Wondershare Recoverit

Hard Drive Recovery

  • Recovers deleted or lost files from hard drive effectively, safely and completely.
  • Supports data recovery from 500+ data loss scenarios, including computer crash, partition loss, accidental human error, etc.
  • Supports 1000+ file formats recovery with a high success rate and without any quality loss.
Free Download Free Download Free Download Learn More >
hard drive recovery

Fixed Can’t Read from the Source File or Disk

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jan 27, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

I am trying to copy something FROM my 1TB internal hard drive TO my external hard drive, and when it gets to a certain point, it always says "Can't read from the source file or disk" and it'll name a certain file that can't be read. I have read that this may mean the drive may contain bad sectors and is bad, so my question is, is it my internal hard drive or my external hard drive that has bad sectors? Again I am trying to copy something already on my internal drive to my external drive.
The 1TB drive is new I just bought it from Newegg and the external drive I have had for a while and it already has a lot of files on there. I am thinking this may be the 1TB drive but I just want to make sure on here first before I RMA it or anything.
Thanks for any help.

As the error implies, can’t read from the source file or disk, it means you cannot access the source files or source disk. It can be due to several reasons. A bad connection, bad sectors on the drive, corrupted partitions, or on the whole damaged source disk. In all cases, you will get the error message on screen i.e. windows 10 can’t read from the source file or disk. This error can also lead to potential data loss. This article will help you to fix the error and to avoid data loss as a consequence.

Every error carries certain causes that are tracked to resolve it. So as the error i.e. windows 10 can’t read from the source file or disk. The issue aggravates when you try to copy, move, or delete the files from the source disk. Not just restricted to Windows 10, rather you can face can’t read from the source file or disk in windows 7 and 8 too. Apart from the technical issues, here are some of the important factors that may work in the background to highlight the issue.

  1. In case, if you are using an external drive (USB flash drive) as a source disk, then a bad connection of the drive with the device can result in an inaccessible disk which blocks the access to data saved on it.
  2. Can’t read from the source file or disk can also result when the files are too large to be copied. Corrupted files when tried to copy or delete will also show up this error message.
  3. All the file system errors can also cause the error.
  4. The shortage of space on the partition to save the data files being copied or moved will cause the error.

This article explains all the technical errors linked to driving along with some potential solutions to fix can’t read from the source file or disk. Here are the topics that would be discussed in detail.

Part 1: Reasons for the Error: Can’t read from the Source File or Disk

Before finding out the best fit solution to resolve can’t read from the source file or disk, let’s get familiar with the potential technical reason associated with the source disk acting as underlying causes to show up the error. Here are some of the reasons mentioned in detail.

  1. Bad sectors on the source disk. A bad sector will corrupt the disk and makes the data inaccessible. Hence, you would see an error message i.e. can’t read from the source file or disk. Any data saved on a drive with bad sectors would lead to consequences like data loss.
  2. Windows system error can lead to can’t read from the source file or disk. These system errors can be due to corrupted system files or corrupted partition carrying the files.
  3. The insufficient power supply is another reason. Any electrical surge in both ways i.e. increment or decrement in electrical supply can lead to the error. It can be probably the PCB of the drive causing the issue, as it is sensitive to electrical surges. Moreover, if you are using the external hard drive, it needs an appropriate power supply to conduct functions like copying, moving, or deleting the data. As the connected external hard drive is fetching the electric supply from your device.
  4. Loosened connection with the internal hard drive via SATA cable or external hard drive (USB) via loose connections can lead to error i.e. can’t read from the source file or disk. It will make the drive/disk inaccessible.
  5. File size limit is also related to the list of reasons causing error can’t read from the source file or disk. In case, if the file size is too large to be copied, you would get a pop error message. In some cases, the file format of FAT32 supports 4 GB of file size. So any data exceeding the file limit of 4 GB won’t be copied to this file format.
  6. Unsupported file name i.e. the file name not recognized by the drive would also result in an error can’t read from the source file or disk. While the file search hunt, if your device fails to identify the file name, you would probably end up getting the error message. It happens when the file name is not compatible with the operating system.
  7. Source file corruption is a viable reason that may result in an error. A corrupted source file would not be recognized or accessed by the device and file explorer utility. It would in turn cause the partition or whole drive to corrupt.

