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

Earlier today, when trying to run an executable on a Windows 2003 server, where my account is part of the Administrators group, I received the error “Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file.  You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.”

Weird. Checked the file permissions, file ownership and for some reason this issue seemed vaguely familiar.

Turns out that in order to execute the file you have to do the following:

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Click on Tools
  3. Click on Internet Options
  4. Select Internet and click Custom Level
  5. In the Miscellaneous section, set the ‘Launching applications and unsafe files’ to Prompt (recommended) as shown in the screen shot below:
Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file.  You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item.

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

Posting it here in an attempt to save an hour of my time or yours in the future.

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

  1. gary
    September 3, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    had this problem… your solution fixed it.

    searched high and low for fixes for this, and you solved it in 20 seconds. brilliant.

  2. maryann
    September 5, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Set it to that – same message – any other ideas ? Using firefox but it doesn’t work with many websites I need to access for work. Thanks

  3. Leo
    September 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm #

    What version of IE are you using? Also, what version of Windows are you using?

  4. Latif
    September 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    I have the exact same problem but i cannot access anything on the whole C drive which is basicaly everything on the computer. Please i need help. It only started hapening when i downloaded avg.

  5. Leo
    September 14, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Have you considered removing AVG?

  6. Gude
    September 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm #

    Ok. Tanks.

  7. Peter
    October 29, 2009 at 8:42 am #

    Thanks very much for the solution.

    How is it possible, that the internet options have influence on the NTFS rights?



  8. Anoyed
    November 2, 2009 at 5:38 am #

    Thanks Leo!
    Just ran a regular update on my Server2003, installing IE8, and it changed my Internet security settings on its own.
    I had spent some time setting those just the way I wanted them.
    You’d expect at least a notification screen, if not a choice…

  9. Jason
    November 10, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    Have the same problem ..running XP SP3 but been able to do some temp fixes. Booted in safe mode..went to the security properties on the C:\ allow child folder to inherit properties. Start up normal..allows executables to be opened once then happens again..confused…Anyone get a fix for this???

  10. Xavier
    November 20, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    Oh, Great! This problem have been bothering me for a long time. Thanks!

  11. shakes
    November 21, 2009 at 4:42 pm #

    if you have zonealarm turn it off to see if that helps,did for me,then turn it back on.

  12. lionel
    January 21, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    Thanks a mill your solution worked.

  13. stevemagg
    January 28, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    brilliant!!! thx

  14. Jim Craig
    January 29, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    Thanks, would have taken me ages to have worked this out if I hadn’t read your post!

  15. Anonymous
    January 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Thanks. Took me a while to find this, but your solution fixed it quickly. It now occurs to me I changed the Internet settings when adjusting Outlook.

  16. nitin
    February 1, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Its working now. Thanks

  17. Trent
    February 7, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    You rock…not sure why this changed or what happened, but this fixed the problem that we were having on a WINDOWS 2003 Server SP2, and a new update.exe file. Thanks a million!

  18. savirose
    March 5, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Hey I have basically the same problem. It gives me that error message if I try to get on ANYTHING. The only way to get to EI is for me to go to the start menu and search for it. Even parts of my control panel are giving me that error message. Any suggestions?

  19. sowo
    March 17, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    thank you so much,guy

  20. Savas
    March 23, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    Waouh!!! Great works very well.


  21. Jenish
    April 29, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Well done mate! It worked!


  22. Stan Lee
    May 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Spot on… Thank u so much.

  23. luckysaud
    June 14, 2010 at 3:49 am #

    thnxs for the help my problem is solved

  24. denise
    July 9, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    the launching application should be prompt?

  25. David
    August 18, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    Must agree with others here, beautiful solution. Thank you.

  26. Satish sharma
    September 23, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    u r a genious. Best resolution.

  27. Jef Claes
    October 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Thanks a bunch. I hate stuff like this 😉

  28. joanne
    November 5, 2010 at 12:14 am #

    THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS! I’ve had this error for days and thought I had a virus. Anyway you need different instructions for windows XP:
    Internet options –> security –> custom level –> miscellaneous –> Launching applications and unsafe files (prompt)

  29. F baby
    December 8, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Thanks! Just what I was looking for!

  30. Arashichiba
    December 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    Do you any conclusion for Windows7?

  31. richhein
    April 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Turns out I was installing AVG 2011 onto a server. Downloaded from a workstation and copied to the server. Had to right click on file, then properties and click ‘Unblock’. It is a defense mechanism of the Windows Server OS. AVG tech talked me through it.

  32. linom
    April 15, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    Try and change the file name to less than 8 characters. It worked for me!

  33. commander
    April 20, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    thanks. I was getting this problem since yesterday and within seconds of reading your article it got resolved.

  34. Mark King
    May 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Tried that and did not work. Cant access any of my files

  35. Jun
    August 17, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I have windows 7 and internet explore 8, it was set to the default to your recommended settings.

    One of my software was working yesterday, but today it keep gives me this message ” you do not have permission to access …”

    Please help !!!



  36. Jo jihoo
    September 7, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    I have this problem, i download crack and open it then open the programme i cracked and this msg appear and i work as u told ,but still no better, please help me…help nas..

  37. sophia
    September 21, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    Wow it worked great and it did resolved the issue however i did Uninstall the anti virus as well

  38. Anonymous
    October 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Thanks, it did resolve the issue.

  39. jaydeep111996
    October 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    i m using win xp every item i open like D:, .exe
    the message shows windows cannot access the specified device,path,or file. you don’t have appropriate pemissions to access this item

  40. mr keith
    October 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Please help im about to loose it

  41. Pete
    November 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Thanks for the fix! I can now stop banging my head against the wall.

  42. tony
    April 3, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    what about all programs cannot open it?

    most people has turn off antivirus first..
    but in my case, i cannot open the antivirus..

    all my programs it can`t be open.. T_T
    plz help me..

    April 12, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    I had a similar issue on my Windows 7 and found the problem was due to a permissions issue with C:\Windows\Registration folder. You may go through the detailed instructions to repair it on the following forum:

  44. nithin
    June 3, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    thanks a lotttt.

  45. Dave Taylor
    June 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Two years later you are still helping people–thanks!

  46. Anonymous
    June 18, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I can find nothing called in my list what u told but the others in the pic are present. Im using windows xp sp3Launching applications and unsaafe files. Kindly help

  47. Anonymous
    August 1, 2012 at 7:09 am #

    Hey grate dude i really appreciate your quick solution Thanks Thanks Thanks a lot…….

  48. Lino
    August 28, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    help full. thanks for the share..

  49. Efrain Schott
    September 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Me has salvado la vida!!! muchas gracias!!
    thanks!!! 🙂

  50. Anonymous
    October 29, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    THX i need that… Kiitos!!!

  51. Luke Cohrs
    November 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    I found I started getting this problem after updating from IE7 to IE8.. Had no idea what the hell was going on turned to google tried a few things then tried this. I also just reset IE8 back to default settings which changed me from high to med high

    Thanks a bunch

  52. zutonx blog
    July 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Unninstall your AVG


  1. Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item. | Syndicated Technology - June 16, 2012

    […] to this issue came from Leo Nelson’s blog and you can read a detailed post on the fix here.  To fix this issue you need to set the security settings in Microsoft Internet Explorer to a […]