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

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.

Table of Contents

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. Scan the hard drive partition

Select the drive on your hard disk where you lost or deleted files. Click "Scan" and let EaseUS data recovery software scan all lost data and files on the selected hard drive.

select a location and scan hard drive

Step 2. Check the results

When the scan completes, you can apply the "Filter" feature or click the "Search files or folders" button to find the lost files on the hard drive.

Find and preview all lost hard drive data

Step 3. Restore lost hard drive data

Select wanted files that you lost on the drive and click "Recover" to save them.

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.

Video Tutorial for Fixing Hard Drive 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.

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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Updated by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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