It is not uncommon for USB access to be denied for Windows and the error message common to this denial is "USB access denied." In this case, you would be unable to access the data and other important files in it. What could you do if the external hard drive is not accessible in Windows 11/10/8/7? Well, don't worry, if you have the challenge, this post is for you.
Getting the "USB access denied" error message means a hard drive or USB port failure has occurred, preventing you from accessing the USB device. One of the potential symptoms of such a device is that it will not open. Another symptom is that the device may be returning to an error message that states, "Location is not accessible, Access is denied."
Error messages such as "Location or drive is not accessible" are common to storage devices. They often signify that the USB (storage) device has restricted read or write permission. Depending on other symptoms, your "USB access denied" message may be "The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable," "The parameter is incorrect," "The disk structure is corrupted and unreadable," etc.
Sometimes, it's hard to identify the source of the error. While below are some of the most common reasons you are getting the "USB access denied" message:
The causes of the "USB access denied" error message are already stated above. Now, let's consider how to fix the issue.
If your USB device is protected and you are getting the "USB access denied" error message, here is how to access the device:
Open the File Explorer on your computer by using the shortcut function of Window and E keys.
Navigate to the inaccessible USB device. Right-click the USB device and select Properties at the bottom of the highlighted list. Navigate to Security on the Properties category list; select Advanced at the bottom of the window.
The steps above will take you to the Owner tab; there, click on Edit.
Search for your name under the Group or user names section and click on it.
Tick all the boxes in the Allow column (or tick Full control), then press Apply.
Finish the process by clicking OK to gain permission to the USB device.
You can manage the advanced security settings of your USB if the error has something to do with Windows registry. Here is what you can do to adjust it:
Open regedit from the Start menu and go to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\ENUM\USB.
Right click the USB folder and choose Permissions. Then make sure Read is checked.
Go to the Advanced tab and choose Include inheritable permissions from this object's parent.
Go to the Owner tab and check the box next to Replace owner on subcontainers and objects.
Click Apply and OK button to finish the process. After that, try to connect your USB to check if the error message "USB access denied" disappears.
Drive letters are assigned to USB devices dynamically. If the path of a device changes, then it becomes inaccessible. Changing drive letter with disk management helps reconfigure the change.
Open the Run dialogue by pressing the R and Windows keys simultaneously.
Filling in the search space with diskmgmt.msc, then press Enter or click OK. This action will open your OS Disk Management.
Locate the inaccessible USB device, right-click on the partition at the bottom of the Disk Management page. Choose Change Drive Letter and Path… among the options.
In the next window that your OS will prompt, chose Change….
Select the new drive letter, then click OK.
Access to USB connectivity may be denied by the Local Group Policy Editor restriction on the device. Here is how to gain access back:
Open your Start screen by using the Windows button.
Fill in the Search bar with gpedit.msc and click the Edit group policy option displayed on your screen.
Your Control panel Local Group Policy Editor will be loaded. There select Administrative Templates.
Under the Administrative Templates list, expand the System folder.
Inside the expanded System folder, open the Removable Storage Access folder.
This final step is three in one. Open each of Removable Disks: Deny execute access, Removable Disks: Deny read access, and Removable Disks: Deny write access one after the other and tick the option Disable to remove restrictions from the device.
The cause of your USB access being denied in windows 11/10/8/7 could be a file system error. If you are not quite sure, then you need to use an error-checking tool. Here is how to check USB the device error:
You can click the File Explorer icon on your taskbar or use the computer icon if there is one on your desktop screen.
Navigate to the inaccessible USB device.
On the USB device, right-click and select Properties at the bottom of the highlighted list.
Navigate to the Tools bar among the Properties category list.
Under the Error checking section, click Check.
Finally, click on Repair Drive.
If you are unsure whether file system errors are responsible for your USB access being denied in windows 11/10/8/7, You should try running the disk check. Here is how to run a disk check using your Windows Command Prompt:
Open your computer's CMD with the administrator's privilege.
* You can use the search bar in your Start menu, fill in the word cmd, then click Run as administrator.
* Also, try using the PowerShell option but with administrator rights.
* You can try the Run dialogue by pressing the R and Windows keys simultaneously, fill in the search space with cmd, and press OK.
To proceed, click Yes when you get the User Account Control (UAC) prompt.
When the Administrator: Command Prompt window is opened, type this command and press Enter:
chkdsk g: /f
Confirm what the drive letter of the USB device is and replace it with g or leave it if it tallies.
"USB drive access denied" error messages might be caused by your USB driver not being properly installed. Here is how to reinstall your USB driver:
Open your OS Device Manager.
* You can use the Run dialogue by pressing the R and Windows keys simultaneously, filling the search space with devmgmt.msc, then press OK.
* Also, use the search box on your Windows Start menu, fill in the word devmgmt and click the Device Manager option prompted in the result.
On the Device Manager screen, right-click on the Universal Serial Bus Controllers option. Among the listed options, pick a controller for each of your USB ports.
On each of the controllers for your USB port, right-click them and select Uninstall.
Once this process is done, reboot your computer to implement the changes. Then, your OS will automatically install the needed USB drivers.
If the system file of a USB device is corrupted, the last resort is to reset the device to the factory setting. It helps to repair and keep the USB device in shape by optimizing its performance. Here is how to reset a USB device to factory settings:
Ensure that the USB device is connected to your computer.
Open the File Explorer on your computer by opening the Start menu and selecting the Document (icon). (You can use the shortcut function of Window and E keys. You can also click the File Explorer icon on your taskbar or use the computer icon if there is one on your desktop screen.)
Navigate to This PC to find the inaccessible USB device.
On the USB device, right-click and select Format among the highlighted list.
In the Format device window, click the arrow on File System to select FAT32.
When the Warning… message pops up, click OK.
Once the format is done, you will get a Format Complete message, press OK to proceed.
Now, close the Format device window by selecting Close.
Also, close This PC window.
Eject the USB drive, then remove the external device.
After the above solutions, you may have resolved the error USB access denied or not. No matter which situation you are in, you may find that you lost some data and want to recover files from the USB device. In this way, AnyRecover is a recovery tool that will help retrieve files or folders that are even long gone and cannot be recovered from other common ways. The tool was built so that computer owners who are not experts can easily use it.
AnyRecover Key features include:
Step 1 Connect the USB device to your computer. Download and open the software, choose the location of the drive.
Step 2 AnyRecover will start scanning your files and folders in it.
Step 3 At the last step, you could preview the files scanned or directly click the Recover button to recover data.
When an external hard drive is not accessible in Windows 11/10/8/7, it means your USB device has failed. To fix this issue, eight different solutions have been described above to help you. This post also gives you access to a recovery tool for getting back your data when there is data loss during any process.
By Simon Marcus , to All Storage Device Tips
Updated: Sep 14, 2021