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How To Force Copy Files In Windows And Fix Common Access Denied Errors

Windows has a strict permission system and sometimes other operations can prevent a file transfer. Here is a way to force copy files and common errors you may encounter while copying files.

Force Copy Using XCopy

Sometimes the regular GUI is just not good enough for your file transfer operations. XCopy is faster and more robust.

1. Step Open a command prompt
2. Step Enter xcopy /?
3. Step You should see a list of operators
4. Step Copying files is simple, the first path specifies the source (where you original files are stored), the second the destination (where to copy the files).

EXAMPLE
xcopy *.exe "C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Flash Player"

Copying Files To Folder With Spaces In Path.png

This would copy all exe files in the directory you are currently in to the Adobe Flash Player directory. Use the command cd to change the directory to your source directory.

NOTE: There are quotes around the path because the path includes a folder name with spaces “My Folder”. The syntax wouldn’t allow spaces so you have to wrap it in quotes.

Error #1: Can’t Copy Files: Access Denied

Some files, especially system files, are protected and as such cannot be overwritten or modified. You will receive an access denied error when trying to modify them.

Solution: Taking ownership of the file is most often required when you receive the error “access denied” in order to force copy the file. You can do this via the file properties (right-click, properties, permissions) or you can download our take ownership script

Error #2: The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process

One very common problem is that Windows tells you that the file is being used by another process. You will receive an error message like this: An Unexpected Error Is Preventing The Operation

An Unexpected Error Is Preventing The Operation.png

Solution: This error usually appears when another program has not been properly closed. Some processes keep running even after you close the program itself. There is only one way to verify that. Remember the name of the process that is preventing the operation, then open the task manager (CTRL + ALT + DEL) and check the processes that are running. Press the first letter of the process name on your keyboard or sort by name to quickly find the process, then right-click on it and end it.

End Process That Is Accessing File.png

Error #3: Access to C:\path was denied

If you are trying to copy files onto a USB drive and you are getting an access denied error, you can try this:
Fix Drive Is Not Accessible

Make sure the device has the correct read/write permissions and is not corrupted. Tread carefully, writing data to a corrupt USB drive can further damage it or result in lost data. Make sure to keep a backup of your data.

Alternative Solutions: Auto-Repair Your PC And Drivers

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Published: Thursday, October 1st, 2015 Last Modified: October 1, 2015

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