Fix MSDT.exe error – Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file

In today’s post, we provide the solution to the error message Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file, You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item, which you may encounter when you try to run the Windows 10 Troubleshooter through the Windows Settings for a specific issue. The popup refers to the msdt.exe file in the System32 folder.

MSDT.exe error - Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file

What is msdt.exe

The genuine msdt.exe file is a software component of the Windows operating system and is located in the System32 folder. If it is located elsewhere, it could possibly be malware and you need to get it scanned with your security software. The process known as Diagnostics Troubleshooting Wizard is a component of Windows files that launches the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Service.

MSDT.exe error Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file

If Windows Troubleshooters not working and when you try to run any Windows Troubleshooter, MSDT.exe throws and error Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file, then try these suggestions:

  1. Check your User Account permissions
  2. Run the Troubleshooter from an Administrator account
  3. Run System File Checker
  4. Run DISM
  5. Check the Error Log files.

Let us see the steps involved in detail.

1] Check your User Account permissions

First, check your User Account permissions. See if it has local admin rights on your PC.

To check, navigate to Start > Settings > Accounts. Make sure you see Administrator under your name.

2] Run the Troubleshooter from an Administrator account

Navigate to the System32 folder, locate msdt.exe, right-click on it and see if you can use Run as Administrator, Does it work? Or do you get a message-

Enter the passkey provided by your support professional.

If you have a passkey, use it; else ask your Support staff or Admin about this.

3] Run System File Checker

Run the System File Checker.to replace potentially corrupted system files.

Once the process completes, restart your PC and see if you can successfully run the Windows 10 Troubleshooter.

4] Run DISM

Run DISM to repair Windows System Image and Windows Component Store and see if that helps.

5] Check the Error Log files

The troubleshooting reports, logs & other data are saved in the following locations:

  • %LocalAppData%\Diagnostics : It contains folders for the previously run troubleshooter.
  • %LocalAppData%\ElevatedDiagnostics : It contains folders for each troubleshooter which was Run as Administrator.
  • Windows Logs/Application
  • Applications and Services Logs/ Microsoft/ Windows/ Diagnosis-Scripted/ Admin
  • Applications and Services Logs/ Microsoft/ Windows/ Diagnosis-ScriptedDiagnosticsProvider/ Operational
  • Applications and Services Logs/ Microsoft/ Windows/ Diagnosis-Scripted/ Operational

See if anything there helps you.

This post offers additional suggestions to fix Windows cannot access the specified device, path or file error message.

PRO TIPS: In case you did not know, you can use our FixWin 10 to open Troubleshooters with a click!

You can also run the Troubleshooters from the command-line.

Hope you find this post useful.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.