How to forcefully rename/delete a file that are in used (Windows)?


Tried to delete/rename the file but Windows said it is being used by application or access denied? Found a virus file but it doesn’t allowed to get deleted because it is running? Natively Windows does have the task manager to kill applications that is running, however, if the file is in used, there is almost no way for you to find out which application is using it, at least, no easy way. Below is one of the example that popped-up when you try to delete a folder:

As well as other variants such as:

Cannot delete file: Access is denied
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.
The file is in use by another program or user.
Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

How to solve it?

First of all, you must ensure that the file/folder you deleting/renaming is really necessary as there is no turning back for the removal/rename of the file/folder. If you are pretty sure you need it, here you goes, unlocker. Unlocker is a free software that able to identify the applications that is using the file you wished to delete/rename but not able to. After you have it installed, all you need to do it just right click on the file/folder, click unlocker, and it will pop-up a window to let you know what application is currently occupying the file/folder. If you wish to delete/rename it, simply click Unlock All and all applications will be killed. You will be able to delete/rename the file afterwards. (Note: This doesn’t include the error pop-up that looking for administrator permission to edit the file/folder)

Below is the tutorial from Unlocker official site:

    1. Simply right click the folder or file and select Unlocker


    2. If the folder or file is locked, a window listing of lockers will appeartutorial2
    3. Simply click Unlock All and you are done!


    Editor’s Note

Unlocker has been very helpful for me since Windows XP. Although with their powerful features, but it is still free of charge, which is very good for us computer user. However, if you really appreciate their works and affordable, you are always welcomed to donate any amount of money to show your support, and of course, encourage them to develop more quality software. Hopefully this will help you when you met such problem.

P/S: Currently the software only works on 32-bit Windows. The author is currently working on a version that is workable in 64-bit environment.

Download Unlocker

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One thought on “How to forcefully rename/delete a file that are in used (Windows)?”

  1. Thanks for sharing. I love this tool, and I have used it. I have used “Long Path Tool” also in this situation and it also helped me easily and quickly.

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