How to Fix 0x80070052: The Directory or File Cannot Be Created

The error 0x80070052 occurs when you try to copy files to a flash drive, external HDD, or any other removable media. This error is further accompanied by “The directory or file cannot be created.” Take, for instance, an issue that a user faced –


I tried to copy-paste some documents, videos, and audio files from my PC to an external hard drive. But, every time I encountered Error 0x80070052: the directory or file cannot be created. How do I resolve the issue?

Reasons Why You Are Dealing With 0x80070052

– The file name or directory that you wish to copy already exists on the USB

– Insufficient USB space

– Your removable drive is formatted to an older file system

How To Fix 0x80070052: The Directory or File Cannot Be Created

1. Unplug and Replug the USB

Sometimes even the most complicated issues require simple solutions. One of the first things you can try is to unplug the USB drive and plug it back in again, possibly to a different USB port, and then retry the copying operation.

2. Create a New Folder on The Intended Drive

If the file name or the directory you intend to copy on the USB already exists, you would receive the error message “the directory or file cannot be created.” To resolve this issue, you can create a new folder on your USB by right-clicking on a blank area in your USB drive and selecting New > Folder.

3. Free Up USB Space

If the directory or files you are trying to copy occupy a larger space and insufficient space on the USB, you may encounter the error above. While there are many ways you can analyze and free up disk space, one of the first things you can try is to get rid of all the duplicate files on your USB because, let’s face it if you are someone who often transfers files from your computer to an external hard drive to free up storage space, duplicate files are bound to appear. A dedicated third-party tool like Duplicate Files Fixer can help you get rid of duplicates in no time at all, and here’s how –

1. Download, install and run Duplicates Files Fixer.

2. From the right-hand side of the interface, click on Add Folder.

Add Folder

3. Select your USB drive and the folder you want to scan for duplicates.

scan for duplicates

4. Click on Scan for Duplicates button at the bottom.


5. Let the scan process complete.

scan process

6. Automark function can help you eliminate the right duplicates in case of multiple duplicate files.


7. Click on Delete Marked

And, done! Your USB drive is free of all duplicates.    

4. Check Your Hard Drive’s File System

In case your USB drive is formatted to an older file system, you may receive  0x80070052: The directory or file cannot be created for the simple reason that your USB won’t be able to handle the copied files of the newer file system. For example, if your USB uses FAT16, you will most likely encounter the error 0x80070052, as has been the case with many users. Here, first, you need to check what is the file system of your USB drive. To check the file system of your USB drive –

1. Go to your File Explorer and locate the USB drive.

2. Right-click on it and go to Properties.


3. Under the General tab, check the File system field and see what it is.

In case it is FAT 16, again,

1. Right-click on the drive, and now, select Format.


2. Change the File System to FAT 32 or later file system such as NTFS and Allocation unit size to 4096 bytes. You may want to check the Quick Format checkbox under Format options for corruption-related issues.

Format options

3. Click on Start.

Once the process is over again, try to copy files from your computer to the removable drive.

5. Exercise Precautions Copy Encrypted Files

Many users have encountered the error 0x80070052 while trying to copy encrypted files. In this case, you may have to exercise some precautions. To begin with, you will have to ensure that you also transfer the encryption key. You might ask, what if I use the inbuilt encryption method? In such a scenario, you may check that the service associated with the Credential Manager is set to Automatic and that it should be running.

1. First, ensure that the third-party encryption utility is running.

2. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box.

3. When the dialog box appears, type services.msc and hit the Enter key.

4. Locate the Credential Manager, right-click on it, and select Properties.

Credential Manager

5. Click on the General tab and check if the Startup type is set to Automatic.


6. Click on Start to ensure services are running, and then click Apply.

You can retry copying the encrypted files.

Wrapping Up

If you are someone who often has to transfer files from your computer to a USB drive, chances are you might stumble upon error 0x80070052: the directory or file cannot be created. You can try one of these fixes and get rid of the issue. And, if you already have, share with us in the comments which of the above solutions helped you fix the problem. Follow us on social media – FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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