Windows 7 - windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file.

Posted on 2012-04-07
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hi, I am getting the error, "windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item".

The desktop is a Dell Optiplex 960 with a Windows 7 Pro install.

The PC has been working fine for about 1.5 years.  There were no system changes that we can think of except for enabling the Guest account.

This error occurs when I try to open Computer, Control Panel, Recycle Bin, explorer.exe.  This error also happens when trying to print.

There are some applications that will open - IE Explorer, Anti Virus program, sticky notes, Calulator.

These errors happen using the default Administrator account or my account which belongs to the Administrator group.

I have completed a full Virus check and no viruses detected.

I thought about restoring to the last good system backup  but when opening System Restore the following error is displayed - System Restore does not appear to be functioning correctly on this system.  A Volume Shadow Copy Service component encountered an unexpected error.  

There are several VSS errors in the event viewer:

Volume Shadow Copy Service information: The COM Server with CLSID {4e14fba2-2e22-11d1-9964-00c04fbbb345} and name CEventSystem cannot be started. [0x80070005, Access is denied.

   Subscribing Writer

   Writer Class Id: {cd3f2362-8bef-46c7-9181-d62844cdc0b2}
   Writer Name: MSSearch Service Writer
   Writer Instance ID: {f1ffd74c-2189-4797-b72e-105775cf9ec0}

Any advise would be greatly apprciated.

Question by:cengland2
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 37819560
May be your HDD is having bad sectors.
Can you run the chkdsk on your drive.
LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37819562
Even though you have scan for viruses, I think viruses and malware may be the cause here. Try scanning with Malwarebytes.

Then, open a command prompt as administrator and run System File Checker.  SFC /SCANNOW and allow to complete. Restart. Run it again if there were errors it did not correct the first time.

Then, if you have the Windows 7 DVD, back up the system fully and run a Windows Repair install to see if that can correct the issues.

If nothing works, it may be necessary to re-install Windows.

Please let us know.

... Thinkpads_User

Expert Comment

ID: 37820797
Have you installed something recently say a printer or camera that has a Memory card?
If so, your system may be looking for that memory card but cannot find it because it is no longer connected or switched on.

Hope that helps
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Author Comment

ID: 37848547
Anuroopsundd, a chkdsk was run on the drive and no errors were returned.  Problems still exists.

crash2000, no new devices with printer or camera have been installed.

thinkpads_user, a complete scan using Malwarebytes was completed.  No issues were reported.  

I tried to run SFC /SCANNOW  using administrator user and open the command window as "run as administrator" but the following error was given
Windows Resource Protection could not start the repair service.

I have not tried the repair install.  How will I backup the system when I cannot open explorer.exe?


Expert Comment

ID: 37848649
Have you moved the location of the user accounts in the past?
If so, and you have now enabled the guest account, some links may have become broken.

To fix this, move the user accounts back to their original location to see if that fixes the issue.

Then move them again.

As you are using win7 Pro, it may be a server change has made this happen. Perhaps a Folder redirection policy.

LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37848749
>>> I have not tried the repair install.  How will I backup the system when I cannot open explorer.exe?

You need to boot with a bootable CD/DVD and then copy the data you need onto a USB key (or a couple). I am assuming you have your software if it comes to that.

.... Thinkpads_User

Author Comment

ID: 37849378
>>>You need to boot with a bootable CD/DVD and then copy the data you need onto a USB key (or a couple). I am assuming you have your software if it comes to that.

I do have the Windows 7 software (reinstallation version) that came with the Dell.  I can boot using the CD but do not know how to copy file to a USB key.  Is it from the command prompt?  Could you provide details on the backup steps?

LVL 94

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 37849388
If you can open a command prompt with the bootable DVD, then you should be able to find things with the DIR command (DIR /? for help) and then use the COPY command (COPY /? for help) to copy data to a USB key.

.... Thinkpads_User

Accepted Solution

cengland2 earned 0 total points
ID: 37849702
I attempted a Windows Repair install but it errored with the following message: "Windows could not retieve information about the disks on this computer".  

Using a system repair disk that was created when the computer was first used, I was able to do a system restore.  

This seems to have corrected all the issues.

Expert Comment

ID: 37850111
Glad you have it sorted. Hope you haven't lost data.
I believe there are some Hard Disk test tools within the DELL Bios. It may be worth running them, just to make sure there is not an underlying Hard Disk issue, which may cause the problem to reoccur.


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