Fix ‘Error: The system cannot open the file’

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
3 minute read

Home » Windows » Fix ‘Error: The system cannot open the file’

If you’re getting the annoying ‘ERROR_TOO_MANY_OPEN_FILES’ error code on your PC with the description The system cannot open the file“, follow the troubleshooting steps listed in this article to fix it.

‘The system cannot open the file’ error: Background and how to fix it?

This error occurs mainly when users try to install a Microsoft Windows Installer package. The root-cause of this error is folder encryption. More specifically, this problem may occur if one of the following conditions are met:

  • The Windows Installer package folder is encrypted or the folder in which you want to install the Windows Installer package is encrypted.
  • The temp folder (%TEMP%) is encrypted on a version of Windows other than Windows Vista. Tools such as the Microsoft Encrypting File System Assistant may have encrypted the temp folder, triggering this error code.

How to fix “The system cannot open the file” error

Solution 1 — Remove folder encryption

In order to fix this error, you need to eliminate the elements triggering it. In other words, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Save the Windows Installer package to a folder that is not encrypted.
  2. Install the Windows Installer package to a folder that is not encrypted.
  3. Turn off encryption of the %TEMP% folder.

At the same time, disconnect all peripherals from your computer during the install process. Sometimes, peripherals may cause various install issues and the best way to prevent this problem is to simply unplug them.

If you’re still experiencing “The system cannot open the file” error after performing the steps listed above, continue with the following troubleshooting steps.

Solution 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 Windows 10 PCs.

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.

Solution 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.

Solution 4 — Run the chkdsk command

The chkdsk command helps you detect and repair various disk issues, including corrupted files and folders which may cause various errors.

1. Go to Start > type cmd > right click the first results and launch Command Prompt as Administrator

2. Enter the chkdsk /f X: command. Replace X with the appropriate letter of your partition > hit Enter

3. Wait for chkdsk to repair your files.

Solution 5— Disable your antivirus

Sometimes, your antivirus may prevent your from installing new software on your PC or upgrading the existing software. Temporarily disable your antivirus and then try to complete the install process. Don’t forget to enable your antivirus after you finish installing the package.

More about Windows Installer

Windows Installer is an installation and configuration tool that provides better corporate deployment and a standard format for component management.

There are various Windows Installer versions available, each offering different features. The latest Windows Installer versions can install multiple patches in a single transaction, and apply patches in a specified order. Users can then uninstall these patches at any given moment.

Windows Installer also secures new accounts, Windows Services, files, folders, and registry keys by specifying a security descriptor that denies or allows permissions. For more information about Windows Installer, check out Microsoft’s Support page.

If you’ve come across other solutions to fix the “The system cannot open the file” error, feel free to list the troubleshooting steps in the comment section below.

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