If the computer isn’t able to read the file when the copy/cut function is called, it will display “can’t read from the source file or disk error” message. The obvious cause of the issue is a corrupted source file or disk.
But in rare cases, incorrect file names and a different file systems of source and destination drive can also cause this error. We’ll attempt to help you break through any such causes of the discussed error with this article.
How to Fix ‘can’t Read from the Source File or Disk’ Issue?
If this error is related to data transfer from an external drive, you should always be aware of the fact that detachable drives may get corrupted if they are improperly ejected from the system. Removing a drive in the middle of data transfer further increases the chances of data/drive corruption.
Source File Errors
As already mentioned, reading, copying and transferring data isn’t possible if the source file is corrupted. So, replacing the source files with a healthy set of files would be the only fix for this specific scenario.
If you are trying to transfer game files, some manufacturers provide their tools to repair and replace corrupt ones. But for other files, you will have to download/get the files from the original source.
In some cases of Microsoft SharePoint, copying and pasting files have worked better than the cut/paste method.
Resolve Logical Errors
The drive that you are trying to copy from may have corrupted data and bad sectors as well. You can run the chkdsk command on Windows, which will first scan for such logical errors and fix them automatically.
- Press Windows + R to open Run.
cmdand Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open Command Prompt with admin privileges.
- Hit the Yes button to confirm the prompt.
- Now, run the command:
chkdsk <drive letter>: /r
- Change the <drive letter> with the actual drive letter as assigned in Windows.
If your drive is suffering from errors caused due to malware,
chkdsk might not be able to fix it. Such errors are signs of physical failures of the attached disk as well.
Replace Faulty Cable or Ports
Likewise, faulty cables and ports that connect external drives can hinder the computer from correctly reading data.
Ports and cables comprise many minuscule pins connecting together to create a transmission channel. So, if some of the connecting cables and pins are broken, only partial data can be read and copied, displaying the error.
You can try using different cables and ports to ensure proper connection.
Normally, Windows doesn’t accept special characters for naming files and folders. So, if you are transferring files that have characters other than the accepted Unicode in their names, Windows might show the discussed error.
In order to fix the issue, try renaming the file name under Windows file name rules. For instance, you shouldn’t be using reserved characters like *, <, :, \, . etc. You can visit Microsoft’s page on naming a file for more information.
Change File System
File system (fs) refers to the way of storing and accessing data by an Operating System within a storage device. Windows majorly uses FAT32 and NTFS fs. And different volumes in Windows can be formatted to different file systems.
The discussed issue can arise if the source and destination volume of the file differ in file system. You can check if it’s the cause using the diskpart command line.
- Open Run, type Diskpart and hit Enter.
- Click on the Yes button to confirm the prompt.
- Check the desired volumes and their corresponding file systems in the Fs column.
If they differ, you will have to convert both volumes into the same fs in order to move files. Windows only provides the feature of converting FAT32 to an NTFS system without losing data on a volume. It can be done simply by running the convert command.
- Open Command Prompt with admin access.
- Run the command to convert the file system:
convert <drive letter>: /fs:ntfs
- For E drive, you would run:
convert E: /fs:ntfs
Moreover, other operating systems use very different file systems than Windows. Mac uses HFS/HFS+, and Linux uses ext3/ext4, etc. In order to use drives based on such a system need to be formatted before use on Windows, which implies data loss.
So, users prefer third-party software like Mac drive to access the Mac file system-based drives on Windows and similar for Linux fs. If the error occurred while using one of such software, you can try alternatives for the purpose.
HFSExplorer and Ext2Read are some open-source applications you can use to view Mac and Linux fs based drives simultaneously.