Users frequently need to move files between external drives and Windows PCs. Some users cannot do this, though, due to an error message that reads, “Cannot read from the source file or disk.” Users may occasionally notice this Windows error when attempting to copy specific files to or from external USB sticks. Consequently, the following is how to resolve the “Cannot read from the source file or disk” problem.
Method 1: Look For Special Characters In File Names
Unlike Mac, Microsoft does not allow users to save files with special characters in the file names. Users can only use numbers and alphabets to name a file, and characters like *,&,%, etc, are not permitted. So if you want to copy a file from an external device with unsupported characters in the file name, you won’t be able to copy it unless you rename it and remove all the special characters.
Method 2: Execute A Check Disk Scan
If there are no special characters in the file name and you still get the “Cannot Read From The Source File Or Disk,” you need to run a check disk scan. Here are the steps:
Step 1: Press Win + E to open the File Explorer.
Step 2: Click on This PC from the left pane and right-click on the drive containing the files that cannot be copied.
Step 3: Select Properties from the context menu, then click on the Tools tab.
Step 4: Click on the Check button in the Error Checking section.
Whether Windows has discovered any faults on the drive will be made clear to you. You can scan the drive to rectify any issues it has discovered. Windows will caution you against doing so otherwise. Having said that, simply click Scan drive in the dialogue box if you want to scan the disk in any case. The CHKDSK scan will begin as a result.
Method 3: Change Your USB Cable Or Port
When Using External Drives, a problem with your USB cable or a port on your PC could also be the root of the “Cannot read from the source file or disk” error. Therefore, try connecting your external drive to a different USB port to see if it helps. If you have another USB cable available, try using it to connect the drive to your PC.
Method 4: Create A ZIP Folder By Compressing The Files
Some users have successfully resolved the “Cannot read from the source file or disk” error by ZIP-compressing the necessary files. By doing this, one or more files that need to be copied will be smaller overall. Before copying files to a disk, you can create a ZIP archive.
Method 5: Evaluate The Permissions Of The Affected Files
It’s possible that one of the files you’re attempting to copy doesn’t have full control permissions configured. In this case, you’ll need to correct the “Cannot read from the source file or disk” error. For files that are affected, you can verify and correct permissions as follows:
Step 1: Press Windows + E to open the File Explorer window.
Step 2: Locate the file you want to copy and make a right click on it.
Step 3: Choose Properties and click the Security tab in the Properties window.
Step 4: Next, select the Edit button.
Step 5: Click on the Checkbox labeled Full Control under Allow column.
Step 6: Click on Apply and then click on OK.
The Final Word On How To Fix The “Cannot Read From The Source File Or Disk” Error In Windows 11/10
Applying the above fixes will typically fix the Windows “Cannot read from the source file” issue. Then, transfer all the files you require between external disks and your Windows computer.
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