Fix Hard Drive/USB/File Folder 'Access Denied' Error and Restore Data

Tracy King updated on Dec 28, 2018 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


Cannot access data saved on your hard drive/USB/file folders because of an 'Access Denied' error? The best data recovery software from EaseUS will help you recover data from an 'Access is denied' error on your hard drive, external hard drive, USB or file folders on your PC. Let the software and solutions offered here to help you restore data and fix inaccessible storage devices with an 'access denied' error right now.

Problem: External hard drive is not accessible, access is denied, help!

"Hi guys, do you know how to get saved data out of the inaccessible external hard drive? 
This morning, I tried to open my external hard drive but I failed. It won't allow me to open the drive with an error message 'H:\ is not accessible. Access is denied'. I tried all USB port on my laptop, but still, no access is available. I cannot format the drive directly since I have quite a lot of important data saved in it. So what else can I do to solve the problem or fix the access denied error?

Access denied error repaired on hard drive.

When a hard drive failure error occurs or the file system of your storage devices such as hard drive, external hard drive, USB or SD card, etc, becomes RAW, it could block you from accessing the saved data. So, what can you do when your storage devices and important files become inaccessible due to an "Access Denied" error? Relax! We'll provide you with quick fixes and effective methods to help you fix an inaccessible hard drive with the "access denied" error without losing any data.

Quick Fix 1. Solve 'Access Denied' error with error checking tool

An Error Checking Tool is a built-in tool in Windows system for checking and fixing device errors. If you have access problems on your hard drive, USB, SD card or file folders, you can follow the guidelines below to fix the 'Access Denied' error on your device:

  1. 1. Connect an inaccessible device such as a hard drive, external hard drive, USB or SD card to your PC.
  2. 2. Open "This PC/My Computer" > Right-click on the inaccessible device or file folder and select "Properties".
  3. 3. Clic the Tools Tab > Click "Check/Check Now".

Fix access denied error on inaccessible storage device.

If this fixes your problem, you can directly open your drive and continue using data on it.
If this doesn't work, try Quick Fix 2 to continue fixing the "Access Denied" error on your devices.

Quick Fix 2. Gain permissions to inaccessible hard drives, USBs or file folders

If you don't have permissions to access the protected hard drive or USB, files, etc, you will not be able to open the drive and even get the "access denied" error message. 
So, another choice is to gain permissions for the inaccessible hard drive, USB or file folders:

  1. 1. Right-click the inaccessible hard drive, USB or file folder and select Properties.
  2. 2. Go to Security, click Advanced and navigate to the Owner tab.
  3. 3. Click on Edit, click your username under Group or username.

​​Fix access denied error.

  1. 4. Check all boxes in the Allow column and click OK, then click Apply to gain permissions to access your inaccessible device.

Get permission to access inaccessible device.

If you have important data, you can try Method 1 to get all the problems fixed without losing any data; If you don't need the data at all, you can skip to Method 2 to fix the inaccessible hard drive or storage devices.

Method 1. Fix inaccessible hard drive with "Access Denied" error without losing data

First. Restore data from an inaccessible hard drive first

In order to avoid any data loss trouble on the inaccessible hard drive, it's a wise choice for you to restore data from the inaccessible hard drive first. Powerful data recovery software - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, will help you to restore deleted, lost or formatted data on storage devices with a few simple clicks. You can directly download and apply this software to retrieve data from an inaccessible hard drive, USB or other devices with the steps below:

Step 1. Launch EaseUS hard drive recovery software

  • Run EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the drive on your hard disk where you lost or deleted files.
  • Click Scan to start scanning all lost data and files.
Select hard drive disk to scan

Step 2. Scan to find all lost hard drive data

EaseUS hard drive recovery software will scan the whole selected drive and find all lost files, including all existing and hidden data.

Scan to find all hard drive data

Step 3. Preview and restore lost hard drive data and files

  • You can find your deleted and lost files in "Deleted files", "Drive" (with your device drive letter).
  • "Lost Partition Files" or "Extra Files" will list your formatted and RAW data there.
  • You can double-click found files to preview them.

After the preview, please select wanted files that you lost on the drive and click Recover to save them to a safe location on your PC or other external storage devices.

Restore lost hard drive data.

Second. Format and reset the inaccessible hard drive to factory settings

After recovering the data from the inaccessible hard drive or storage devices, you can directly format the inaccessible drive to factory settings now:

  • Right-click on the inaccessible device - internal/external hard drive, USB or SD card etc and select "Format".
  • Reset the file system, label name etc on inaccessible devices and click "Start".
  • Click OK to reset the inaccessible devices to factory settings and solve "Access Denied" error.

Method 2. Manually check and fix the "hard drive is not accessible" error

Note: If you have important data saved on the inaccessible drive, do remember to let professional data recovery software help.

Step 1. Run CHKDSK to repair the inaccessible drive

  1. 1. Open a Command Prompt and type: chkdsk /f c: (replace c with the drive letter of your inaccessible hard drive).
  2. 2. Hit Enter to let the checking process to run.
  3. 3. When it's finished, type: exit and hit Enter to finish the process.

This will check and fix file system errors that block you from accessing storage devices.

Step 2. Change drive letter and format hard drive on inaccessible storage device

  1. 1. Right-click the inaccessible hard drive or devices and select "Rename" > Enter a new drive letter for your inaccessible device to see whether you can open the device or not.
  2. If it doesn't work, continue with the below tips.
  3. 2. Right-click "This PC/My Computer" > Select "Manage".
  4. 3. Click "Disk Management" and right-click on the inaccessible devices and select "Format volume".

Reset and rename the drive to clean up all the data on the drive and make it accessible for saving data again.


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Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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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