By Delia / Last update March 21, 2022

Have you encountered "The system cannot find the path specified" error on your Windows computer? There are many possible reasons for seeing this message, such as typing the wrong path at the command prompt or a program installation failure, a registry problem on your system, or worse, a virus attack, so don't take it lightly if you see this error. You can refer to the following 6 methods to try solving it.


*The following tutorials are based on Windows 10, but most of the methods should work for Windows 11 as well.

Check your system for viruses

A virus attack may not be the most common reason you see the "System cannot find the specified path" error, but it's a good idea to check your system for viruses before moving on to other fixes to make sure your computer is safe and free of threats before you start adjusting system settings.

If you have a third party anti-virus program installed on your computer, you can run it to check for threats, if not, you can use the windows system built-in anti-virus program called Windows Defender.

1. Press and hold Win + I to open Settings.

2. Navigate to Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & threat protection.

3. Click Quick scan to detect virus on the computer.

quick scan

If a large number of files are saved on your computer, the scan may take a while. If some threats are found, please quarantine the files and check if it solves the problem.

Verify the path of the file

If you receive this error message at the command prompt, check that the path you entered is correct. In most cases, this is a human error and the user has entered the wrong path or name on the command line.

If you encounter this error when trying to download files to your system, check that your default download folder has been changed and make sure the download location exists on your system.

Remove all invalid paths in environment variables

Environment variables contain data that can affect the way running processes behave on the system. The PATH environment variable plays an integral role in the operation of programs by saving searchable directory paths.

If an invalid path variable is entered, the process will be interrupted, resulting in the system cannot find the specified path error. Therefore, the best way to solve this problem is to remove the invalid path from the environment variable.

Follow the instructions below to remove the path.

1. Open File Explorer.

2. Right-click This PC in the left navigation, and select Properties.

3. In the new window, click the Advanced system settings link in the right-hand section.

4. From the Advanced tab of the System Properties window, click the Environment Variables button.

5. Under the User Variables section, click on the Path variable and press the Edit button, which will display all user variables.

edit environment variables

6. Check that the path is correct and working properly. To do this, simply copy the path and paste it into the address bar of the File Explorer. This will allow you to see if File Explorer can find the path. If it cannot be found, the path is incorrect and you must delete or edit it. Do this for all paths provided on the path variable. When finished, press OK.

7. Under the System Variables section, click the Path variable and press the Edit button.

Repeat step 6 to check if all paths are working properly.

Check the system registry

If you have edited the Autorun key in the Registry Editor, this may be the reason why you receive the "System cannot find the specified path" error. Please follow the instructions below to solve this problem.

1. Press and hold Win + R to open Run. Then type “regedit” and press Enter.

2. In the registry editor, copy the following text and paste it into the address bar.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Command Processor

command processor registry

3. Check if there is an AutoRun key. If there is, delete or modify the data.

4. Finally, check if you are still experiencing the same problem.

Run SFC scan

If none of the above methods work, you can run System File Checker (SFC) to find corrupted files on your system and repair them automatically.

1. Press and hold Win+R to open Run, then type cmd and press Enter.

2. At the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:

sfc /scannow

3. If SFC finds an error but cannot fix it, type this command and press Enter:


4. Then, type the following command and press Enter:


Restart your computer and see if it solves the problem.

Update your Windows system

Running an outdated operating system may cause various problems on your system, including the "The system cannot find the specified path" error. Please follow these steps to update your Windows.

1. Press and hold Windows + I to open the Settings app.

2. Go to Update & Security > Windows Update.

3. If there are any updates, click the Check for updates button to download and install them.

windows update

Restart your PC and check if you still encounter the same error.