How to Fix Windows Cannot Find the Specified Device

If you can’t access a device on your Windows PC, there are a number of solutions you can try. Read this guide to find out how to get started.

Have you been working on your Windows PC and experienced a problem where it cannot find a specified device? The good news is there are several solutions to fix “Windows cannot find the specified device” errors.

There are a number of causes for this issue. It could be down to missing permissions when you’re accessing a file or folder. It could also happen if a device (such as a portable hard drive) isn’t plugged in or powered up properly.

A more serious issue could also be the cause of the problem, such as a malware infection. If you’re trying to fix a Windows cannot find the specified device error, follow the steps below.

Make Sure the Device is Connected and Recognized

If your system can’t find the device you’re trying to connect with, it might not be connected properly. Even if you think it’s plugged in, remove the USB cable connected to the device and plug it back in. You should wait until you hear the “chime” that lets you know it’s connected properly.

Try accessing the device again once you hear the chime—it should work. If not, try a different cable or USB port. If it works with a different USB port, the port connection on your PC could be damaged. Should your new cord work, keep using it or buy a new one. You might also want to confirm the solution by plugging it into a separate computer (if one is available).

Also, if you have legacy storage media like SD cards and even a DVD or CD, make sure that they are correctly connected and recognized by Windows.

Verify Your Network Connection

If the file you’re trying to access is on a server or NAS, make sure it’s connected to the network and properly configured to share items with your machine. Double-check the network device and ensure its cables are connected and that it’s powered on if required.

A basic workaround is plugging a USB flash drive into the server or NAS. Back up the items you need and bring them over to your PC. After that, you can do further network connection troubleshooting. Start by fixing network sharing options on Windows. In addition, you might want to check if you’re seeing a high ping on the network.

Check For Malware

If you have a virus or malware deep within your system, it could be causing issues with Windows not finding a specified device, path, or folder. To check, you can complete a system scan with Microsoft’s built-in security app.

The Microsoft Security suite on Windows keeps your system protected from viruses and other malware in real-time. However, you should run a full system scan to make sure that your PC is virus free. After running the scan, set the Windows Security app for maximum protection from future threats.

Fix Windows Cannot Find the Specified Device

You might want a second opinion if Windows Security doesn’t find anything. You can run a separate third-party security suite like Avast or AVG Antivirus. If nothing is found, that’s great. You can rule out a virus issue.

Make sure you follow the security suite’s removal instructions if something is found.

Disable Your Antivirus Temporarily

On the other hand, the antivirus software you’re using could detect suspicious files and prevent access. To fix the problem, you can temporarily disable Windows Security or your third-party antivirus (if you’re using one).

While disabled, access the file, path, or device to see if the error occurs.

Fix Windows Cannot Find the Specified Device

Check and Fix System File Corruption

If you still can’t access the device you need, there could be a problem with system file corruption. Luckily, Windows has two built-in tools that are easy to run from the command line. Running SFC and DISM scans will detect and repair corrupt files within the operating system.

Note: These scans can take a long time to complete, so ensure your work is backed up and you have time to run them. The amount of time it takes will vary between systems.

To run an SFC and DISM scan:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Type PowerShell and click the Run as Administrator option on the right side of the Start button.Check PC’s Supported Power Features on Windows 11
  3. When the terminal launches, type in the following command and hit Enter:
    sfc /scannowterminal SFC-scannow
  4. After the SFC scan completes, it’s a best practice to run a DISM scan to find and replace any corrupt files SFC missed.
  5. With the terminal still open as an administrator, type the following command into the terminal and hit Enter:
    DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealthDISM Scan Windows 11

Once the scans have been completed, try to access the device you received the error from.

Fixing Windows Hardware Errors

If you can’t get Windows to access a connected device, using one of the above fixes should get you up and running again. It allows you to fix the “Windows cannot find the specified device” error. It’s also worth mentioning that Windows assigns a new drive letter each time a new device is plugged in. Ensure you’re attempting to connect to the right path.

To make things easier, you can assign a permanent letter to removable drives or change a drive letter on Windows 10 or 11. Also, if the unreachable device is an Android phone, ensure it’s set to transfer files. For an iPhone, allow your PC to access files, photos, and videos after plugging it in.

If you’re connecting a Bluetooth device, make sure it hasn’t dropped the connection. And if you’re still having problems, it’s worth learning how to fix USB not working on Windows 11.

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