Today, digital file storage is extremely reliable, however, it does not mean that it could not go wrong. You might be going around your business, opening or closing a file on Windows, when out of nowhere the error ‘can’t read from source file or disk‘ comes up on the screen.
It could be frustrating when your valuable data becomes out of reach. However, there are several solutions that you can use to fix this annoying issue. But before you do so, have a look at causes why you face this error in the first place. So, let’s move onto the causes and fixes without further ado!
PS: If you are bothered with the errors of The Disk You Inserted Was Not Readable by This Computer and the Windows Update Error Code 0x80072efe, even the file or directory is corrupted and unreadable, here are the top solutions.
Part 1: Reasons Behind ‘Can’t read from source file or disk’
1. Switch it Off & On
The first thing that you need to try on your Windows system when it shows up the ‘can’t read from source file or disk‘ is to switch it off. After a while, turn it on once again.
In most cases, the errors occur due to software glitches that usually banish with a fresh boot. This takes about a few minutes. So, just try this out.
2. Disk Format Incompatibility
As two hard disks could look similar, however, the way their data files are organized could differ drastically. Every operating system features its own method of sorting the physical space on mechanical hard drives. The only method to modify the system is through the drive formatting. This means that all the data will be erased on it.
Windows will work with drives nicely, which are formatted in NTFS, FAT 32, and FAT 16. This would not read hard drives formatted for Linux or Mac with no additional software. For reading Mac-formatted hard drives, users could employ HFSExplorer and for Linux-formatted disks, employ Linux Reader.
If the hard drive you are looking for copying from or to is FAT32, reformat the disk to zip the file or NTFS and employ the file splitting operation of the compression software. In modern systems, it is best to go with NTFS.
3. Bad Sectors
A bad sector refers to a part of a storage device that refuses to be read from or written to. Bad sectors are not physically defective, however, they become corrupt due to something like some bad software piece or a power outage that has written junk data to the drive’s part. These bad sectors are a typical reason for errors like ‘can’t read from source file or disk’. Therefore, it is best to keep a check on them.
Fortunately, Windows comes with an in-built utility called Check Disk. It scans files and tries repairing bad sectors, which even recovers the lost data in a few cases.
If some sectors are unrecoverable, it marks them as bad, and then, Windows refrains from writing data on those disks in the future. It is very easy to run Check Disk.
4. Click of Death
Mechanical hard drives feature moving parts and extremely precise tolerances, where some work far beyond their predictable lifespan and others end later or sooner. If your hard drive falls physically, you will receive errors like ‘can’t read from source file or disk.’ Technicians get an idea about busted hard disks that are responsible for these errors from the click of death.
On listening closely, users will hear the hard drive producing a rhythmic clicking sound. If your drive still reads files, it is advised to back up the files if possible. If that drive does not like to give back the files, take the help of data recovery specialists for the same. However, these services are expensive, and it is better to let go of them if the information is not valuable.
5. Optical Disc Damage and Dirty Lenses
Most users do not employ optical discs on their Windows systems these days. However, it is better to know the damage on your disk’s surface if you like to receive information from a BluRay disc, DVD, or CD. Sometimes, you wipe the disc with a cloth that you use for cleaning glasses or camera glasses clear away debris and fingerprints.
If the disk’s outer layer is scratched, use a disk repair fluid or buffer for attempting a fix. If the damage is deep enough, there’s no hope. Sometimes, the issue is not the disc, but your drive. One can use a driver lens cleaner to solve the problem.
6. Connection Conundrums
Disk drives of all types communicate with the system by some kind of connection. For an external drive, it is always USB. It means that USB ports or USB cable on the system might be damaged or faulty.
Thus, you need to try an alternative port or cable on the system for ruling out these problem sources. Also, try an external hard drive on another system, which is going to determine whether the system or drive is the problem. When it comes to internal devices, this same rule applies to them. Try using alternative SATA cables for SATA internal drives. Users would like to modify the specific drive or SATA port they are using for examining the problem.
7. Power Issues
Several external USB hard drives require more power as compared to a standard USB port could provide. These drives usually arrive with a cable having two USB-A connectors. Here, the one connector carries data and power, while the other one just carries power. If you use single-connector cables with standard USB ports, then the drive would not run reliably or boot up.
So, double-check the power requirements of the manufacturer and ensure that you are providing the external drive enough power to function properly.
8. Unsupported File Names
Names could cause a problem. Sometimes, Windows does not understand a file name that you use for a specific file. If the source disk features a file name format, which is against the file name rules of Windows, then try renaming that file.
