The system cannot move the file to a different disk drive

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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The system cannot move the file to a different disk drive

If you’re getting the ‘ERROR_NOT_SAME_DEVICE’ error code with ‘The system cannot move the file to a different disk drive‘ description, follow the troubleshooting steps listed in this article to fix it.

The system cannot move the file: Error background

‘The system cannot move the file to a different disk drive‘ error, also known as error 0x80070011 or 17 (0x11), occurs when users try to install updates on their computers. There are various elements triggering this issue:

  • Damaged or corrupted files and folders.
  • Missing EXE, DLL or SYS files.
  • Deleted registry values.
  • Malware infection.
  • Outdated software versions, etc.

How to fix The system cannot move the file to a different disk drive error?

also known as ERROR_NOT_SAME_DEVICE 17 (0x11)’

Before you proceed with the troubleshooting methods listed below, make sure that the updates are installing to the same drive where you installed your operating system.

1. Run a full system scan

Malware may cause various issues on your computer, including errors. Perform a full system scan in order to detect any malware running on your computer. You can use Windows’ built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, or third-party antivirus solutions.

2. Repair your registry

The simplest way to repair your registry is to use a dedicated tool, such as CCleaner. Don’t forget to first backup your registry in case anything goes wrong. If you haven’t installed any registry cleaner on your computer, check out our article on the best registry cleaners to use on PC.

You can also use Microsoft’s System File Checker to check for system file corruption. However, this utility is only available on Windows 10. Here’s how to run an SFC scan:

  1. Go to Start > type cmd > right-click Command Prompt > select Run as Administrator
  2. Now type the sfc /scannow command

  3. Wait for the scanning process to complete and then restart your computer. All corrupted files will be replaced on reboot.

3. Update your OS

Make sure that you’re running the latest Windows OS updates on your machine. As a quick reminder, Microsoft constantly rolls out Windows updates in order to improve the system’s stability and fix various issues.

Go to Windows Update, check for updates and install the available updates. To access the Windows Update section, you can simply type “update” in the search box. This method works on all Windows versions.

If you’re looking for a particular update, go to Microsoft’s Update Catalog website. Simply type the KB number of the respective update, hit Enter and then click on the download button.

4. Remove recently installed software

If you recently installed new software on your computer, try uninstalling it. Go to Start > type Control Panel > select the program(s) recently added > click Uninstall.

Then restart your computer, and try to install the updates again.

5. Check your disk for errors

On Windows 10, you can run a disk check using Command Prompt.

Start Command Prompt as administrator and type the chkdsk C: /f command followed by Enter. Replace C with the letter of your hard drive partition.

On Windows 7, go to hard drives > right-click the drive that you want to check  > select Properties > Tools. Under the ‘Error checking’ section, click Check.

6. Clean your temporary files and folders

The simplest and quickest manner to delete your temporary files and folders is to use Disk Cleanup. As you use your computer or browse the Internet, your PC accumulates various unnecessary files.

These so called junk files may affect your computer’s processing speed, causing apps to respond slowly and may also trigger various error codes, including the ‘ERROR_NOT_SAME_DEVICE’ error code.

Here’s how to use Disk Cleanup on Windows 10:

  1. Go to Start > type Disk Cleanup > launch the tool

  2. Select the disk that you want to clean > the tool will them tell you how much space you can free up
  3. Select Clean up system files.

Here’s how to use Disk Cleanup on Windows 7:

  1. Go to Start > type Disk Cleanup > open Disk Cleanup.
  2. In Disk Cleanup’s description section, select Clean up system files and select the drive that you want to clean up > click OK.
  3. On the Disk Cleanup tab, select the check boxes for the file types that you want to delete > click OK > select Delete files.

7. Temporarily change registry keys

The following solution is specific to Windows 7. If you run this OS version, but you can’t install any updates, follow these instructions:

  1. Save your original registry key values. In case anything goes wrong, you will be able to restore your previous functional Windows version.
  2. Change the following registry key values from C: or %SystemDrive% to D (or another drive):
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList
  3. Install the updates
  4. Restore the registry key values to back to the original drive.

8. Format your drive

If none of the solutions listed above worked, try formatting the problematic drive. Formatting and restoring the default drive settings should fix this problem. Keep in mind that formatting your drive means deleting all the files and folders stored on the respective drive.

  1. Go to Start > type ‘disk management‘ > select the Disk Management utility
  2. Right-click the drive that you want to format > select the Format option
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to further customize the format process > click OK on the warning window.
  4. Once the format process finishes, you can use your drive. Try to install the updates again to see if this action fixed the problem.

9. Use system recovery options

The System Restore option allows you to restore the previous well-performing system configuration without losing any files, except for a few customizable features and settings.

If System Restore is enabled, follow the instructions listed below:

  1. Go to Search > type system properties > open System Properties.
  2. Go to System Protection > click on System Restore.
  3. Click Next > choose the preferred restore point in the new window.
  4. Once you’ve select your preferred restore point, click Next > click Finish.
  5. Your PC will restart and the restoring process will start.

After the procedure has been completed, try to update your computer to see if the problem still persists.

Windows 10 offers a series of advanced recovery option that allows users to clean install the OS. If you’re a Windows 10 user, you can also use ‘Reset this PC’ recovery option.

  1. Go to Settings > Update & Security > click on Recovery under the left pane.
  2. Click on Get Started under Reset this PC > choose to Keep your files.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset.

We hope that the solutions listed above helped you fix ‘The system cannot move the file to a different disk drive‘ error. If you’ve come across other workarounds to fix this problem, you can help the Windows community by listing the troubleshooting steps in the comments below.


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