How to Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified

Brithny updated on Sep 18, 2019 to Resource | How-to Articles


You may receive the notification "The system cannot find the file specified" under different situations. To help you cope with this annoying issue, here we detail four commonest cases in which you get the message "The system cannot files the file specified" and present you the way to recover files lost during the fix using EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

"The system cannot find the file specified"

"The system cannot find the file specified" is an error that may happen on Windows 10 or earlier versions and usually indicates an Error Code 0x80070002. The error may occur under various conditions, but most people receive this prompt when they:

  • Access a local hard drive, external hard drive, USB, and more in Disk Management
  • Access files and folders on your computer
  • Launch a program
  • Install Driver
  • Back up system

the system cannot find the file specified

How to Fix "The system cannot find the file specified"

Depending on your situation, the solutions to the problem "The system cannot find the file specified" vary. Identify your situation and find the corresponding solutions below.

Situation 1. Receive "The system cannot find the file specified" While Accessing a Hard Drive

A situation of getting the notification is that your USB drive is locked by some program and becomes inaccessible. In such a case, when you try to right-click the disk and choose "Change Drive Letter and Paths" in Disk Management, the prompt saying "The system cannot find the file specified" will appear. To make your device usable again, the solution is to clean and then partition the hard drive using the diskpart command in CMD. However, since the process to fix the device using CMD will erase data from your hard drive, you are highly recommended to recover files from your inaccessible device in advance using the hard drive recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

Procedure 1. Recover Data from Hard Drive

Whether it's an external storage device or local hard drive, you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover data from the device. It is able to retrieve deleted/formatted/lost files and get back data from formatted or inaccessible hard drives. To regain access to your precious files:

Step 1: Select the location - Open the file recovery tool and select a location where you have lost data after Windows 10 update.

scan the data after windows 10 update

Step 2: Scan the location - Click the "Scan" button and the program will start the scanning process.

wait patiently during the scanning process

Step 3: Recover lost data - Find the desired data by clicking the "Filter" option. Once you have selected the wanted files or data, click the "Recover" button to get them back right away.

recover data after windows 10 update

Procedure 2. Fix the Hard Drive via Diskpart

Now that you have kept your files safe, you can follow the steps below to fix the device without any worries.

Step 1. Run Command Prompt as an administrator.

Step 2. Enter diskpart and click "Yes" to allow this app to make changes on the computer.

Step 3. Enter the following commands one by one:

  • list disk
  • select disk 1 (Replace "1" with the number of your problematic disk)
  • list disk (Now you will see a star in front of the disk you selected)
  • clean (Then you will receive a notification asking you to insert a disk. Click "Cancel". Repeat the "clean" command until you succeed.)

Step 4. If you have successfully cleaned your disk, enter the following commands in order:

  • list disk
  • select disk X
  • create partition primary
  • select partition 1
  • active
  • format fs=fat32 quick ("fs" means the file system you want to assign to the partition, be it FAT32, NTFS, or exFAT. "quick" indicates "quick format".)

If the process goes smoothly, you are now able to access your hard drive or USB drive and use it for data storage again.

Situation 2. Get the Prompt "The system cannot find the file specified" While Accessing Files/Folders

It also happens that you will see the error message when you try to open a folder or file by double-clicking it. There are three solutions to this situation.

Method 1. Check the System Log File

Step 1. Navigate to the C:/Windows/inf directory and open Inf folder.

Step 2. Locate the or file and open it.

Step 3. Press "Ctrl + F" hotkey and type cannot find the file in the search.

Step 4. Press "Enter" to run the search. You should get the missing file.

Step 5. Copy and paste it into the Windows/inf folder.

Step 6. Reinstall the hard disk driver and reboot the system.

Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified - show system log file

Method 2. Look for Files via Regedit

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" and enter regedit. If there is a prompt asking for permission, click "Yes".

Step 2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion and check if there is "RunOnce". If not, add it manually.

Step 3. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion and check whether there is "RunOnce". If not, create it manually.

Step 4. Quit Registry Edit, restart your computer and install hard disk drivers again.

Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified - check registry

Method 3. Check for RTHDCPL in Registry Key

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" and enter regedit. If there is a prompt asking for permission, click "Yes".

Step 2. Go to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run\ and look for RTHDCPL. If it doesn't exist, check for "Run" property and set the Admin-user permission as "Full Control", press "OK" to continue.

Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified - check registry key

Be careful not to delete content from your registry since it may result in serious issues on your computer.

Situation 3. See the Prompt Saying "The system cannot find the file specified" While Launching Programs

This one seems to occur frequently among users. Apply one of the three methods below to have a try.

Method 1. Update your hard disk driver

Step 1. Go to "This PC" > "Manage" > "Device Manager".

Step 2. Expand "Disk drives"

Step 3. Right-click the disk and choose "Update driver"

Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified - update driver

Method 2. Reinstall the Program

Step 1. Quit the program.

Right-click on your taskbar and choose "Task Manager"

Under the Processes tab, select the program, and then choose "End Task"

Step 2. Reinstall your program

Go to "Windows Settings" >  "Apps" > "Apps & features"

Click the problematic program and choose "Uninstall"

Go to Microsoft Store, download the application, and then install it again.

Step 3. Restart your computer.

Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified - uninstall program

Method 3. End nginx.exe Process

You may feel unfamiliar with nginx.exe, which is an essential Windows process. The notification "The system cannot find the find specified" may result from the fact that the Windows OS starts or restart the nginx.exe abnormally. To fix it:

Step 1. Right-click on your taskbar and choose "Task Manager".

Step 2. Under the Processes tab, select nginx.exe, and then choose "End Task"

Step 3. Download nginx.exe again and restart it.

Situation 4. Receive "The system cannot find the file specified" While Installing Drivers

If you encounter the notification when you install a driver, you can try method 2 or method 3 in situation 2 to fix the "The system cannot find the file specified" error.

Situation 5. Get the Error Message "The system cannot find the file specified" While Backing Up System

If your condition fits this situation, you have several options to try. In addition to trying method 3 in situation 3, you can also try the two tips detailed below.

Method 1. Install Windows updates

If you haven’t updated Windows for a long time, “The system cannot find the file specified” error is a sign that it's about time to install all pending updates. For this purpose, you have to:

Step 1. Press "Windows + I" keys and select Update & Security.

Step 2. Click "Check for Updates" and wait.

Step 3. When the list of available updates is revealed, install all of them.

Step 4. Repeat the same procedure several times to ensure that all needed updates have been installed.

Step 5. Don’t forget to restart the system to finish the installation of updates.

If you find files are missing after Windows update, you can restore the files with the help of EaseUS's data recovery freeware. This free tool allows you to recover lost files in Windows 10, 8 or 7 etc due to the system upgrade, system crash, careless deleting or virus attacking within three simple steps.

Method 2. Check Services Settings

Step 1. Go to the Start menu and type services.

Step 2. Go to "Background Intelligent Transfer Services", right-click it and set the "Startup type" to "Automatic" or "Automatic (Delayed Start)", then click "Start".

Step 3. Go back to find "Cryptographic Services" and "Windows Update", then set their "Startup type" to "Automatic", too.

Step 4. Don't forget to click "Start" to initiate the service and click "Apply" > "OK".

Fix the System Cannot Find the File Specified - Check Services

The Bottom Line

Since the error message "The system cannot find the file specified" may appear in many situations, it's almost impossible to include all the solutions in one article. Thus, we have presented you the four commonest situations and the most effective fixes for them. Hope one of the tips above can fix "The system cannot find the file specified" for you successfully.


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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 to better 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.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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