Quick fix - Drive is not accessible access is denied in Windows 10/8/7

Roxanne updated on Dec 11, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles

Windows 10/8/7 Explorer prevents you from opening the drive d, e or f due to the error 'drive is not accessible access is denied', how do you manage to get into the data? First of all, we provide a unique yet effective solution to gaining access/permission to the current drive; second, as a complementary solution, recommend a piece of hard drive data recovery software to scan and recover data from an inaccessible storage drive.

How do I fix access denied error on an external hard drive?

"For some unknown reasons, my Seagate external hard drive stopped working last week. Every time when I plug it into my laptop and try to open it, I get a popup box that says "Location not available: G:\ is not accessible. Access is denied". How do I fix the error? I am using Windows 10."

Have you ever been caught in such a situation and tried to access a hard drive partition that is inaccessible? If yes, here, you can read how to fix the drive is not accessible error without losing data. 

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Remove drive not accessible in Explorer Right-click on the inaccessible hard drive, select "Properties". Switch to the "Security" tab...Full steps
Fix 2. Recover data and format the disk Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the inaccessible drive to scan...Full steps


Nowadays, external hard drives are widely used by people to store personal data like text files, pictures, audios, videos, etc. But sometimes, the disk shows 'Location is not available', along with the details "Drive X: is not accessible. Access is denied" error message, and this error prevents users from accessing any of their files. Many PC & Laptop owners have reported this issue in many different situations as well as on different versions of operating systems like Windows 10/8/7.

To fully illustrate how this problem arises and how it ends, I did an experiment to give you an example. I created an exact situation on my own computer and followed the same path to resolve the issue finally.

Beforehand, to test out the effectiveness of the solution in the next part, I disabled the user authorization in the drive E: properties. Sure, the drive can be replaced by drive D:, F: or G:, or any other existing drive partition that may run into the same error as showcased here. Take my own computer as an example, I modified the E drive properties, and now I got a greyed out NTFS drive, with the information of free space & used space lost, too.

When I double-click on it, I got the error message" E:\ is not accessible. Access is denied" as expected.

fix drive is not accesible access is denied - step 1

When I click "OK", nothing changes here.


Usually, when your external hard drive shows the "Drive is not accessible. Access is denied" error message, it suggests that you don't have the privilege of accessing to the disk partition. So, to fix the issue, you have to take ownership to get permission. 

To fix "Drive is not accessible. Access is denied" error in Windows Explorer:

Step 1. Right-click on the inaccessible hard drive, select "Properties". Switch to the "Security" tab, where you should see the reason why you aren't able to open the drive with the info saying "You must have Read permissions to view the properties of this object. Click Advanced to continue". Then click "Advanced" as told.

fix drive is not accesible access is denied - step 2

Step 2. Click "Change" to attempt the operation with administrative permissions.

fix drive is not accesible access is denied - step 3

Step 3. When asked to select User or Group, choose the "Advanced" option first. In the Common Queries, select "Find Now", which will give a list of search results of user names. 

Generally, Windows adds four user groups to the Security, including Authenticated users, Administrators, Users, and System. If you add just Administrators and System, you'll disallow to access the disk and even read its properties such as the used & free space. That's why you need to add the Users account into the Security.

Scroll down to find the "Authenticated Users", by clicking "OK" to add it.

fix drive is not accesible access is denied - step 4

Tip: If you don't clearly know which section you're missing in the Security, try to add several more names in the same way until you got the right permission. Otherwise, choose "Everyone" to allow access with no limit.

Step 4. Confirm saving the changes you've made. Return to the Explorer, and now my drive E shows normal again. I can open it without receiving any further error message.

fix drive is not accesible access is denied - step 5

To recover data and format disk to fix "Drive is not accessible. Access is denied" error:

If Windows Explorer properties cannot help, you can move to recover data from the inaccessible hard drive and format the disk for repair. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard comes handy whenever Windows detects your hard drive, though you lost the access to the drive, it can help you to scan and recover all the data files, including the lost items a long time ago, from the currently not opening hard drive. Once it finishes the scan, you choose files to recover.

Download and launch EaseUS data recovery software.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard on your computer. Select the hard drive which becomes inaccessible on your PC. Click "Scan" to let this program scan and find your hard drive data.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. After the scan, you can preview and check found files on the scanning result window. Click "Filter" to quickly find a specific type of file. You can preview the file by double-clicking it.

select wanted files

Step 3. Finally, select the items you want to get back and click "Recover". Choose a secure location (second hard drive partition on your PC or another external storage device). And then click "OK" to start recovering all lost data from your inaccessible hard drive.

recover data from inaccessible drive

After the data recovery has finished, go to My Computer or This PC, right-click the disk you need to repair and then choose Format. In the pop-up window, you can set a file system and cluster size and then click the OK button.

format the drive which is not accessible access is denied


On this page, we covered two practical fixes to help you thoroughly get rid of "Access Denied" error from storage devices on Windows 10/8/7 by gaining access permissions from File Explorer and formatting device to accessible again.

Some of you may still have relative questions related to this issue. Check the following three questions and you may find desired answers.

People Also Ask

1. What is not accessible?

For a literal explanation, not accessible is an inaccessible area or an inaccessible goal. As for a not accessible error that pops up on your computer, it means that your current storage device is inaccessible, you can neither open it nor access the saved files and data on the device.

2. Why is my hard drive access denied?

Usually, when your external or internal hard drive shows the "Drive is not accessible. Access is denied" error, it suggests that you don't have the privilege of accessing to the disk partition.

To fix the issue, you have to take ownership to get permission. 

3. How do I fix Access Denied hard drive not accessible Windows 10?

As suggested on this page, to fix Access Denied hard drive, you'll have to take ownership of your Windows 10 computer.

  1. 1]. One way is to take the authentic permission from Windows as listed in Fix 1 on this page.
  2. 2]. The other way is to force the device accessible by changing its file system by formatting as listed in Fix 2 as listed above.

If you are having a similar issue while trying to open a hard drive, USB, or even a file folder, and you need more practical fixes, follow to Fix Hard Drive/USB/File Folder 'Access Denied' Error and restore data on your own. 

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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.

About Data Recovery Wizard

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