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How to fix ‘Error copying file or folder – The device is unreachable’ on Windows 10

Devices that allow you to access their internal storage connect seamlessly with a Windows 10 system in most cases. You may need to install a driver or an app but you will almost always be able to access files saved to the storage of a device from File Explorer. The only condition is that the device itself doesn’t restrict you from accessing its storage or the storage isn’t ‘protected’.

Fix ‘Error copying file or folder – The device is unreachable’

While it is easy to access files from the storage of an external device, you can run into occasional problems trying to copy and paste items to your Windows 10 system’s own storage. The ‘Error copying file or folder – The device is unreachable’ is one common error that you may encounter. This error generally appears when you’re trying to copy files from a device like a phone or a camera. The files may be accessible in File Explorer and you may be able to open them but when it comes to copying or moving them, the ‘Error copying file or folder – The device is unreachable’ message will appear.

1. Disconnect and reconnect device

This error is fairly benign and indicates a problem where the device became unreachable or unresponsive. The files you see are likely just a cache. A simple fix is to remove the device and connect it again.

  1. Disconnect the cable connecting the device to your system.
  2. Make sure the device disappears from the listed devices in File Explorer.
  3. Connect the device again. If it’s a phone, make sure you unlock it and respond to any prompts on the device.
  4. Open File Explorer.
  5. Go to This PC.
  6. Access the device’s storage.
  7. Copy/move the files.

2. Change device connection type

This fix applies to Android phones and cameras that are running some form of Android OS.

  1. Disconnect the phone from your Windows 10 system.
  2. Connect it again.
  3. Swipe down to open the Notifications panel.
  4. Tap ‘Android System – Charging this device via USB’.
  5. Tap it a second time to access additional options.
  6. Select File Transfer.
  7. On your Windows 10 system, open a new File Explorer window.
  8. Access the device’s storage and copy/move files.

3. Change data cable

The above two solutions are software-based but they won’t work if there’s a problem with the hardware. Check that the data cable you’re using to connect the device to your Windows 10 system isn’t damaged. Try using a different cable and make sure the cable you’re using is an original cable or that it’s been made by an authorized manufacturer. For good measure, restart the device once, and then connect it again using a new/different cable.


The ‘Error copying file or folder – The device is unreachable’ isn’t a complicated problem to solve. It may seem like there’s a problem with file or device permissions but in most cases, simply disconnecting and reconnecting the device will fix it.

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