"Access to the specified device, path, or file is denied"

Sometimes Windows can surprise you. I’m fixing up a PC that was infested with over a dozen dialers and spyware apps, and over 100 suspicious registry keys (thank you Adaware!)
After I cleaned out the machine I couldn’t bring up the display properties. I would get the above error message!
Thanks to this page I found a solution and now I know about a useful tool called “sfc” which can be used to restore individual files of a Windows (at least Win98 anyway) installation from the source cab files. A quick reboot later and I was able to change the screen resolution again!
Later, it looks like it’s not completely clean, there was still a reference to fntldr.exe in the win.ini.. That ptsnoop.exe looks suspicious too. Hmm. Must try some of the other anti-spyware out there.

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

5 thoughts on “"Access to the specified device, path, or file is denied"”

  1. Help please. Have no address book. Using win98 and the message: The specified file does not appear to be a valid address book file. On manually going through the address I am still unable to get address book. If I try to open the address book in outlook it gives me an error message stating that there was an eror opening this message. An error has occured. And another message that I get is Unable to open the Address book. The Address book may not be installed properly.

  2. I found the problem after a few tries. Go to your C:\\WINDOWS\\Application Data\\Microsoft\\Address Book folder and rename both your files, deleting the last letter (or adding a number, whichever). This should make your address book make a new file which should be valid.

  3. that reference to Adaware, did you mean it PUTS bad things on a compy or does it just not find them? I already know it never finds anything but cookies for me. The other thing is I am getting that Msg regarding downloads. Most often the file downloads fine but when I click OPEN in the finished download dialog box, it says that. then I go manually to the location and open the file no prob. This all started with me checking some permissions box to disallow access accidentally. when I clicked it, it checked off sexurity boxes alllllll over my win2k system. I had to go as admin and manually remove check marks in boxes I’d never known existed. It even tried to tell me the administrator wasn’t allowed to remove some of them, but I weaselled around it in my usual methods. any advice on that?

  4. Thank you Anon! I have been searching the net for days to solve the address book error and I had tried several suggestions. I was unable to open the address book and email attachments because of this problem. It was driving me crazy! Finally I came across your post, I did what you suggested and the ol’address book is back! In windows my address book was named vc and I changed it to vc.wab, such a simple change made all the difference! Anyway, thanks for sharing your knowledge. I need all the help I can get :>

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