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

Tracy King updated on Jan 21, 2021 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.

The table below gives an outline of the fixes for 'Access Denied' error. Read the content for details.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Use error checking tool An Error Checking Tool is a built-in tool in the Windows system for checking and fixing device errors...Full steps
Fix 2. Gain permissions to the drive You can access the protected hard drive or USB, files, etc.. Right-click the inaccessible hard drive...Full steps
Fix 3. Format hard drive  First, restore data from an inaccessible hard drive with a powerful data recovery tool. Then, format...Full steps
Fix 4. Manually check and fix error Run CHKDSK to repair the inaccessible drive at first. Then, change drive letter and format hard drive...Full steps
Fix 5. Fix command prompt error The Command Prompt access denied error usually derives from insufficient privilege or write protection...Full steps

How do I fix Access Denied?

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 ports 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 on it. How do I fix hard drive access denied error without losing data?"

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.

What is Access Denied error?

As for the phenomenon of a USB access denied, SD card access denied, pen drive access denied, or other removable flash drive access denied, it's quite a common problem related to permission, file system, etc. It occurs when you are unable to open a file or folder, a service on your computer fails to start, cannot open a file on a network, unable to access a website, etc.

Other than the error message appearing in the real user story, the relevant error messages are varying from issue to issue, so as the troubleshooting workarounds. Hence, to make you clearly understand what causes access denied and how to fix access denied in various devices, platforms or applications, we'll explain this error in five cases, including most situations you may encounter. 

  • HDD/USB/SD card Location is not available, access is denied
  • Folder access denied. Cannot open, delete or move a file folder
  • Command Prompt access denied. Diskpart has encountered an error.

If you're experiencing the access denied error, even with other accompanying error messages, continue reading and try every means to solve it.

How to fix Access Denied error with error checking tool

An Error Checking Tool is a built-in tool in the 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. Click 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.

How to gain permissions to Access Denied hard drives, USBs or file folders

If you don't have permission 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 permission 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 to get all the problems fixed without losing any data; If you don't need the data at all, you can directly format the access denied drive to fix the inaccessible problem at once.

How to fix Access Denied without losing data

First. Restore data from an inaccessible hard drive

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 on your PC and select the drive on your hard disk where you lost or deleted files. Click "Scan" and let this program scan all lost data and files on the selected hard drive.

select a location and scan hard drive

Step 2. Check and preview all lost hard drive data.

Find lost hard drive data from "Deleted Files", "Lost Files" or use "Filter" to quickly navigate the lost data. Check and double-click to preview these found files.

Find and preview all lost hard drive data

Step 3. Restore lost hard drive data to a safe location.

Select wanted files that you lost on the drive and click "Recover" to save them. Choose a safe location on your PC or other external storage devices to save these restored hard drive data.

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.

How to 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 to export data in the first place.

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.

If you don't have any technical know-how and want to minimize data risks, using third-party software could be a better choice. The Command line is suitable for computer professionals since wrong commands can cause severe problems. Therefore, we strongly recommend you try an automatic command line alternative.

EaseUS Tools M is a practical computer fixing tool that is safe and light-weighted. It's a perfect alternative to CHKDSK command. Use this one-click tool to solve your computer issues.

To fix file system error or disk error:

Step 1: DOWNLOAD EaseUS Tools M for Free and install it.

Step 2: Open the software and select the "File showing" option. 

Step 3: Choose the drive and wait for repairing. After the operation completes, click the "View" button to check the drive. 

select the drive and check off file system error

Step 2. Change drive letter and format hard drive on the 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.

How to Fix Command Prompt Access Denied

The Command Prompt access denied error usually derives from insufficient privilege or write protection on the awaiting executing disk partition. For example, Diskpart has encountered an error, access is denied". 

Fix 1. Run Windows Command Prompt as Administrator

  • Press Windows + X keys to bring up a black context menu.
  • Choose Comand Prompt (Admin) to open the Command Prompt.

open command prompt as admin to fix command prompt access denied error

Fix 2. Remove write protection on the hard disk, external  hard drive, USB flash drive or SD card

  • Press Windows + R keys to open up the Run box.
  • Type regedit into the box.
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\StorageDevicePolicies
  • Now double click the "WriteProtect" key and change the value to 0.

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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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