"Can't read from the source file or disk" is an error that users experience usually when they are moving or copying and pasting files between locations. Most of the time, this happens when users try to move files from a PC’s internal hard drive to an external hard drive/SSD. We have put the solutions to this issue in this article so do not panic if you come across this error.

can't read from the source file or disk

Reasons for "Can't Read from the Source File or Disk" Error

There are many causes for this error, and it is difficult for us to say what exactly is causing this problem since different users can experience this error for different reasons. However, some of the most common reasons are:

Power supply issues – Your hard drive requires power to be used. If there is no sufficient power flowing to the hard drive, then it will not function correctly.

Not enough hard drive storage – Your external HDD could be full and have almost no free storage. So when you attempt to move files to the drive, it may display this error instead of the usual error displaying not enough space.

Faulty external hard drive (HDD) connection – There is an issue with either your USB cable or the physical connection pins on your external hard drive.

hard drive connection

Unsupported file names – You might have noticed that Windows does not support certain file names, meaning if there are some files on your hard drive that have these names (such as AUX), or names that are not recognised by Windows, this error could occur.

Hard drive bad sectors – HDDs are made of many sectors, each of which holds some information. If some of these sectors become corrupt or physically damaged, they can no longer be read or written to.

File permissions – This will prevent you or any other users on your PC from accessing this file and then cause this error.

Extract Data from Hard Drive with AnyRecover First

As you can see, there are many causes for this error, and naturally there are also many fixes. But it's very likely that some data loss could happen during the fixing process, especially when things are complicated. Therefore first of all, to ensure the safety of data in the hard drive, you’d better extract the data before it get lost.

Try to attempt these fixes in the order we suggest since the latter ones in this article are more complex and could result in data loss.  

Here iMyFone AnyRecover is highly recommended. As a professional tool trusted by over a million users worldwide to recover their data securely, it is a program that recovers data in any scenario, and some of the excellent features of this program are:

  • Recovers data froml hard disk drives with high recovery rate in various scenarios.
  • Unique algorithms ensure fast scanning speed. And you can pause and resume the scanning process anytime.
  • Supports 1000+ file types, including photos, videos, office documents, archives.
  • Uses an extremely safe recovery technique that keeps original data intact and secure.
  • Offers free scan and preview. And users can recover 3 files with the free trial.
  • To extract data from the hard disk with AnyRecover, first download and install it to your computer.

    Windows version Mac version

    Step 1.Select a Location

    Launch AnyRecover. To start extracting data, select a location where you have lost data. Here, you should select the external hard drives and click "Start".

    select a location

    Step 2.Scan the Location

    The program will start an all-round scan on your selected location.

    start scan

    Step 3.Preview and Recover

    After the scanning is completed, you can freely preview all the files listed. Then select what you want and click “Recover” to get them back.

    preview and recover

    Fix "Can't Read from the Source File or Disk" Error

    With all the data safely extracted from your hard drive, you can now begin to fix this error without worry so much. As some possible issues listed in part 1 are easy to deal with so here we just skip them and introduce the major solutions to those more complicated issues.

    Fix 1: Fix Bad Sectors Using CHKDSK 

    Command prompt is a useful tool for scanning your drives for any bad sectors and then fixing them. You will need to connect your external drive to your PC and make a note of the letter assigned to it by Windows. Then:

    Step 1: Open command prompt as administrator. Enter the following command (replace the letter X with the letter of your drive): chkdsk X: /r.

    Step 2: Reboot your computer and see if the issue is resolved. If you are still facing the "Can't Read from the Source File or Disk" error, then try the next fix.

    Fix 2: Remove Bad File Permission 

    If you have identified a bad file, you can remove permission to access this file from it.

    Step 1: Right-click on the "bad file" and click on Properties, and then Security.

    Step 2: Press the Edit button and then click Add. Enter your Windows account name and click Check Names then confirm this change.

    remove bad file permission

    Step 3: Click on your account name and provide the Full Control permission. Click Apply then OK.

    Fix 3: Fix Mismatched File Systems

    As newer versions of Windows have been released, there have been changes in the file system types, with Windows 8 and 10 using NTFS but Windows 7 using NTFS and FAT32. Since FAT32 is an older format, it cannot handle large file sizes and its maximum capacity is around 4GB. Moving files close to or above 4GB will cause troubles.

    Step 1: To identify the file formats of the file source and the destination, right-click on the hard drive containing the file you wish to copy and click on Properties.

    Step 2: Make a note of the file system (NTFS or FAT32).

    Step 3: Repeat for the destination hard drive.

    If both are NTFS, then this solution will not work, so try the next solution. However, if one of the hard drives is FAT32, you will need to use a file splitter (such as GSplit). This will split the file into smaller segments, which will then allow you to copy and paste between FAT32.

    In this case, split the file first. Then copy all the segments of the split file. Once all the segments are on the destination drive, you can rebuild them to reform the file back to its original form.

    Fix 4: Format the Disk

    The final fix you can try is to completely format the disk. But this will cause all data on this drive to be erased so make sure you have created a backup of the data on it before.

    Step 1: Open Disk Management through Control Panel.

    Step 2: Look for the drive you want to format from the list. right-click it and choose Format.

    Step 3: Choose the NTFS file system, and follow the on-screen instructions to proceed.

    format the disk

    Since all the files on your drive have been removed, anything corrupt will also be removed so that you will be able to use your drive normally again.


    There are several different fixes to the “Can’t read from the source file or disk” error due to the different reasons causing this error. We hope the solutions outlined in this article have helped you resolve this issue. Besides, when it comes to problems regarding data recovery facing this error or any other errors, iMyFone AnyRecover is still the tool you can always trust. However bad the situation is, this incredible tool will get back your precious data with simple steps.

    Windows version Mac version