Fixed: Can’t Read From Source File Or Disk Error [2023]

Summary: Suppose you frequently need to move files (especially several gigabytes of files) from one drive or computer to another. In that case, you are familiar with error messages like “Can’t read from source file or disk”. In this post, we will share with you the methods to fix the “Can’t read from source file or disk” error in Windows 10.


In both your professional and personal life, copying, deleting, or moving files is common and usually goes smoothly. However, when attempting to transfer files to other devices such as a USB drive, external hard drive, SD card, or DVD, the error message “Can’t read from source file or disk” may appear in Windows 10, as mentioned example previously.

The “Can’t read from source file or disk” error can be attributed to several factors, including connection issues, problems with the file itself, issues with the source external hard drive, or insufficient space on the target partition. The main causes include the following:

  • An issue with the USB port or connection cable.
  • The file you want to copy is larger than the allotted size.
  • Corruption of the file being copied or moved.
  • Errors in the file system of the source disk.
  • Bad sectors are present on the source external hard disk.
  • Insufficient space on the local partition.

To fix the “Can’t read from source file or disk” error, refer to the methods recommended below.

Methods to Fix the “Can’t read from source file or disk” Error

Method 1: Restart the Computer and Reconnect the USB Drive

The first step to resolve the “Can’t read from source file or disk” error during file transfer is to restart your computer. This simple action may prove to be the solution to the problem. If this doesn’t work, it is possible that a connection issue with the USB drive is causing the error. To address this, try disconnecting and reconnecting the drive.

Method 2: Change File Permissions

If Windows denies you ownership of a file, you will encounter the error “Can’t read from source file or disk” when opening it, even if the file transfer was successful. To resolve this issue, you must alter the file permissions. This will allow you to access the file and eliminate the error in Windows 10.

  1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Find and right-click the file with the error, then select Properties.
  3. Go to the Security tab and tap the Edit button.
  4. Then click the Add button to open the Select Users or Groups window.
  5. Enter your PC name in the blank box at the bottom, click Check Names, and click the OK button.File Permissions-select user or group
  6. Select the computer name you entered before, check the checkbox of Allow Full control below, and tap the OK button.

Method 3: Run CHKDSK

The presence of bad tracks on your storage device can result in the error “Can’t read from source file or disk”. To resolve this issue, it is necessary to inspect and fix these bad tracks.

  1. Type cmd in the Search box, and select Run as administrator.
  2. Then type in the command: chkdsk C: /f /r and press Enter. Remember to replace C with the drive letter of the disk with bad tracks.chkdsk-c-r-f
  3. Press the Y button to confirm the check at the next system reboot.
  4. Last, restart your computer.

Method 4: Use Error Checking

  1. Press Win + E to open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click on the disk you want to check and repair, then choose Properties.
  3. Switch to the Tools tab, and click the Check button in the Error checking section.error checking
  4. Then tap the Scan drive option and wait for the scan to complete.
  5. When you find a disk drive error, tap the Close button and tap the Repair Disk Drive option.

Method 5: Format the Disk with File Explorer

Mismatched file systems are a leading cause of the “Can’t read from source file or disk” error. Windows primarily use two file systems – NTFS and FAT32. The newer versions of Windows tend to utilize NTFS. However, many external hard drives still utilize FAT32. Fitting the disk may be a viable option if none of the previous solutions resolve the “Can’t read from source file or disk” error. It is recommended to back up the disk before formatting.

  1. Use Win + E to open File Explorer and select the disk you want to format.
  2. Right-click it and select Format.
  3. Select the File system like NTFS, uncheck the Quick format checkbox, and click the Start button.format-memory-card

Note: While Quick Format is faster, it only eliminates the file system logs from the disk and bypasses error checking, leaving any disk problems unresolved. A full format, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive solution that thoroughly checks the disk and is thus highly recommended.

Method 6: Formatting the Disk with CMD

  1. Type cmd in the Search box, and select Run as administrator.
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type in the command: format c: /fs:ntfs and press Enter. Remember to replace c with the number of the disk you want to format.
  3. Last, enter Y for confirmation.format to ntfs-cmd

Note: The default is a full format. If you want to format quickly, type the command: Format c: /q /fs:ntfs.

Recover Data from USB Drive/ SD Card/ External Hard Drive

When data is inaccessible, backup is essential to avoid data loss. Bitwar Data Recovery Software can easily help you recover lost data due to deletion, formatting, or system crash from a USB drive/ SD card/ external hard drive, etc. Besides, the CHKDSK utility or disk formatting handles such errors effortlessly but causes data loss. The detailed steps are as follows:

  1. Go to Bitwarsoft Download Center, find and install the Windows or macOS versions of Bitwar Data Recovery on the computer.
  2. Select the driver you want to recover from the Disk Partitions and Devices list.Bitwar data recovery 7.01
  3. Choose the Quick Scan mode. If data is lost due to formatting, select Formatted Recovery. You can choose the Deep Scan mode when the needed data can’t be found. It performs an in-depth search to look for data in every corner of your computer. After that, click on the Next button.Bitwar data recovery7.01-scan
  4. Choose your target file type, and click Scan.Bitwar data recovery7.01-Type
  5. Choose, preview the scanned files you need, then click Recover and save the files into other external storage devices.

NOTE: Remember to save all the files you want to recover to a different file location to prevent data from being overwritten!


Dealing with a significant number of files on a Windows computer can result in the occurrence of the “Can’t read from source file or disk” error. While it may not be feasible to prevent it entirely, some steps can be taken to minimize the risk and resolve the issue. This article provides comprehensive information on the most common methods to help you effectively address the problem.

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