Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file error message

Some Windows errors are very commonly encountered. You may encounter them every once in a while. One such error you may come across while opening a .exe file is :

Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.

This error message can be related to files like svchost.exe, regsvr.exe, spoolsv32.exe, taskmgr.exe, sys.exe, rundll.exe, explorer.exe, csrss.exe, winupdate.exe or even any .exe program file of a software you may have installed on your Windows computer.

Maybe these system files have got corrupted due to malicious infections and maybe your antivirus may have deleted the system file because your PC was infected by one of the malicious programs – the reasons could be many. If its a system file that is creating a problem, running the System File Checker might be good idea.

Here are a few troubleshooting steps you may try to fix the error. But you will have to first ensure that the file is not on a location that is  currently accessible, like maybe a network location or an external drive that is not currently connected to the PC, etc. Also check that the file has been moved or deleted.

1] Check if you have permissions to open the file. If required Run as administrator and see if it helps. Else you may have to take ownership of the file. You may use our Ultimate Windows Tweaker to do so easily. Ultimate Windows Tweaker will let you add the Take ownership of Files and Folders option easily to even Windows 8.1.

2] If it is a shortcut that you are clicking on to open the file, you may want to check if the target file is still located at the destination. If yes, then maybe the shortcut itself may have got corrupted. Delete it and create a new shortcut.

3] If the file has been downloaded from the Internet, right click on the file and open Properties.

Under General tab, towards the bottom you will see classified under Security : This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer.

Click on Unblock. Click Apply > OK. This should help.

4] You may also want to check if you antivirus software is blocking the file for some reasons. If you are convinced that the file is safe, temporarily disable your security software and then try to open the file.

Hope something helps you!

Moved from WVC

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.