Fix: Error the file cannot be accessed by the system (1920)

The error “The file cannot be accessed by the system (1920)” occurs when the system is unable to access the files on your computer. These files are usually shared files which are either shared over the cloud or over a network. These can also be normal files which are subjected to a Windows update or an operating system rollback.

This error mostly occurs in Windows servers and workstations. Instances of this error in normal Windows PC’s involve OneDrive files which are hosted over the cloud but cannot be accessed locally. We will go through the solutions one by one starting with the easiest one.

What causes ‘The file cannot be accessed by the system (1920)?

Since the error is so broad and spans over so many different cases, it is impossible to list all the causes of the issue. Nonetheless, we have listed the most common root cases below:

  • This error can be caused by a corrupt file system or invalid data. A file system can get corrupt if you move drives between computers or try to update Windows.
  • This can also be caused when you move LUNS which is previously mounted to a Windows 2008 R2 Storage Server to a Windows 2012 R2 Storage server.
  • It can also occur because the file structure in Windows Explorer is corrupt. This can occur due to a number of different reasons including moving your installation drive between computers.
  • In normal PC’s, this error occurs when OneDrive has corrupt or inaccessible local files directory mostly because of change of the user logged in.
  • The Robocopy module which is a replication command in Windows can also cause this error message. This utility is mainly present in Windows RT and storage servers.

How to fix ‘The file cannot be accessed by the system (1920)’?

As mentioned before, the majority of the users face this error message when opening OneDrive files or accessing files using Network Shares. It can also occur if the network drive is mapped incorrectly and occurs in almost all operating systems i.e. Windows 10, 7, and 8. The solutions listed below all operating systems.

Note: Before you begin, make sure that you execute the command “chkdsk /r” in your data partition. Majority of the problems might be solved by this problem if the mapping is incorrect.

Solution 1: Looking in ‘DE/shares’ in Original disk

If you are trying to read/access old shares folder from an old disk but after a new installation in Windows server, you might encounter this error message. If the old disk was the system disk in your previous installation, you should be able to find the original files present in a hidden folder ‘DE/shares’. The folder might be found on the D partition of your original disk.

If your old disk was just a data disk in your previous Windows Home Server installation, you might be able to find the original files in a hidden folder ‘DE\shares’ in the root of that disk. In order to view the files in any of the cases, you need to enable the displaying of hidden files and folders as mentioned below.

  1. Press Windows + E to open Windows Explorer. Click View and select Options > Change folder and search options. You perform similar steps if you are using an older version of the operating system.

  1. Select the tab View and check the option Show hidden files, folders, and drives. Also, uncheck the option Hide protected operating system files (Recommended).

If you are using an older version, check the following options:

Display the contents of system folders

Show hidden files and folders

And uncheck the following:

Hide file extensions for known file types

Hide protected operating system files

In essence, make all kinds of files visible and check in the locations mentioned above.

Solution 2: Checking Data deduplication

Data deduplication is a special data compression technique which eliminates duplicate copies of repeating data. It is also called intelligent compression. This is used to improve storage utilization and is mostly implemented in servers in network data transfers to reduce the total number of bytes to be sent.

There have been many cases where this technique has been the cause of the issue. In some cases, you to turn on data deduplication on your drive and get it running to access files which have been deduplicated. This is valid even if the deduplication process has failed and seems not to work.

In other cases, you have to turn off data deduplication. This primarily happens when you have enabled it in one server and then plug the drive into another OS or server. You need to plug the device back into the original computer and disable data deduplication.

Solution 3: Checking for spanned volumes

A spanned volume is a dynamic volume which has disk space on more than one physical drive. When you use spanned volume, you are able to merge unallocated spaces into a single volume, thus providing greater ease of access and saving your disk space. However, if you are getting some software such as Veeam setup on your computer and testing your file level restores, you might encounter this error.

This probably only occurs in your file shares. The reason for this error might be that you have your file shares in a spanned volume. These are known to conflict with the restore mechanism. Get a workaround for your spanned volumes, save the restores to an independent drive and then try again.

Solution 4: Resyncing OneDrive

If you encounter this error one OneDrive, it is possible that your local OneDrive directory in your file explorer which syncs with the cloud is corrupt and beyond repair. This usually occurs because of incorrect mapping between the cloud destination and your local explorer. In this case, there are two options: either log out of OneDrive, delete the local directory and then try logging back in. Either this or reinstall Windows from scratch.

  1. Right-click on your OneDrive icon present at your taskbar and select Settings.
  2. Once in OneDrive settings, select the tab of Account and click Unlink this PC. This will remove your email address associated with OneDrive.

  1. Now navigate to your File Explorer and delete all your OneDrive files.

  1. Restart your computer for the changes to take place. Now try logging into OneDrive again and use the file explorer to download all the files again from the cloud.

Solution 5: Reinstalling Windows/ Windows Server

If the error persists only on a single computer but doesn’t in other systems, it probably means that your file system is corrupt or in the case of OneDrive causing the issue, it means the OneDrive module is misconfigured beyond repair.

In these situations, it is advised that you reinstall Windows properly after backing data up or installing an older version of the operating system. Once you do this, you can try accessing the drive again and see if this fixes the issue at hand.

To perform a clean installation of Windows, you need to download Windows from the website and then create a bootable media. You check our article on how to create a bootable media. There are two ways: by using media creation tool by Microsoft and by using Rufus. You can easily install Windows using the bootable media.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.