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"Windows cannot access the specified device or file" error

If you get the error "Windows cannot access the specified device or file" when you try to run a document or program, then this indicates that the system is unable to find the required item. Consider ways to solve the problem.

The reasons

The following factors can cause this problem:

  • No access permission;
  • The item is in an inaccessible location (for example, an external drive that has been disconnected);
  • The file has been moved or deleted;
  • One of the elements is damaged;
  • Windows 10 or antivirus may be blocking the file.


There are several ways to fix this error. Let's consider them in more detail.

Important! Before carrying out further manipulations, make sure that the file is not deleted.

1. Check the path to the element

If the location of the element is temporarily unavailable (located on an external drive that is disabled, etc.). You can check this through the settings.

Right-click on the element → "Properties". File properties

In the tab "General" → "Location" there will be a path to the necessary data. Location

Navigate to the specified location and make sure the element is located there.

2. Change permissions

Perhaps the user does not have the right to view or change the required file. You can fix the problem as follows.

Note! The account must have administrator rights.

Navigate to the folder that stores the desired item → right click on it.

Properties → Security tab. File properties

Select your user → "Edit". Change Security

Check the box next to "Full control". Permissions

Click OK.

3. Unlock file

Windows 10 security can block items that it considers malicious or dangerous. This is evidenced by the note "This file was received from another computer and may have been blocked to protect the computer" in the properties.

Note! If there is no blocking notification, then this method is not relevant.

Right-click on the element → "Properties". File properties

General tab → Unblock. File from another PC

Click OK.

4. Check the reaction of the antivirus

Some antivirus software may mistakenly consider user data (documents, programs, etc.) to be malicious. In this case, you need to check the reaction of the antivirus and add an element to the exclusions (if necessary).

Note! Avast Free Antivirus is used as an example. In other programs, the location and name of the items may differ.

Through the toolbar, right-click on the antivirus.

"Manage Avast Screens" → "Disable until computer restarts". Avast Screen

Important! If the PC is connected to the Internet, then it becomes vulnerable to virus attacks.

Run/open the required file.

If the element works fine, then add it to the exceptions:

Open antivirus → "Menu" → "Settings".Avast Menu

"General" → "Exceptions".Avast exceptions

Enter the file path → click OK.

Reboot your PC or through the toolbar, right-click on the antivirus.

"Manage Avast Screens" → "Enable All Screens". Avast Screen ON

5. Reinstall file

The most radical way to help fix the error. You need to delete the file and reinstall it.

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