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

  1. had this problem… your solution fixed it.

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

  2. 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. 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.

  4. Thanks very much for the solution.

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

    Regards,

    Peter

  5. 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…

  6. 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???

  7. Hello all: I have the same problem but!
    not in website on Game when i try to click on Start game the computer give a same error like u guyz talking about so please i need help send me in my emil [email protected]

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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)

  12. 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.

  13. 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 !!!

    thanks

    Jun

  14. 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..

  15. 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

  16. 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..

  17. 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

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

  19. 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