How to fix ‘ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND’ error code

By: Madeleine Dean
5 minute read

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If you’re getting the ‘ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND 2 (0x2)” or “The system cannot find the file specified” error codes, follow the troubleshooting steps listed in this article to fix them.

ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND: Background and how to fix it

The ‘ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND’ error code occurs when users try to open a file in a particular app using the Open File dialog box. This error is prevalent for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.

There are multiple causes for this error: power failures, the folder name of the file was changed by mistake, registry keys were mistakenly changed, the install process of various files didn’t complete correctly, and more.

To fix the ‘file not found’ error on Windows, follow the steps listed below.

How to fix the ‘ERROR_FILE_NOT_FOUND’ error code

Solution 1 — 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 2 — 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.

Speaking of which, installing KB947821 should fix the ‘file not found’ error. You can download this update from the Microsoft’s Update Catalog website.

Solution 3 — 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_FILE_NOT_FOUND’ 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”.


For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patended Technologies (requires upgrade).

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.

Solution 4 — Run the chkdsk command

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

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 — Download the file again

This error also occurs while installing downloaded apps and programs. Sometimes your download can become damaged or corrupted, which may trigger the ‘file not found’ error.

In this case, try to download the respective file or the entire app again. You can also use a dedicated download manager for this task.

Solution 6 — Remove the Windows.old folder

The Windows.old folder may also cause various ‘file not found’ errors. As a quick reminder, the Windows.old folder appears when you upgrade your Windows version or perform a clean install of Windows 10. The role of this folder is to keep your previous Windows installation files, allowing you to restore it. Here’s how to remove the Windows.old folder:

1. Type Disk Cleanup > select your C drive > select Clean up system files

2. Wait for the utility to calculate how much space it can free up > on the new windows, click on the “More options” tab

3. Go to System Restores and Shadow copies > hit Clean up

Solution 7 — Change the location of the file

Moving the file affected by the ‘file not found’ error to a different folder may fix the problem. Try moving the file to a different folder on the same drive. If this doesn’t work, try moving it on a different drive.

Solution 8 — Remove conflicting software

If you received the ‘file not found’ error shortly after you installed a new app or program on your computer, try uninstalling the respective app or program. Sometimes, various third-party apps may interfere with the file that you’re trying to open.

To remove a program, go to Start and type “Control Panel”. Launch the tool and click “Uninstall a program”. Locate the application that you think it’s the culprit and uninstall it.

Solution 10 — Disable your antivirus

Sometimes, your antivirus may block the file that you are trying to open. Temporarily disable your antivirus and then try to open the file again. If this doesn’t work, try downloading the file again. Open it and see if this works now. Don’t forget to enable your antivirus after you finish downloading the file.

Are you still experiencing the ‘FILE_NOT_FOUND’ error code after following the troubleshooting steps listed above? Use the comment section below to tell us which solution fixed the problem.

If you’ve come across other workarounds to this error, feel free to list the troubleshooting steps in the comment section below.

RELATED STORIES YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT:

For various PC problems, we recommend this tool.

This software will repair common computer errors, protect you from file loss, malware, hardware failure and optimize your PC for maximum performance. Fix PC issues now in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download this PC Repair Tool rated "Excellent" on TrustPilot.com.
  2. Click “Start Scan” to find Windows issues that could be causing PC problems.
  3. Click “Repair All” to fix all issues with Patended Technologies (requires upgrade).

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