How to remove ‘The System Cannot Find the File Specified’ error?

By Eunice Samson | September 30, 2019 |

greater than 6 minutes

You probably landed on this article because of an error message which says, “The system cannot find the file specified.” We understand that this can be troubling, especially since the problem usually shows up when users try to access their files. The thought of losing important data can be disconcerting. However, there’s no need to panic because we’ve got you covered.

We’ve put together this guide to teach you how to fix ‘The system cannot find the file specified’ error in Windows 10. We’re also going to show you what causes the issue to help prevent it from happening again.

What Does It Mean if the System Cannot Find the File Specified?

Users who encountered this error message reported that the problem showed up while they were accessing files, installing a device driver, or creating a system image backup. It is a common issue for the Windows operating system. Usually, it comes with the STOP Error Code 0x80070002, and it is commonly caused by the following:

  • Missing device drivers
  • Missing or corrupted system files
  • Invalid registry keys
  • Connection issues
  • Disk errors on the source volume

There are plenty of other reasons why this error message can appear. Whatever the case is, we are here to help, which is why we’ve included several solutions in this post. Work your way down the list until you find the fix that works best for you.

First Solution: Performing a Deep Virus Scan of Your PC

Viruses and malware may be behind this error message. As such, we recommend that you perform a full scan of your system to resolve the problem. Here are the steps:

  1. Click the Search icon on your taskbar.
  2. Type “Windows Defender” (no quotes) inside the Search box.
  3. Select Windows Security from the results.
  4. Go to the left pane, then select Virus & Threat Protection.
  5. Now, move to the right pane and click Scan Options.
  6. Select Full Scan, then click Scan Now.

Let Windows Defender perform a full scan of your system. Once the process is complete, go back to what you were doing before the error appeared. If the problem persists, move on to the next solution.

Second Solution: Opening Hidden Folders

Some users claimed that they were able to get rid of the error message by navigating to the Libraries folder. However, it is worth noting that on Windows 10, this folder is hidden by default. To be able to access it, follow the instructions below:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+E. Doing so will launch File Explorer.
  2. Now, double-click This PC.
  3. On the left pane, right-click an empty area.
  4. Select Show Libraries from the context menu. Once you’ve done that, you will be able to see the Libraries folder on the left pane.

Third Solution: Installing Windows Updates

If you haven’t installed pending updates, your system may have trouble accessing files. Keep in mind that Windows updates are essential in fixing both hardware and software issues. As such, we strongly recommend that you download and install the latest updates for your operating system. To do that, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch the Settings app by pressing Windows Key+I on your keyboard.
  2. Once the Settings app is open, select Update & Security.
  3. On the right pane, click Check for Updates.
  4. If there are available updates, download them.
  5. After completing the download, restart your computer to install the updates.

Fourth Solution: Checking the System Log Files

Another workaround for this problem is checking the system log files. You can do that by following these instructions:

  1. Open File Explorer by pressing Windows Key+E on your keyboard.
  2. Navigate to this path:

C:/Windows/inf

  1. Double-click the inf folder to open it.
  2. Look for the setupapi.dev file, then open it by double-clicking it.
  3. Summon the Find box by pressing Ctrl+F on your keyboard.
  4. Inside the Find box, type “cannot find the file” (no quotes), then press Enter to begin locating the missing file.
  5. Copy the missing file, then paste it into the inf folder.

If the error message appeared while you were trying to install a device driver, try doing that again.

Fifth Solution: Fixing Affected Registry Keys

Before you proceed, you must be warned that the registry is a sensitive database. If you make the smallest mistake, you can render your system useless. So, you should only use this method if you are confident that you can follow the instructions to a tee. That said, even if you’re a tech expert, you should create a backup of your registry. In case anything goes wrong, you can always use your backup to undo the changes you’ve made. As such, creating a registry backup will be the first thing we’ll teach you.

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  1. Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key+R on your keyboard.
  2. Inside the Run dialog box, type “regedit” (no quotes), then click OK.
  3. Select File, then click Export.
  4. Now type a file name for your backup, then select All under the Export Range section.
  5. Click Save.
  6. The next thing you should do is to navigate to this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion

  1. Check if there is a RunOnce key on the right pane. If you don’t see one, you can create it. To do that, you simply need to right-click any empty area on the right pane, then select New ->Key.
  2. Name the new key as “RunOnce” (no quotes).
  3. Exit Registry Editor, then restart your computer.

Pro Tip: As you can see, repairing faulty keys in the registry can be complicated. Thankfully, there is a safer, faster, and more efficient way to fix registry problems. You can use Auslogics Registry Cleaner Pro to repair, clean, and optimize your registry. This tool can effectively eliminate errors and crashes, restoring smooth and stable system operation.

Sixth Solution: Uninstalling and Reinstalling the Drivers

If your system cannot find the specified file for your driver, we suggest that you try uninstalling and reinstalling it. Here are the steps:

  1. Right-click the Windows icon on your taskbar.
  2. Select Device Manager from the list.
  3. Locate the device you need to uninstall.
  4. Right-click the device, then select Uninstall from the context menu.
  5. Make sure you select the ‘Delete the driver software for this device’ option.
  6. Click OK to confirm the action.

After you’ve uninstalled the driver, try installing it again.

Seventh Solution: Formatting Your USB Flash Drive

Some users encountered the error message while they were trying to open their USB flash drive or external hard drive. To fix the problem, what you need to do is format your hard drive. You can do that by performing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key+E on your keyboard to launch File Explorer.
  2. Double-click This PC, then right-click your flash drive or external drive.
  3. Select Format from the menu.
  4. Make sure you select the Quick Format option.
  5. Begin the formatting process by clicking Start.

Eighth Solution: Restoring or Repairing the Missing Files

There’s still an upside to dealing with missing system files. Of course, it can be frustrating to see an error message on your screen. However, missing system files can be resolved easily. You can use the System File Checker to restore the affected files. Here are the steps:

  1. Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key+R on your keyboard.
  2. Inside the Run dialog box, type “cmd” (no quotes).
  3. You need to launch an elevated form of Command Prompt. So, instead of clicking OK, you must press Ctrl+Shift+Enter on your keyboard.
  4. If prompted to give permission to the app, click Yes.
  5. Once Command Prompt is up, type “sfc /scannow” (no quotes), then hit Enter.

It will take a couple of minutes for the System File Checker to restore missing files. Once the process is complete, check if the error is gone.

Ninth Solution: Using WinRAR

Did the error message appear while you were trying to delete a particular file or folder? If so, then you can get rid of it by using WinRAR. Follow the instructions below:

  1. Right-click the affected file, then select Add to Archive from the options.
  2. Under Archiving Options, select the choice which says, “Delete files after archiving.”
  3. Click OK.

These steps should allow you to delete the file or folder without any hassle.

Tenth Solution: Deleting the ProfileImagePath Key

If you’ve tried the solutions above and none of them worked, then you must learn how to delete the ProfileImagePath key. Don’t worry because we’ll guide you through the steps. Here they are:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor as we’ve illustrated in the fifth solution.
  2. Navigate to this path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WindowsNT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

  1. Expand the contents of the ProfileList folder.
  2. Open each subkey to see if any of them has the ProfileImagePath key.
  3. If you notice any subkey without the ProfileImagePath value or one whose Data value does not contain anything, you need to get rid of it. You can do that by right-clicking the folder, then selecting Delete from the menu.

 

Do you think we forgot to mention some great solutions to this problem?

 

 

Feel free to share them in the comments below!

 

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.
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