“The system cannot open the device or file specified” (Fix)

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you encounter the error “The system cannot open the device or file specified” (sometimes accompanied by an error code such as 2755) when running an installer in Windows 11 or 10, especially a .msi extension installer, this post will provide you with some possible solutions. While it can be difficult to identify the cause of this error, which is related to the Windows Installer and setup, the following are some of the most common causes and solutions.

The system cannot open the device or file specified

Solution 1: Ensure the installer is not encrypted

The most common reason for the “The system cannot open the device or file specified” error is due to the file being encrypted. Therefore, it’s essential to verify if the installer and its directory are encrypted or not. Disabling the content encryption would usually resolve the issue. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the installer that causes the error and select Properties from the context menu.
  2. On the General tab, click on the Advanced button.
  3. Under Compress or Encrypt attributes, uncheck the “Encrypt contents to secure data” option.The system cannot open the device or file specified Install
  4. Repeat step 1-3 for the directory where the installer is located. For example, if the installer is in C:/Download, ensure that the Download folder is not encrypted.
  5. Try running the installer again.

    If you cannot change the attributes of the directory because it’s encrypted and you’re not allowed to make any changes, try moving the installer to another directory or drive and run it again.

    Solution 2: Check for Symlink or directory junction set up for the Installer folder

    If you have previously created a symbolic link or directory junction for the C:\Windows\Installer folder to save space on your system drive, this might be the cause of the issue. Some msi installers may have difficulty recognizing the symlink and causing the error. Therefore, if you have created a symlink for the C:\Windows\Installer folder before, move the files back to where they should be and remove the symlink. To learn how to do it properly, see this guide.

    Note: If you have no idea what a symlink or directory junction is and don’t recall ever creating one for the Windows\Installer folder, please skip this fix and do not attempt to make any changes to the Installer folder. Changing or deleting the Installer folder may cause serious issues to your system.

    Error 2755

    Solution 3: Disable antivirus software

    Sometimes, your antivirus program may prevent your system from opening or accessing installer files, causing the “cannot find file specified” error. This issue is especially common if you’re using Trend Micro, Avast, AVG, or Kaspersky Free as your antivirus software. Try temporarily disabling the shield or your antivirus entirely and rerun the installer again.

    Pause antivirus protection

    Solution 4: Clean temp files and ensure C: drive has enough space

    Before an installer can install files onto any directory of your choice, it first extracts its files into a temp folder, which is usually in your system drive by default (C: drive). If the temp folder or your C: drive doesn’t have enough space, it could cause the “The system cannot open the device or file specified” error when running the installer. To remove temporary files in the temp folder, follow these steps:

    1. Press the Win + R keys to open the Run window.
    2. Type in %temp% and hit Enter to open the temp folder.
    3. Select all files and press Shift + Del to permanently delete all temporary files.

    Alternatively, you can clear up some space on your system drive if it clearly has less than enough space for what you want to install. Once you have sufficient space, try running the installer again. Also, ensure that your drive is not encrypted (refer to fix 1).

    Other solutions:

    Here are some other possible fixes for the “The system cannot open the device or file specified” error:

    • Check if the installation is being run over a Terminal Server or mapped network drive. Try running the installer in a local location and see if the issue can be resolved.
    • Try re-registering Windows Installer by opening command prompt (cmd) with administrative privileges (run as administrator) and typing the following commands followed by Enter key after each line:
    • Re-download the installer. If you’ve tried everything else and nothing works, a corrupted installer could also cause the error 2755. Downloading a new installer may sometimes fix the issue entirely.

    Nyau Wai Hoe
    Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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