You would have had the annoying experience of not being able to delete a file or folder because another program is using that file. You get an error message saying something like:

“Cannot remove folder <folder-name>: It is being used by another person or program.
Close any programs that might be using the file and try again.”

Cannot delete file/folder problem in Windows

The reason for this error could be that the folder or the files within the folder are locked as they are being used by some Windows process. Try the following to get rid of the error message and delete the file/folder.

  1. If you know which program was using the file, close that program. If you don’t know which program was using that file then close all applications and try deleting the file/folder.
  2. If you have just closed an application that used the file or folder you are trying to delete then, wait for a minute and try again. Sometimes the program that was using the file may still be closing the file when you attempted to delete it.
  3. If you are not able to delete file after trying the above steps, try using unlocker, which is a free software that can release files if it is being accessed by any windows component.
  4. Reboot the computer and then try deleting the file, this way you get rid of any background processes the might be using the file.
  5. If you are still unable to delete the file then probably the file is being used by some process that starts with Windows. Boot the computer in Safe mode and then try deleting the file.

Related: LockHunter – A free tool to delete files blocked by any process.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I Know another easy way to solve this problem and all other related problems. Just go to Google and search for “Long Path Tool”. Download it and try it to fix the problem.

  2. Such a remark from Windows can happen due to two reasons:
    1. As mentioned if the file is open by a process. Unlocked kind of apps normally take care of these things.
    2. If not reason 1, your file system should be NTFS and this file was created by a user/system with ‘high’ privilege and only he can delete it. Only way to delete such files are by taking the ownership of these files -which basically involve changing the security settings of that file.

    Such files are made by Adobe also and you can’t delete them straight away. You have to remove the file security settings, take ownership and then you can delete them.

    Hope this helps!!

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