Greg Tyler

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Node.js ENOENT error explanations

Recently when using the saveScreenshot function of WebdriverIO, I came across the following Node error:

ENOENT: no such file or directory, open '{filepath}'

There are a lot of reasons this error could occur, all of which I looked at when trying to solve the problem. Because they are widely spread across the internet, and I couldn't find anyone addressing the problem I actually had, I thought I would enumerate them here.

I've also given some example code for you to look at and play with. Reproducing the errors may help you figure out what causes them.

1. You're trying to read a file that doesn't exist

As the error message suggests, the file you're trying to read isn't there.

To fix: Use the first parameter of the (e.g. readFile) function to catch the error. Perhaps use fs.stat or fs.access to check for access first.

2. You're trying to create a file in a directory that doesn't exist

Node won't create your intermediary directories. So if you try to create a file logs/pushout.log and logs directory doesn't exist, you'll see this error.

To fix: Create the logs directory first with fs.mkdir.

3. You're using a relative path incorrectly

This often is related to Issue 2, but without the developer's knowledge. Paths specified in fs functions are relative to the currently executing script location, not the file where the code is called from. So if index.js calls processes/makeLogFile.js, then the path used is relative to index.js.

To fix: Either use __dirname to get the path that the code is being written in, and add to that, or add subdirectories as necessary.

4. You're trying to create a file that can't exist

This was my problem. I had the following, fairly self-explanatory code:

driver.saveScreenshot('./screens/error-'   (new Date()).toISOString()   '.png');

This was supposed to create a unique screenshot in the screens directory but I got the ENOENT error instead.

What I didn't account for is that toISOString() creates a time format with colons in it, and Windows will not allow colons in file names. So the error wasn't really saying that the file doesn't exist, but that it simply couldn't.

To fix: My fix was just using replace(/:/g, '-') to turn all the colons into hyphens. But, generally, fix this by making sure there are no disallowed characters in the file name.


I hope these explanations help you. If you've got any questions, corrections or additions, please open an issue on the GitHub repository containing the example code.

Any questions? Comments? Other feedback? Contact me on Twitter.