[Solved] Windows cannot access the specified device

When I was starting the work for the day, when I open the any of Microsoft 365 file like Word, Excel, Outlook, OneNote etc., I was keep getting the error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item

This error was very annoying, I spent may valuable hours to solve this issue. Find out the list of troubleshooting steps and how I solved this issue on my computer.

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

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

If you get this error while opening any of the software application on your computer then its means your PC has messed up with the permission. 

There are various troubleshooting steps you can follow to fix this Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item error on your device.

I had this error on my Microsoft 365 applications. I followed the below troubleshooting steps but none of them was helpful.

  1. Microsoft 365 Quick Repair
  2. Microsoft 365 Online Repair
  3. System Restore Points
  4. Created new Windows 10 user Profile for the effected user.

As none of the above 4 solution was successful. I tried to login with local system admin account and found all of the Microsoft 365 application where working fine.

So, I deleted the current user profile and created the new user profile with the same name by following this article How to Recreate a Corrupted User Profile in Windows 10.

But I found the same error Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item while opening any of the Microsoft 365 applications.

So, I tried to create a different user profile on the same device but found the same error for the newly created user accounts.

This gives me a thought that this error is not related to user profile and I started to search for the troubleshooting steps online and followed the below troubleshooting steps from this blog:

  1. Disable antivirus software temporarily.
  2. Check permission of the file or folder.
  3. Unblock the file.
  4. Check the location of the file.
  5. Recover the removed file or deleted file.

But unfortunately none of the above 5 solutions helped me fix the Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item error on my device.

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

After a long stressful hours I found the only below solutions which solved the Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item error on my device.

Reinstall the Microsoft 365 Application

By going to control panel I uninstalled the Microsoft 365 application from my device completely. As part of the uninstallation process I had to restart the device.

After the device restart, I login to the device and I installed the Microsoft 365 software again.

After completing the Microsoft 365 software installation when I opened the Microsoft 365 application like Outlook or Word or PowerPoint, I found the error was disappeared.

So, In my case only the reinstallation of Microsoft 365 Application was helped me to get rid of Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item error on my device.

Rest your Windows 10 with Remove Everything Option

Unfortunately, by resetting the Windows 10 with remove everything option only helped me get rid of this issue completely.

Check this blog for How to reset Windows 10. Remember to choose Remove everything option at the time of resetting your device. Because first time I choose keep my files option but this didn’t solve the Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item error on my device. 

When you reset your Windows 10 you will be given two option Keep my files and remove everything. When you choose keep my files option, all of your files in the C Drive will remain and only the Windows app and setting will be reset. You have to only install all the software again. 

When you choose Remove everything, all the files in C Drive, Windows setting, app will be completely removed. C Drive will be completely empty.

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