How to Fix “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file” Error

Is your PC giving you the error message “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file” when trying to open a file or device path? Chances are you’re not the right one permissions to access the selected file or that the device you are trying to access is not connected to your PC at all.

There are several reasons why Windows displays the above-mentioned error. Follow some common solutions below to get rid of the problem.

Change the file permission

Windows can use the “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file” error when you try to open a file for which you do not have the correct permissions. You can enable all permissions on the file and that should solve your problem.

Windows makes it easy to change file permissions, and you can do it without using a command-line method.

  1. Open the folder containing the problematic file.
  1. Right click on the file and select Properties
  1. Select the Safety tab at the top.
  1. Of the Group or usernames section, select your user account and select the edit knob.
  1. Select your user account in the new window that opens.
  1. In the rights section at the bottom, uncheck all the To deny column.
  1. Select Apply followed by Okay At the bottom. Do this on the Properties window too.
  1. Try opening the problematic file again to see if the issue is resolved.

Connect the removable disk

If you’re solving the “Windows cannot access the specified device path or file” issue with a shortcut, the shortcut might lead to a file that was on a removable drive and that drive is no longer connected to your PC.

In this case, Windows cannot find the actual file behind your shortcut and eventually displays an error message. You can solve the problem by: connecting your removable drive back into your computer.

Once the drive is connected and you see it in File Explorer, run the problematic file and it should open just fine.

Connect the computer or NAS to the network

Another possible reason why Windows can’t open your file is that you saved the file to a network computer or NAS device and that device is not currently connected to the network. Windows cannot find the actual file when you double-click the shortcut to the file.

The easiest way to solve this problem is by: connect the other computer where the file is stored to your network† Once the computer or NAS has backed up from the network, run your problematic file and it should open without any problems.

Check the actual file of the shortcut

If your PC doesn’t open a shortcut, chances are the actual file behind the shortcut is no longer available.

An easy way to verify the existence of the file behind the shortcut is to use an Explorer window.

  1. Find your shortcut in File Explorer.
  1. Right click on the shortcut and select Properties
  1. Select the Shortcut tab on the Properties window.
  1. Select the Target box. Copy the full path to the file, but do not copy the actual file name.
  1. Open a Explorer window, select the address bar at the top, press CtrlV to paste the copied path, press Enter
  1. When the folder opens, your current shortcut will not work if the file for its shortcut is missing.
  2. If you see the file, there may be a problem with your shortcut. Create a new file shortcut on your desktop by right-clicking the file and . to select Send toDesktop (create shortcut)

Unblock the file

When a file comes from an untrusted source, such as the Internet, Windows tends to block access to the file. this is at protect your pc of any threats.

This blocking of untrusted files can cause Windows to display the error “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file” when you try to open an untrusted file.

You can tell Windows that the file is safe to open and Windows will unblock the file for you.

  1. Right click on the problematic file and select Properties
  1. Select the General tab at the top.
  1. Check at the bottom of the Unblock choice.
  1. Select Apply and then select Okay
  1. Double click on your file and it should open.

Turn off antivirus

Sometimes your antivirus detects safe files as suspicious files and prevents Windows from reading the file, causing the error message.

To solve this problem:

  1. Temporarily disable your antivirus.
  1. Try opening the file to see if it opens.
  1. If so, whitelist that file in your antivirus program so it doesn’t detect it as a threat. Usually you can whitelist files and apps from the settings menu of your antivirus program. You can also just Google the name of your antivirus, followed by “whitelisted app” and get the right steps.

Can you now access the file that was previously inaccessible? If so, let us know how you resolved the issue in the comments below.

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