Fix 0x80070780: The File Cannot Be Accessed by the System Error in Windows 10/8/7 [10 Fixes]

Roxanne updated on Jan 22, 2021 to Data Recovery Resouce | How-to Articles

If you receive "Error 0x80070780: The file cannot be accessed by the system" while trying to access, copy, delete, or edit files on your Windows computer, don't worry. We provided 10+ fixes to help you fix error 0x80070780 from four different aspects. If you lost data during the process, download EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your files quickly.

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.

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 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.

Step 1. Select a location and start scanning.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, and hover on the partition where you lost data, be it a hard disk drive, external disk, USB, or SD card, then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Preview and select the files you want to recover.

When the scanning has finished, select the data you want to recover. Double-click the file to check its content if you need to.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data.

After choosing the data, click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the files.

Recover lost data

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.

Fix error 0X80070780 - reinstall driver

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 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.

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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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files, so verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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