The access code is invalid: How to fix this PC error

Madeleine Dean By: Madeleine Dean
4 minute read
The access code is invalid

Home » Windows » The access code is invalid: How to fix this PC error

If you’re getting the ‘ERROR_INVALID_ACCESS’ error code 12 with ‘The access code is invalid’ description, follow the troubleshooting steps listed below to fix it.

The access code is invalid: error background

Windows users may experience this error when trying to access various files, apps, or platforms using a specific access code. However, strangely enough, although the code is correct, users are not granted access to the respective apps and files.

There are also cases where the invalid code error prevents users from completing various actions, such as importing app or hardware settings, or resetting passwords.

In order to make sure that the invalid code error is genuine and is not triggered by inappropriate keyboard layout, verify your keyboard settings first.

On Windows 10, go to Settings > Time & Language > Regions & Languages and select the appropriate keyboard layout. To change your keyboard layout on Windows 7, check out this Microsoft Support page.

Fix ‘The access code is invalid’ error

You can fix ‘The access code is invalid’ error using the following troubleshooting steps:

Solution 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.

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.

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.

Solution 4 — Remove recently installed software

If you recently installed new software on your computer, try uninstalling it. The respective software may have changed various elements on your computer triggering the invalid code error.

Go to Start > type Control Panel > select the program(s) recently added > click Uninstall.

Then restart your computer, and copy the files again.

Solution 5 – Use the hidden Administrator account

Windows 10 features a built-in admin account that offers you unrestricted access to your PC. However, due to security measures, this account isn’t easily accessible,but here’s what you can do to enable it:

  1. Launch Command Prompt (Admin)
  2. Run the net user administrator /active:yes command to unlock the administrator account.
  3. Log off of your account > switch to the newly enabled Administrator account. Follow the initial steps that triggered error 12 and see if the Hidden Admin account helps.
  4. After you’re done using the account, go back to your main account.
  5. Launch Command Prompt as administrator again > enter net user administrator /active:no to disable the Administrator account.

Solution 6 – Check your permissions

In rare cases, the invalid access error occurs if you lack certain permissions to access particular files and folders. Here’s how to check for permissions:

  1. Right click the problematic directory > select Properties
  2. Go to the Security tab > click the Edit button.
  3. Select your user name from the list > check Full control for Allow column in Permissions section.

if your user name isn’t on the list, add it manually and then change the permissions. Grant Full control to both Administrators and Users over the problematic folder, or even Full control to Everyone.


There is also one particular situation where ERROR_INVALID_ACCESS 12 (0XC) occurs, requiring you to use specific troubleshooting methods.

‘The access code is invalid’ error on printers

Users report that the ‘get-printer/set-printer -PermissionSDDL’ PowerShell command fixes the invalid code error on printers. Here are the steps to follow to perform this action:

1. Go to Start > type “powershell’ > right-click the tool > Run as Administrator

2. Type the ‘get-printer/set-printer -PermissionSDDL’ command > hit Enter

Have you encountered the ‘ERROR_INVALID_ACCESS’ in other situations? If so, you can also list the necessary troubleshooting steps in the comments below.

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