How to Fix File Access Denied Error in Windows 10?

Here you can find:

▲ How and why access to file is denied 

▲ How to solve file access denied error in Windows 10

▲ How to recover deleted or lost files Windows

Now, let’s start to read it. 

File Access Denied When Trying to Copy or Move Files

I guess you may come across this case – when you are trying to move or copy files to another location, an error message pops up informing you files access denied. Actually, it is not a rare case. It happens frequently and displays itself in different ways. 

Some common types of files access denied error in Windows 10:

  • You can’t copy or move files/folders.
  • You can’t copy or move files/folders being opened by another program.
  • Windows 10 can’t copy files/folders to external storage device.

Part 1. Why the Access to File Is Denied Windows 10

Sometimes, Windows 10 may lock files and prevent the access to them in Windows Explorer due to many reasons. 

① You don’t have sufficient rights and permissions.

② The files needing to be operated is opened by another program.

③ The files needing to be operated is corrupted because of virus attack or system failure.

After knowing the potential causes, you can find ways to fix files access denied error in the following part. 

Part 2. How to Solve Files Access Denied Error Windows 10

Before taking any actions, make sure if you are an administrator of the computer. If not, your rights are limited. Go to User Accounts > Manage Accounts to check whether Administrator is in the right place of the target account name.

Case 1. You Can’t Copy or Move Files Windows 10

If you are not allowed to move or copy files to local or external storage device, just try following methods.

Method 1: Restart Windows Explorer

① Enter Task Manager in a preferred way. 

② Click Processes > Windows Explorer > Restart. 

Then, find the target files in Windows Explorer and try copying or moving them.

Method 2: Run SFC Scan

① Type cmd in Windows search bar. Press Enter and choose run Command Prompt as administrator.

② After entering Command Prompt window, type sfc/scannow and hit Enter.

The command will automatically scan all protected system files and replace bad ones with cache copy. Don’t exit the windows until the process is 100% complete.

Case 2. You Can’t Copy or Move Files Opened by another Program

If you can’t copy or move files because they’re opened in another program, you may try the following 3 ways to fix it. 

Way 1: Close Unnecessary Programs

First, check if the target file is really opened in other programs. If so, close the programs and then continue to move or copy the file. 

Way 2: Delete Temp Files

① Press Win + R to open Run dialog. Type %temp% and hit Enter.

② Select all items in it. Delete them permanently by using Shift + Delete.

Way 3: Run Disk Cleanup

① Type disk cleanup in the search box and press Enter. 

② In the Disk Cleanup window, choose the drive (containing target files) to clean.

③ When the scanning process ends, tick Thumbnails and click OK.

Case 3. You Can't Delete Files Windows 10

If you still can’t delete a file successfully after using common deletion methods (like keyboard shortcuts or contextual menu), you’d better check this file to see whether it is being used in other apps. If not, please follow tips to get the file deleted. 

Option 1: Delete Files in Safe Mode

① Press Windows + I keys together to open Settings.

② Click Update & Security option and choose Recovery.

③ Then, go to Advanced startup > Restart > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Startup Settings. 

④ Open Windows Explorer. Find the target file and delete it.

⑤ After that, you need to restart your computer. 

Option 2: Use Command Prompt

① Run Windows search box and enter cmd. Then, click Command Prompt and choose Run as


② Input del and then the detailed location of the target file, such as E:\Downloads\pics. 

③ Then, hit Enter to begin the command.

Case 4. You Can’t Copy Files to External Storage Device

If you fail to copy or move files from local drive to connecting external storage device, probably the main reason is write protection on the storage device, such as SD card or USB flash drive. 

Under this circumstance, you need to remove write protection firstly, and then, you are able to edit files or add new files to the drive. 

Part 3. How to Recover Deleted Files Windows

If you delete the vital files from your computer or external devices by mistake, unfortunately, what will you do? Don’t worry. It is likely to recover deleted files just by using a piece of professional data recovery software for Windows. Here is tutorial of how to restore deleted or lost data Windows with MiniTool Power Data Recovery.

Step 1. After installing this software on your Windows, open it to get the main interface. 

Step 2. Select This PC module (or Removable Disk Drive module for external drive). Next, choose the target drive to scan.

Step 3. When the scanning process completes, you may browse the scanning results to pick out the desired items to recover. 

Step 4. Click Save and choose a storage location to keep the selected files. Click OK.

Pay attention:

For computer local drive and external drive data recovery, you’d better not save the recovered files back to the original drive. Otherwise, the deleted files will be overwritten forever and unrecoverable. 


We have displayed some common cases of file access denied in Windows 10. And you can find different solutions in different cases. You may choose a suitable one based on your actual situation. 

If you have other ideas or suggestions, please share them with us by leaving a comment below. Thanks! 

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