Owner system

6 Ways to Fix “The System Cannot Find the Path Specified” Error on Windows

Are you currently seeing a “the system cannot find the specified path” error on your Windows computer?

However, it can also mean that there are registry issues in your system such as invalid keys or worse virus attack. That’s why if you see this error, don’t take it lightly. Here are six fixes you can make to resolve this problem immediately.

1. Check your system for viruses

Virus attacks may not be the most common reason why you see the “the system cannot find the path specified” error. But it is better to check your system for viruses before proceeding with further fixes. This ensures that your computer is safe and free from threats before you start changing system settings.

If a third-party antivirus program is installed on your computer, you can run it to check for threats. However, if you don’t have one, you can use your program’s built-in antivirus program called Windows Defender. Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold To earn + I keys to open Settings.
  2. Then click Security and update > Windows Security.
  3. Then press Protection against viruses and threats.
    virus and threat protection
  4. Finally, click on Quick scan.
    quick scan


The scan may take some time if you have a lot of files saved on your computer. Once it’s done and no threats are found, move on to the next fixes. If it found any threats, quarantine the files and check if it fixed the problem.

2. Check the file path

If you received this error message on the command prompt, check if you are typing the correct path or not. Most of the time it is human error where users insert the wrong path or name on the command line. So run your command again and make sure the path is entered correctly.

If you are getting this error when trying to download files on your system, check if your default download folder is changed and make sure that the download location you have exists in your system.

3. Remove all invalid paths in environment variable

An environment variable contains data that can affect the behavior of processes running on your system. So, if you run a program on your computer from the command line, the PATH environment variables play a vital role in recording the directory path that can be searched.

To understand how this works, imagine a computer with two different directories. If you try to run a program currently in a different directory, your system will look for the directories saved in the PATH variable. If the program is available in any directory, your system can run it without problems.

However, if you put an invalid path variable, the process will be terminated, causing the error “the system cannot find the path specified”. So, the best way to fix this problem is to remove invalid paths from the environment variable.

Follow the instructions below to delete the paths:

  1. On your computer, open File Explorer.
  2. Then search This PC path in the left navigation, right click on it and choose Properties.
    the properties of this PC
  3. In the new window, click the Advanced System Settings link in the right section.
    advanced system settings
  4. In the Advanced tab of the System Properties window, click the Environment variables button.
    Environment variables
  5. In the User Variables section, check the box Path variable by clicking on it and pressing the Edit button. This will display all user variables.
    path user variables
  6. Then check if the paths are correct and working. To do this, simply copy the path and paste it into the File Explorer address bar. This will allow you to see if File Explorer can find the path. If you can’t find it, the path is incorrect and you need to Remove Where Edit this. Do this on all paths provided in the path variable. When finished, press Okay.
    change user path variables
  7. Then, under the System Variables section, click on the Path variable and press the Edit button.
    path system variables
  8. Repeat step six to check if all paths work.
    change system path variables

You can all view all path variables in command prompt. just type echo %PATH% and press Enter. However, it won’t tell you if the path is invalid or not.

4. Check your system registry

If you have changed the autorun keys in the registry editor, this may be the reason why you are getting a “the system cannot find the path specified” error. AutoRun keys work by executing a command automatically when opened. If the information specified in the keys is incorrect, errors may occur. Follow the instructions below to resolve this issue.

  1. Press and hold Win + R keys to open Run. Then type Regedit and press Enter.
  2. In Registry Editor, copy this text

    Processor HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESoftwareMicrosoftCommand and paste it into the address bar.

    registry editor address bar
  3. Then check if there is an AutoRun key. If there is, Remove Where To modify the data.
    Autorun key
  4. Finally, check if you are still facing the same issue.

5. Run an SFC scan

If none of the above methods work, you can run a System File Checker (SFC) scan to find corrupt files in your system and fix them automatically. Here’s how:

  1. Press and hold Win + R keys to open Run. Then type ordered and press Enter.
  2. On the command prompt, type sfc/scannow and press Enter.
    scan sfc now
  3. If SFC finds errors but cannot fix them, type this command after exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth and press Enter.
  4. Then type exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and knock Enter.
  5. Restart your computer and see if that fixes the problem.

6. Update your copy of Windows

The last thing you need to do to fix this error is to update your Windows system. Running an outdated system can lead to various issues on your system, including the “the system cannot find the path specified” error. Follow the steps below to upgrade your Windows:

  1. Open the Settings app on your system by long pressing the Windows + I keys.
  2. In Settings, go to Update and security > Windows Update.
  3. Then click on the Check for updates if there are updates, download and install them.
    Check for updates
  4. Restart your PC and check if you still encounter the same error.

An error-free Windows once again

Most of the time, “the system cannot find the path specified” error is often caused by an invalid path or corrupted files in your system. After performing the above mentioned fixes, your system should work fine without errors. If you’re trying to run a program and you get this error, finding the correct software installation location can help resolve the issue.

Laptop placed near a plant on the table
4 Ways to Find a Program’s Install Location in Windows

Need to find the location of a program in Windows? Luckily, it’s really easy to do once you learn how.

Read more

About the Author