Windows Cannot Access the Specified Device – What Should You Do?

Have you tried to install or update a program on your PC and received an error message instead? It might be that you don’t have the right permissions to access the required file. Despite being so popular, Windows still comes with a bunch of errors that might make it challenging to get things done on your computer.

Windows Cannot Access the Specified Device - What Should You Do?

There could be a whole host of reasons why you are having problems. Here, we intend to look at what those reasons might be.

This article will identify the causes of error messages when installing or updating programs. We shall also look at what you can do to fix the issues.

Why Windows Cannot Access the Specified Device

When trying to install, start, or update a program, you might get an error message informing you that you can’t access the device. Several scenarios might make this error message occur. Let’s look at what they might be below and what fixes would work for them.

You Do Not Have the Right Permissions for the File

Files have rules associated with them that determine who can access them and what they can do with the file. If you are having difficulties accessing a particular file, it might be because you don’t have permission to do so. To change file permissions, you will have to be an administrator on the PC. Here’s how to check if you have permission to access the file and modify the rules accordingly.

  1. Open the folder that contains the file in question.
  2. Right-click on the file and select “Properties.”
  3. Tap on the “Security” tab.
  4. Scroll to “Group or user names” and click on your name to see your permissions.
  5. Tap “Edit” and tick the checkboxes of the permissions you require.
  6. Click “Apply” then “OK.”

You should now be able to access the required file.

The File Location Is Not Currently Accessible

You might be receiving an error message because the file you are looking for is not currently available. This could be because it’s in an external drive that is not connected to the computer. It could also be that the file is on a network computer disconnected from the network. To check if your file is accessible, you must verify its path. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the file and right-click on it.
  2. Select “Properties” then “General.”
  3. Check “Location.” It will show the path to your file.
  4. Select the path indicated and right-click to copy the link.
  5. Go to “File Explorer” and paste the link in the address bar.

The file location should now be displayed. If it isn’t, the file you are looking for is not on your computer. Therefore, your options are to attach your external drive to your computer or reconnect the other network PC to access tour file.

Verify the File’s Shortcut

You might be receiving an error message because the shortcut to the file is corrupt or no longer available. To verify that it is still working correctly, follow the steps below:

  1. Open “File Explorer” and type your shortcut in the address bar.
  2. Right-click on it and select “Properties.”
  3. Under “Properties,” navigate to the “Shortcut” tab.
  4. Scroll to the “Target” box and copy the path to the file.
  5. Go back to “File Explorer” and paste the copied path to the address bar.
  6. Click “Enter.”

If you don’t see the file, then the file isn’t on the computer. If the file is displayed in the window below, you need to fix your shortcut. You can do this by right-clicking on your file. Select “Send to” then “Desktop (create shortcut).”

Unblock the File

On occasion, Windows may block files it thinks might be harmful to protect your computer. Here are the steps to check if this is what has happened and to unblock it:

  1. Right-click on the file and select “Properties.”
  2. Navigate to the “General” tab and scroll to see if “This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer” appears. It should be next to the “Security” section.
  3. If the text is displayed, tick the “Unblock” box and press “OK.”

Your file is now unblocked and should be accessible when needed.

Disable Antivirus

Your antivirus program may have mistakenly labeled your file as suspicious. This might prevent Windows from reading your file, resulting in an error message. To fix this, you can temporarily disable your antivirus software by using the steps outlined:

  1. Right-click on your taskbar and select “Task Manager.”
  2. Navigate to the “Startup” tab and scroll to your antivirus software.
  3. Click the “Disable” button at the bottom right of the window.

Now you can check to see if your file is accessible.

Additional FAQs             

How do I fix an “Access Denied” error message?

If you get an “Access Denied” error message when trying to access your files, it might be because the ownership of the file has changed. It could also be a result of file encryption. To resolve this:

1. Right-click on the file and select “Properties.”

2. Tap “Security.”

3. Go to “Advanced,” then “Change.”

4. Type in your password if you receive a prompt to do so.

5. Input the name of the person you want to give ownership to, then press “Check Names.”

6. The name should now be displayed. Click on “OK.”

7. To reassign ownership to the person whose name you typed in, check the box labeled “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects.”

8. Tap “OK.”

You should now have permission to access the file.

On the other hand, if the file is encrypted, you have to have an encryption certificate to open it. Here’s how to find out if the file is encrypted.

1. Right-click on the file and then go to “Properties.”

2. Tap “General” then “Advanced.”

3. Check if the “encrypt content to secure data” box is selected.

How do I access files if my user profile is corrupted?

Windows may occasionally not read your local user profile correctly. This would leave you unable to access files on your computer. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you might have to create a new user profile. You can do this using the steps that follow:

1. Go to “Settings” on your PC.

2. Tap “Change PC Settings.”

3. Click on “Users” then on “Add Users.”

4. Select “Can they sign in without a Microsoft account?”

5. Press “Local Account.”

6. Type in your new account name.

7. Enter and verify a password if you would like to use one.

8. Click “Finish.”

You have now created a new user profile on Windows.

Sort Out Your Windows File Access Issues

Several factors may be preventing you from accessing files on Windows. It might be that your file permissions have changed, or your antivirus software has misidentified a file. This guide not only shows you where the problem may lie but also walks you through the quick fixes you can try out. The next time you find Windows unable to access a specified file, you will have the tools to sort out the issue.

Have you run into problems accessing a file or program on your computer? If so, let us know how you resolved the issue.

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