One of the more frustrating experiences when using a computer is when you want to delete or rename a file or folder in Windows, but an error occurs indicating that the file is in use, open, shared, or locked by a program that is currently being used.

Error while deleting file or folder

In the hope that you are lucky that it is solved when you close all programs you still get the message that the file is in use.
This manual will show you how to solve this!
4 steps to work with files that are in use

If you want to delete or rename a file or folder, you need to follow the next steps.

  • The first and easiest method is to close programs that can currently use that file. When a program uses a file, a so-called lock is generated here. Close programs so that opened files are closed. Usually, the problem is solved.
  • Restart the computer. When you restart your computer, the open programs are closed and you can probably continue with the file.
  • Restart in safe mode and try to change or delete the folder again. When you start the computer in safe mode, a limited number of programs starts automatically. This makes it very unlikely that a program or service will lock the file.
  • Last but not least, download a tool for opening files. If nothing helps, you can always use a tool, such as IObit Unlocker.
    This can very probably solve the persistent problem because these types of programs can dig deeper into the file system and apply all advanced Windows tricks.

Use IObit Unlocker to edit locked files

If the above first 3 steps are not successful, you have arrived at this point. We are going to use IObit Unlocker to unlock a file!

The first step is to download the Unlocker program. This program can be downloaded from the following link:

IObit Unlocker Download Link

Once the program has been downloaded, save it to the desktop and double-click the file called unlocker-setup.exe to start the installer. When the installation program starts, press the Next button until you reach the Finish button.

Now that the program has been installed, IObit Unlocker has added an autorun statement to the registry to start the Unlocker Assistant when Windows starts. This background program remains active and detects when you want to delete, copy, rename, or move a file that is in use. When one of these operations is detected, a window will automatically open to help you with the file.

To open the file, open the folder, where the file you wish to delete is located. Once you are in that folder, right click on it and select the IObit Unlocker option.

When you click the IObit Unlocker option, the program starts and displays the selected locked file. When it is opened, if you get a message asking if you want the program to run, you can allow it.

To unlock the file, simply click the Unlock button. If that does not work, try these steps again, but this time you select the Force button before clicking the Unlock button. When you select the Force option, the IObit Unlocker will end the process using the file to unlock it. Of course, you have to make sure that you save documents that this program currently uses before using this function.

If IObit Unlocker can unlock the file, it will change the status of the unlock.

You can also use IObit Unlocker to perform and unlock actions and immediately remove, rename, copy or move actions. To do this, click on the small arrow next to the Unlock button.

Depending on the option you choose, Unlocker is asked where you want to copy or move the file or in which file name you want to change.