[How to] Unlock a File without Killing the Process in Windows

by: - Last updated on: June 6th, 2013

Note: This is a pretty old trick. So many of you might be knowing this already. But some are still unaware of this, hence I thought of letting them know.

I am very sure that many a times when you try to open, delete or move a file or a folder, you get an error message saying it is already in use. Even after trying to close all the programs which you think might be using the file, it still throws up an error saying –
Cannot delete file: It is being used by another person or program. Close any programs that might be using the file and try again.

cannot delete

Here is where UNLOCKER comes to the rescue. Unlocker is a freeware application using which you can unlock any file or folder.

unlocker logo

Just right click on the file which is causing the problem and click on Unlocker in the context menu. If the file is actually locked, you will get a dialog box like this


Using Unlocker you would not need to kill any process, but just unlock it from the handle controlling it at the backend. If you are still having problems interacting with the file (renaming, moving, or deleting it) select what you want to do from the drop-down on that same screen as above. That will prompt you for more info if needed (where you want it moved or what you want it renamed to). If Unlocker can’t do it now, it will take care of it after the next reboot when the file should be free.

Download Unlocker

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  1. Nice share. Try and download ” Long Path Tool ” is also useful in situations where you see these error messages: Cannot read from source file or disk, there has been a sharing violation, cannot delete file or folder, the file name you specified is not valid or too long, the source or destination file may be in use and many other file managing errors .