Easily Solved: Can’t Read from the Source File or Disk

When you receive the error "can't read from the source file or disk", refer to this post to realize why it occurs and how to fix it.


By Bryce / Updated on May 12, 2023

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The error: Can’t read from the source file or disk in Windows 10

“I ran into 'can’t read from the source file or disk' error when copying files from my WD external hard disk to my PC with Windows 10 installed. I clicked 'Try Again' button but only got the same error message. What should I do to fix this error? Any advice would be appreciated!”

Why unable to read from the source file or disk?

Usually, can’t read from the source file or disk error occurs during you copy, move or delete files. It can also occur in Windows 7 or Windows 8. This error can be related can be related with connection problem, the file itself, source external hard drive issues or target partition space. Some main causes are listed as follows:

  • There is something wrong with the USB port or connection cable.

  • The file that you want to copy is too large.

  • The file that going to be copy, delete or move is corrupted.

  • There are file system errors on the source disk.

  • There are bad sectors on the source external hard disk.

  • The local partition doesn’t have enough space.

How to fix “can’t read from the source file or disk” in Windows 10/8/7?

Here 4 solutions are listed and you can choose one or more to fix can’t read from the source file or disk accordingly and effectively.

Solution 1. Make sure that external hard drive is connected well

Firstly, you should make sure that the external hard drive is connected with your machine well. Poor connection can make the error happen. You can remove external hard drive from the PC and reconnect it to see if you can copy, delete or remove file in a success.

Solution 2. Convert the file system of destination partition into NTFS

When the file that will be copied is too large and the target partition is formatted with FAT32 or FAT16 file system, supporting file size up to 4GB or 2GB, the error may happen. If you are in such a condition, you can convert the destination partition from FAT16/FAT32 to NTFS without data loss via a free yet useful conversion tool – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.

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Step 1. Run and fire up the tool. In the main interface, go to Convert > Convert to NTFS/FAT32.

Convert Usb From Fat32 To Ntfs

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose FAT32 to NTFS and click Next.

Fat32 To Ntfs

Step 3. Choose the FAT32 that you need to convert to NTFS and click Next button.

Choose Fat32 Partition

Step 4. Click Proceed and Yes to confirm this operation.

Yes To Ntfs

Step 5. When the conversion has been complete, you can click Finish.

Finish To Ntfs

Tip: If you want to get more advanced features, such as partition recovery, MBR to GPT conversion for system disk and etc, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Solution 3. Run Check Disk tool to fix errors on source disk

If connection is OK and the file is not big, you may consider whether the error is the result of file system error or bad sectors of the source hard drive. At this point, you can run Check Disk tool to solve the problem. Check out the following steps.

Step 1. Double click This PC in Windows 10 to open File Explorer.

Step 2. Find out the source drive, right-click it and choose Properties.

Step 3. Go to Tools and click Check.


Step 4. Do as the prompts and wait for the process to finish.

Solution 4. Fix the external hard drive via formatting

When you have tried the solutions above but nothing changed, it is time to format the external hard drive. However, I have to prompt you that this operation will erase all data on it. Thus, you’d better make a backup before formatting. Then, have a look at how to format. 

Step 1. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Right-click the partition on the external hard drive and choose Format Partition.

Step 2. It offers various file systems including NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4 and you can choose one based on specific demand. Eg. To  format external hard drive with compatible file system for Mac and Windows, you can choose exFAT.

Select Exfat File System 30gb

Step 3. Here you can preview the result of this operation. Click Apply and Proceed to commit it.

Final words

If you encounter can’t read from the source file or disk problem, you can speculate what is the most possible cause of it and take measures responsibly. If you can’t get a clue about the sources of this error, you may need to try all the aforementioned solutions.

Bryce · Staff Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.