Error 0x80070780: The File Cannot Be Accessed by the System
Sometimes, when you trying to access some files or folders on the computer, external hard drive or other USB devices, "The file cannot be accessed by the system" message with 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 issue, 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.
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".
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 hard drive data recovery software. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 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.
It's worth trying to rescue your files using this reliable software especially when storage devices becomes inaccessible.
Note: To guarantee a high data recovery chance, install EaseUS data recovery software on another disk instead of the original disk where you lost files.
Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7 computer. Select the disk partition or storage location where you lost data and click "Scan".
Step 2. This recovery software will start scanning the disk to find all lost and deleted files. When the scan process completes, click "Filter" > "Type" to specify lost file types.
Step 3. Preview and restore lost Windows files. You can double-click to preview the scanned files. Then, select the target data and click the "Recover" button to save them to another safe spot in the PC or an external storage device.
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:
Step 1. Connect your USB drive to your computer if that's where the problem occurs, right-click "This PC", and choose "Properties" > "Devices Manager".
Step 2. Click on "Disk drives", right-click on your USB drive that is not showing and choose "Uninstall device".
Step 3. In the prompt asking you to confirm the removal, click "OK".
Step 4. When the uninstalling process has done, restart your computer and reconnect the USB drive to the PC. After the computer restarts, the driver will be automatically installed.
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".
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.
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 data recovery 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.
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.)
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".
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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