Part 2: How to Fix: Can’t Read from the Source File or Disk Error

If you have identified the particular reason causing the error i.e. can’t read from the source file or disk in your device, then in this section, you will get quick-fix solutions to resolve the error. Let’s get started.

Method 1. Use Chkdsk to fix error

When it is about file corruption or other errors associated with the files, running a CHKDSK tool is all that you need. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Press Windows key + R simultaneously to launch run dialogue box. Launch the command prompt and run it as an administrator. In the prompt, type chkdsk n: /r.

Step 2: If the drive is carrying the operating system, then in the next command window, you have to select the next boot time. Click yes to reboot.

Step 3: Restart your device and try to copy the files again to check if the error is resolved.

If still you are unable to access the disk or fails to copy the file, then proceed to the next solution.

Method 2. Use data recovery software to restore data

As you drive and data saved on it is inaccessible. This situation can lead to potential data loss. For this, you need third-party recovery software for recovering the data from the corrupted external hard drive. In this context, Recoverit data recovery is the best software to go for. The software helps to recover the data from the corrupted drive, partitions, bad sectors, damaged drives. You can also recover the deleted data. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Connect the damaged or corrupted external hard drive to the device.

Step 2: Download and install the software on your device. After the successful install, launch the software and in the main menu, select the location i.e. the targeted drive. Click start to continue.


Step 3: Run an all-around scan via software. All the deleted and lost files would be retrieved.


Step 4: preview the retrieved files one by one and select the files you want to recover. Click recovery to complete the action.


Save the recovered data to a new location, other than the one from where you lost the data at first.

Method 3. Make sure that the external hard drive is connected well

The connection between the drive and the device is essential. In case of any loose connection, your device won’t recognize the drive, making it inaccessible. In other cases, any issue with the SATA cable may also lead to faulty connections hence leading to errors like can’t read from the source file or disk, so make sure your device and drive are inappropriate connection.

Method 4. Try restarting the computer when an error occurs

It is a common practice that whenever you confront any error on the device, try to restart your device. In this process, the device will run a boot mechanism and in turn, the error goes away. Rebooting helps to resolve the error i.e. can’t read from the source file or disk.

Method 5. Make sure enough power

As the case under discussion is regarding the external hard drive i.e. USB flash drive. The drive connects with the device and depends on the electrical supply provided by the device. Commonly, the amount of electrical power USB needs is provided by the single USB port otherwise, the device comes with USB-A connectors to fulfill the power demand. As the power supply is faulty, the drive won’t work with the device hence you would see the error message saying can’t read from the source file or disk. So make sure your device is an inappropriate power connection.

Method 6. Try switching out the cable

Sometimes, the issue is related to the cables that connect the external hard drive with the device. Try to switch out the cable followed by plugging it in back. This would resolve the error.

Method 7. Convert FAT to NTFS

The error i.e. can’t read from the source file or disk is also related to limited file size. As mentioned above, the FAT32 file format can support 4 GB of file size to be copied. So anything above it won’t be supported. Hence, converting the file format from FAT32 to NTFS would work. NTFS supports more than 4GB.

Method 8. Try to rename the file

Unrecognizable file names or the ones that are not compatible with the operating system would end up showing error message i.e. can’t read from source file or disk. As your device fails to locate the particular file name via the file explorer, it would result in a pop error message. The easiest way to fix the error is by changing the name of the file. You can rename the file via DOS or by running the command prompt.

Hence, the error i.e. can’t read from the source file or disk or Windows 10 can’t read from the source file or disk is all about the drive getting inaccessible and making all the files and data unapproachable. This could lead to consequences like data loss. There is a certain reason including both the file issues and the hard drive problems that act as a potential culprit for causing the error. Corrupted or virus leached files or folders can cause the error. Similarly, corrupted or damaged drive, bad sectors, corrupted partitions, limited file size, issues with the power supply would result in the error. This article explains all the reasons in detail along with potential solutions for each consequence.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

Home > Resources > Answer Hard Drive Problems > Fixed Can’t Read from the Source File or Disk