9. File Ownership
Most users do not have to ever worry about file ownership. However, Windows does not support ownership of a specific file or a drive sometimes. Thus, it becomes impossible for users to work on these files or drives.
The best part is that users can examine manually and modify the file ownership on Windows 10. Also, it is very easy to do so. Check online guides for carrying out this function.
10. Reading is Essential
In some cases, you need to accept the fact that your data is lost and cannot ever come back. Thus, trying out these methods could not bring them back. That’s why it is best to adopt backup strategies for fixing the error ‘can’t read from source file or disk.’
Due to cheap storage technology, quick internet connections and cloud-backup options help you to prevent your files or information from losing forever. Make sure that you create regular backups of irreplaceable and unique files. One can spread copies over OnDrive or DropBox and even buy an external SSD over failure-prone external drives.
Part 2: How to fix ‘Can’t read from source file or disk’
Now, it is time for you to know about different solutions to resolve the ‘can’t read from source file or disk’ issue. There are various methods to do and here, we are listing some of the effective ones. So, let’s get started without further ado!
1. Fix your mismatched file systems
It is pretty easy to diagnose mismatched file systems. If you are employing Windows 10 or 8, your file systems are NTFS. On Windows 7, these systems could be NTFS or FAT32 and on Windows XP, these are FAT32.
NTFS is entirely different from FAT32. Plus, it can handle very large files quite easily. FAT32 cannot handle large files and is an old file system. If you transfer files from the FAT32 disk, then the maximum size of your file needs to be 4GB. Also, if the size of your file is close to this size, it could result in errors like ‘can’t read from source file or disk.’
Steps to fix the ‘can’t read from source file or disk’:
- Choose the drive from which you are copying
- Right-tap on it and choose ‘Properties‘
- Look for the file system
- Do the same for your destination disk
If both the systems are NTFS, then go after the next solution. If they are different, keep on reading. Usually, users cannot copy big files with FAT32. In some cases, users use a file splitter for breaking a large file into small pieces. Here, the file becomes corrupted and Windows shows the error ‘can’t read from source file or disk’ or reads a corrupt or large file.
On seeing this error, look for a program that can split a file into small pieces and repeat the process. There are various file splitters online, like HJSplit. This program comes with full, advanced features and free. Install this program and split your file and then, rebuilt the same.
2. Fix bad sectors
A Sector refers to a storage piece. While formatting hard drives, this process involves dividing up the drive into separate pieces. Therefore, you can use them collectively for storing large files or also independently for storing data.
Bad sectors are software errors that signify your system cannot read that data piece on a specific sector. It could even happen because of physical damage. For checking bad sectors, follow the instructions listed below.
Steps to fix ‘can’t read from source file or disk’:
- Choose the drive from which you are copying
- Right-tap on it and choose ‘Properties‘ under the tab ‘Tools‘
- Mark the check against ‘Error Checking‘
- Wait for this procedure to complete
- Repeat the same process for the other file system
This disk checking program is self-contained and looks for bad sectors. It is even capable of repairing these issues in most cases. However, it might damage the file you would like to move, so be careful while performing this fix.
Users can even run disk checks using the command prompt if they like to. To perform this action, follow the steps as:
- Open the CMB window and run it as administrator
- Type ‘chkdsk/f D:‘ or paste the same and then, press ‘Enter‘
- Next, modify ‘D:‘ to the hard drive letter, which is in question
- Wait for the process to complete
In case, there are bad sectors, this method will fix them. Thus, you would not face the ‘can’t read from source file or disk’ error and can move the file effortlessly.
3. Resolve file permissions
In some cases, file permissions could become confusing for Windows and thus, this posits trouble in front of Windows. This problem can occur if someone sends you a file, Windows can’t read from source file or disk because of the file ownership. Fix this issue in the following manner!
Steps to fix ‘can’t read from source file or disk’:
- Right-tap on the file that you like to copy
- Next, choose ‘Properties‘ and select the tab ‘Security‘
- From there, choose ‘Edit‘ and then, tap on the ‘Add‘ tab
- Enter the username of your computer at the bottom and choose ‘Check Names‘
- After this, press O.K. and you will return back to the previous screen
- Tap on your username and mark the checkbox beside ‘Full Control‘
- Lastly, tap on ‘Apply‘ and hit O.K.
So, use these effective methods for resolving the error ‘Windows can’t read from source file or disk‘. All of these methods will work for fixing this annoying error. Now, try them out and get rid of it in a very easy and effective manner.