Fix 'Windows Cannot Access the Specified Device Path or File' Error

Receiving Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You do not have the appropriate permission to access the item error while trying to start a program or open a Word file. Do not worry about being unable to access your important files, EaseUS data recovery software can help find files which were even removed, deleted, hidden, transferred, etc.

Table of Contents

Quick Fix - Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device Path or File

windows cannot access the specified device path or file(Quick fix) Method 1. Check the permission of the file or folder to fix Windows cannot access the specified device path or file:

To check the permission of the file or folder, follow the steps below: Right-click the file or folder, and then select "Properties". Select the "Security" tab. Under Group or User names, click your name to see the permissions you have. Select "Edit", and then select to check the checkboxes for the permissions that you need, and then select "OK"...Read more>>

Altogether, we have provided you with four effective solutions to solve Windows cannot access the specified device path or file error.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Gain File Permission Right-click the file or folder and select "Properties". Under Group or User names...Full steps
Fix 2. Check the File Location Right-click on the file or folder and select Properties. Under the General tab...Full steps
Fix 3. Unlock the File/Folder Right-click the blocked file and then select "Properties". Select "Unblock"...Full steps
Fix 4. Recover Lost Files Choose the file location to scan. Let the software scan the lost files...Full steps

Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device Path or File Error Details

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

Windows cannot access the specified device , path or file

You may receive the exact error while you are trying to start a program or open a file on your Windows computer. Apparently, simply gaining the required permission doesn't solve the error effectively, that's why so many people are posting the same question and asking further help from Microsoft support and some prevailing forums.

So, what are the possible reasons that make Windows fail to access the specified device, path, or file as normal? What's the reason that you don't currently have permission to access the folder? What sensible suggestions should you follow to make sure that you don't necessarily lose programs and files?

Now, read on the causes and the solutions. Then solve this error without losing access to important data files on a specified device.

Four Causes for "Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device Path or File" Error

As long as you see the message "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item", you must think of the four reasons below:

  • You don't have permission to the file or file location.
  • File location/path isn't accessible or even doesn't exist.
  • Antivirus software prevents files from opening.
  • The file has been deleted, removed, transferred, or hidden by the virus.

4 Effective Fixes for Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device

Now that you've known the reasons for the "Windows cannot access the specified device path or file" error, you can try the following methods to resolve the problem. 

Method 1. Gain the Permission of the File or Folder

Now that the error suggests that "you may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item", you should first check if you have the permission of the file or folder. To gain permission to access a file or a location, do as follows.

Step 1. Right-click the file or folder and select "Properties".

Step 2. Under Group or User names, click your name to see the permissions you have.

Step 3. Select "Edit", where you can have permissions like full control, modify, read & execute, read, write, or special permissions. Choose the permissions you need and click "OK".

gain the permission of the folder or file

Method 2. Check the File Location

You may also get this error if the shortcut or installation is attempting to access a location that is not currently available such as a networked or a removable drive. Check the path of the file and make sure that the location is accessible.

Step 1.Right-click on the file or folder and select Properties.

Step 2. Under the General tab, check the location, make sure that the file path is correct and accessible.

check the file location

Method 3. Disable Antivirus and Unlock the File/Folder

What antivirus software are you using? You can check to see if your antivirus software is blocking a file by temporarily disabling it, and then trying to open the file. Then unlock the file. In some cases, the file may be blocked by Windows. You can check the properties of a file to see if it is blocked. 

  • Right-click the blocked file and then select "Properties".
  • In the General tab, select "Unblock" if the option is available.

Method 4. Recover the Deleted/Removed/Corrupted File

If the 'Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file' error was caused by an unknown deletion, corruption, feel free to download EaseUS data recovery software to bring lost data back. This powerful data recovery software can not only recover files but also recover photos, pictures, images, audios, and videos from HDD, USB, or external hard drive. If your inaccessible files or folders are on a removable hard drive or flash disk, connect it to a Windows PC where EaseUS hard drive recovery software installed. Make sure the software has detected your device.

Now, follow the steps to recover files that Windows cannot access normally.

Step 1. Choose the file location to scan.

Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer. Choose the drive where you lost files and click "Scan". If your lost files were on an external storage device, connect it to your computer firstly.

select the file location and click scan

Step 2. Scan the lost files.

The software will start immediately a quick scan for deleted files, and later a deep scan will launch to scan more lost files all over the selected drive. After the scan, you can use the Filter to quickly filter a specific file type.

scan the lost files

Step 3. Preview and restore files.

Double-click on a file allows for a full preview. Finally, select the desired files, click "Recover" and browse a location to save all the files at once.

recover lost files

All the provided fixes and file recovery solution aims to resolve 'Windows cannot access the specified device, path, and file' error, which might occur on desktop contents, explorer.exe, and other locations when opening a file, trying to install, update or start a program.

Windows Cannot Access The Specified Device Path or File FAQs

'Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or files. You may not have the appropriate permission to access the item.'  might appear when you try to start a program or open a file on your Windows computer. The following are some highly relevant topics to this problem, check the guides if you need. 

1. How do you fix Windows cannot access the specified device path or file Windows 10?

  • Gain the permission of the file or folder
  • Check the file location
  • Disable antivirus and unlock the file/folder
  • Recover the deleted/removed/corrupted file

2. How do I get permissions in Windows 10?

  • Open File Explorer. Browse and find the file or folder you want to have full access to.
  • Right-click it, and select "Properties".
  • Click the "Security" tab to access the NTFS permissions.
  • Click the "Advanced" button. On the Select User or Group page, click "Find Now".
  • Then select your user account and click "OK". On the Select User or Group page, click "OK".
  • Click "Apply", then click "OK".

3. How do I get permission to access a network computer?

  • Open Windows Explorer and go to the folder whose permissions you want to get.
  • Right-click the folder and then choose "Properties" from the contextual menu.
  • Click the "Sharing" tab; then click "Advanced Sharing". Click "Permissions". The dialog box shown appears. This dialog box lists all the users and groups who have permission for the folder. 
  • When you select a user or group from the list, the checkboxes at the bottom of the list change to indicate which specific permissions you've assigned to each user or group.
  • Click the "Add" button. Choose or enter the name of your computer.
  • Select the appropriate Allow and Deny checkboxes to specify which permissions to allow for the user or group.
  • Click "OK" to finish the process.

4. How do you fix you must have read permissions to view the properties of this object?

  • Take ownership of the file or folder.
  • Get proper permissions.
  • Recover lost data.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech life easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. On her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Jean

Author Jean has been writing tech articles since she was graduated from university. She has been part of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her special focuses are data recovery, disk partitioning, data space optimization, data backup and Mac OS. By the way, she's an aviation fan!

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