Get an error message saying “Location is not available” while trying to access a file or folder on your Windows 11 PC?  This error means Windows cannot access a specific file, folder, or network location due to lack of permission or a system glitch. Other reasons may include, issues with the file path, corrupt registry, disconnected drives, disk errors, malware interference, or recent changes to the system. Restart the File Explorer Process help users to fix the location is not available error. Again you need to Check the Drive for Bad Sectors, Take Full Control of the Folder or repair corrupted system files to fix the error and and regain access to your data.

Why is a location not available in Windows 11?

There are several reasons why you may encounter a location is not available error in Windows 11. Damaged partition, Corrupt Registry or virus or malware infection are common.

Again If the file or folder (you are trying to access) is on an external drive, USB device, or network location, and the connection is lost or unstable, Windows 11 may report that the location is not available.

Glitches or unresponsiveness in the Windows Explorer process (explorer.exe) can lead to this error. Sometimes, disk errors or problems with the file system on the drive where the file or folder is located can result in accessibility issues.

Malicious software or interference from security software can cause disruptions in file access. Changes to the system, recent updates, or installations might have caused conflicts leading to the error.

Ensure the file or folder path is correct

A common cause for this location is not available error is an incorrectly specified file or folder path. If the provided path is inaccurate or contains errors, Windows 11 won’t be able to locate the intended location.

Double-check the path details, including the correct drive letter, folder names, and file name. If you were attempting to access a File or folder on an external hard drive check for loose connection. Reconnect the external hard drive to a different port.

Pro Tip: Ensure the latest Windows 11 updates are installed, as Microsoft releases regular security enhancements and bug fixes for such problems.

Download windows 11 update

Restart the File Explorer Process

The Windows Explorer process (explorer.exe) manages the graphical user interface, including file management. Sometimes, the File Explorer process may malfunction or freeze, causing the location is not available error.

Restarting File Explorer can address glitches that may be causing the error:

  • Open Task Manager using Ctrl + Shift + Esc
  • Locate “Windows Explorer” in the list of processes, right-click on it, and select “Restart.”
  • This action refreshes the Explorer process, potentially resolving any temporary issues affecting file access.

Restart Windows explorer

Take Full Control of the Folder

Another possible reason for the location is not available error is that you don’t have enough permissions to access the folder or file. To fix this, you need to take full control of the folder by changing its security settings.

  • Right-click on the folder with the error and select Properties from the context menu.
  • Under the Security tab, click the Edit button.
  • Select your user account from the Group or user names list and tick the Allow checkbox next to Full Control.
  • Click Apply and OK to save the changes

Take Full Control of the Folder

This will grant you full access to the folder and its contents.

Check the Drive for Bad Sectors

If you are getting the location is not available error on an external drive or a partition, it may be because of bad sectors on the drive. Bad sectors are damaged or corrupted areas on a disk that can cause data loss or errors. To fix this, you can use the built-in check disk utility (chkdsk) to scan and repair your drive for bad sectors.

  • Press the Windows + E keyboard shortcut to open File Explorer and navigate to This PC.
  • Right-click on the problematic drive and select Properties.
  • Under the Tools tab, click the Check button.
  • Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
  • Select Scan drive to begin the check disk operation.

Check disk for errors

The scan may take some time depending on the size of your drive. Once it is done, it will display a report of any errors found and fixed. Restart your PC after this and check if the error is resolved.

  • To perform advance repair Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  • Type command chkdsk c:/f/r (replace C: with the relevant drive letter) and press Enter.
  • If the drive is in use by another process, Press Y and enter to schedule the repair on the next start.

check disk errors

Allow CHKDSK to complete the scan and fix any identified errors. This process ensures the integrity of the file system and resolves potential disk-related problems.

Run System File Checker (SFC) and DISM Scans

It may be some corrupt or missing system files that are causing the location is not available error. Running System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Image Service and Management Tool (DISM) scans can be effective in fixing system file corruption issues on Windows.

  • Press Windows key + S type cmd and select run as administrator,
  • Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
  • First, run the System file checker command sfc /scannow 
  • The scan will begin, and the tool will attempt to repair corrupted system files.
  • Next, run the DISM command DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  • Wait for the scan to complete. It may take some time depending on your system.

SFC and DISM command

Restart your PC after this and check if you can access your files or folders without any errors.

Restore Your System to a Previous Point

If none of these methods work, you may have a more serious problem with your system that requires a more drastic solution. One option is to restore your system to a previous point when everything is working fine. This will undo any changes or updates that may have caused errors or conflicts with your system files or folders.

  • Search for “restore point” in Windows and click on the option that says: “create a restore point“.
  • On the system restore option locate the most recently created access point before the error appeared.
  • Click on this restore point, then next, and proceed to restore from this point.

Perform system restore

This will revert your system to a previous state and hopefully fix the location is not available error.

Reinstall Windows 11

If all else fails, you may have no choice but to reinstall Windows 11 on your PC. This will erase everything on your system drive and install a fresh copy of Windows 11. This may fix any errors or issues that are beyond repair. However, this should be your last resort as it will also delete all your personal files and settings. Make sure you back up your important data before you proceed.

Also read:

Steve Ballmer
With over 7 years of experience in the IT industry, I have experience in IT support, helpdesk, sysadmin, network admin, and cloud computing. Certified in Microsoft Technologies (MCTS and MCSA) and also Cisco Certified Professional in Routing and Switching.

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