The system cannot find the file specified error in Windows 10/8/7

If you recently purchased a mouse or any other peripheral device, tried connecting it to your PC and received the following error message – ‘The system cannot find the file specified’, check out this tutorial to find the solution. The error can also pop up if some OS file or some software’ file is missing or corrupted. Cleaning the temporary files doesn’t seem to solve this problem. Every time you attempt to do so, you are directed to manufacturer’s support page and requested to download additional software.

The System Cannot find the File Specified

The system cannot find the file specified

The cause for this error message can be as follows:

  1. System files are missing or corrupted
  2. Required files for the specific software are missing or corrupted.

Here’s how to address the issue quickly. Please go through the entire post and then see which of the suggestions may apply in your case.

1] Run System File Checker

If it is your Windows OS file that is found to be missing, run the System File Checker to replace missing or corrupted system files.

2] Identify and reinstall the software

If it is some Program and Device Driver that is throwing up this error, you may check the System Log. The System log, similar to application log in Event Viewer contains errors, warnings, and informational events that are related to the operation of applications. You can use its information to locate the problem driver file. For this,

Navigate to the following address C:/Windows/inf.

The system cannot find the file specified

Next, look for INF folder and click it to open the folder.

Now locate the file bearing the name “setupapi.dev”. Double-click on it to open the file.

Here, press Ctrl+F key in combination to open Find box. Type ‘cannot find the file‘ in the search box then start the search. After a few seconds time the missing file message will be highlighted.

Now identify the file and see if you can find and replace that file in its designated location.

An easier way to do would be to identify the program or driver and then simply reinstall it!

3] Install the driver using INF file

If you have tried downloading the driver from manufacturer’s website and have come across this problem try these steps:

  1. Find the downloaded driver file and in the extracted folder, find the .inf file. If there appears to be more than one .inf file choose the one bearing proper description, i.e., “Setup Information”.
  2. Right-click on the file and select Install from the context menu.
  3. It is important to mention here that not all .inf files are self-installer. So, if the .inf file does not support this method of installation, you will get a prompt. Here, you can go to the ‘Device Manager’ to uninstall the driver and reinstall the driver again. Follow these steps
  4. Access Device Manager. Expand the category and locate the device you wish to uninstall. Right-click on the device name and select Uninstall from the context menu. If prompted, confirm the action (uninstall) by checking the box marked against “Delete the driver software for this device.”
  5. Finally, click “OK” button.
  6. After uninstalling the driver, install the driver again.

4] Error upon login

If you see this error message right after you login, it means that one of your startup programs requires a files – and it cannot find it. Try to troubleshoot in Clean Boot State or check the error logs in Event Viewer.

Hope something here helps you.

Related read: Fix Missing DLL files errors.

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The author Hemant Saxena is a post-graduate in bio-technology and has an immense interest in following Windows, Office and other technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. Creating a System Restore Point first before installing a new software, and being careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware is recommended.