menu.

Step 2. Assign a Windows-compatible file system to your USB and click "Start".

Step 3. In the warning window, click "OK" to confirm the operation.

Fix 0X80070780 - Format the drive

These are the workable tips for you to fix the error 0X80070780 "the file cannot be accessed by the system" when you try to access files on your computer or external storage device.

Situation 2. Encounter Error 0x80070780 While Copying Files

If you are told the file cannot be accessed by the system when you try to copy files from one location to another to make a backup. You can also try EaseUS EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard software to retrieve your data first. In addition, there are other two ways to achieve your goal of copying/backing up files.

Method 1. Use Robocopy to Copy Files

Step 1. Click the "Start" menu and type cmd.

Step 2. Right-click "Command Prompt" and choose "Run as administrator".

Step 3. In Command Prompt, enter the command:
"C:\Users\admin\Downloads\6-recover mac deleted files from trash" "F:\test"

The former path is where you store your source file, the latter path is the location of the files you want to copy to. Replace them based on your real needs.

Method 2. Back Files with Third-Party Software

Another alternative way to make a backup of your computer files is using third-party backup utility, like EaseUS Todo Backup. The software will help you back up your disk, partition, system, emails, and more from computer to another storage device, cloud storage, NAS device, and more.

Situation 3. Encounter Error 0x80070780 While Backing Up System

Many users have reported that they met the error 0x80070780 "the file cannot be accessed by the system" when they try to back up their system to an external hard drive. There are two solutions for this situation:

Method 1. Repair Missing or Corrupted System Files Using SFC.exe

One of the reasons that might be responsible for "The file cannot be accessed by the system" with error 0X80070780 is system file corruption. So, running the System File Checker tool to scan for corruptions in Windows system files and restore corrupted files may help. If it is the problem, you will be able to access your data and no longer get the error message after repairing the system file.

Step 1. Click "Start", go to "All Programs" > "Accessories", right-click "Command Prompt", and then click "Run as administrator".

Step 2. At the command prompt, type the command sfc /scannow and then press "Enter" to continue.

Step 3. The sfc /scannow command will automatically scan all protected system files and replace the incorrect versions with correct Microsoft versions. Just wait patiently to let the process complete.

Run FSC to check what casues 0x80070780 file cannot be acessed error.

If SFC command finds some corrupted errors, continue running CHKDSK command with the following steps:

Step 4. Type chkdsk E: /f /r /x and hit Enter. (Replace E: with the drive letter of your device where you cannot access or open files.)

Run CHKDSK to fix file cannot be accessed error with CHKDSK command.

This command will automatically check and fix found file system errors on the device where you cannot access files. 

Method 2. Disable Security Software As Admin

It's risky to disable security software on a computer. Thus, we suggest you temporarily turn it off and then re-enable it after you finish the backup.

Step 1. Go to "Start" > "Settings", then search for and open "Windows Defender settings".

Step 2. Open "Windows Defender settings" and click "Open Windows Defender Security Center".

Step 3. Click "Virus & threat protection". In the new window, choose "Virus & threat protection settings".

Step 4. Click to switch off "Real-time protection", "Cloud-delivered protection", and "Automatic sample submission".

Fix error 0X80070780 - Disable Security Software

By the way, the free backup software mentioned above can also help to migrate OS to a new drive, which is time-saving and helpful.

Situation 4. Encounter Error 0x80070780 While Performing System Restore

If you receive the error while performing a system restore, you can also temporarily disable the security software to have a try. Besides, performing a clean boot is also useful.

Method 1. Clean Boot Windows

If there is any misoperation during the process, your computer may be unusable. Thus, be careful following the steps below.

Step 1. Make sure you sign in as an administrator.

Step 2. Click "Start" and type msconfig.

Step 3. Click to run "System Configuration".

Step 4. Go to the "Services" tab, click the checkbox "Hide all Microsoft services" and then click "Disable all".

Step 5. Switch to the "Startup" tab, click "Open Task Manager".

Step 6. In Task Manager, go to the "Startup" tab, then select and disable all the startup items. Afterward, close Task Manager.

Step 7. Go back to the "Startup" tab in System Configuration, click "OK".

Step 8. Restart your computer.

Then your computer will start in a clean boot environment in which no third-party software will block your access to the files on your computer.

The Botton Line

Other than the solutions detailed above, there are other ways that have the chance to fix the error 0X80070780: the file cannot be accessed by the system, like repairing bad sectors on hard drives and performing a startup repair in Windows. But I hope one of the solutions above have solved the problem perfectly for you and you don't need to try the extra two tips that are much more complex.

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Updated by Daisy

Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working at EaseUS for over ten years, starting as a technical writer and moving on to being a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over ten years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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