How to remove locked files/ folders on PC

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Managing Editor
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For a Windows user, it’s possible that at one time or the other, there might be a situation in which the computer’s disk space gets crowded.  There might be attempts by the user to get rid of unneeded files without success.

When trying to delete an unneeded file, an annoying dialog box pops up, indicating that the action is not permitted as a result of a locked file.

The inability to delete a file or folder may either be because it’s locked (encrypted with a security code or password) or because the file is open in a program.

Sometimes no file has been accessed in any particular application, it may be a background program that is preventing the file from being deleted.

To completely get rid of the files/folders, follow the procedures listed below.

How to remove locked files/ folders

Solution 1 — Delete the file from Command Prompt

A  locked file can be deleted from the Windows Command Prompt. All that is needed is to launch the Command Prompt by typing “cmd” into the Windows search bar from the start menu.

  1. Start the Command Prompt as an Administrator to activate user privileges.
  2. Type “CD” to open the root folder
  3. Type “DEL filename (with extension) /F /Q” where ‘filename’ represents the name of the locked file to be deleted.
  4. Press Enter, and the file will be gone.

Some locked files may not be this easy to remove. This might prompt going the extra mile by trying out the Windows Recovery method described below. Alternatively, you can download a software to fix this.

Solution 2 — Use Windows Recovery

Windows Recovery is another method by which locked files can easily be deleted.

  1. Switch the computer off and insert the windows re-installation disc into the disc drive
  2. Turn the PC on, and let it boot (not from the hard disk this time but from the disc.)
  3. Put the computer into the recovery console mode by pressing the key “R” on the keyboard: this mode is a troubleshooting option built into windows.
  4. In the recovery mode, go to the location of the locked file using the Command Prompt. For example, a command like “cd C: Documents and Settings My Documents filename” the pattern given in this example should be followed  using the directory of the locked file  to be deleted
  5. After locating the file, it can be removed by typing in “del”and to leave the recovery mode. Type the command “exit” and restart the computer.

Solution 3 — Use dedicated software uninstallers

There are a number of software that can be downloaded and used to delete locked files from the PC. Here are a few options.

Process Explorer

A renowned software called the Process Explorer comes in a similar format to the Windows task manager.

It’s easy to use and doesn’t require installation, all that is needed is to run it and allow administrator permission, then follow these steps.

  1. Go the File menu on the menu tab and choose show details for all processes.
  2.  Still on the menu tab, select the Find option and click on “Find Handle or DLL.”
  3. Enter the name of the locked folder in the search field of the process explorer task manager
  4. Choose the locked file and check out the handle in the details section below the window
  5. In the same manner that the process can be ended on the regular windows task manager: right click on the file handle and click on “close handle.”
  6. You would have effectively stopped it from running in the background and stop it from getting deleted. You can now go back to the file location and delete the file.

Read Also: Top 10 file recovery software for Windows users


This is a free software that perfectly helps to get rid of unwanted files and folders that are locked.

Apart from just removing the file, ThisIsMyFile also serves as a diagnostic tool which can help the user in figuring out exactly why the file or folder is not accessible.

Also, it doesn’t require any installation and quickly removes locked files without any hassles.

However, for difficult files, the PC  has to be rebooted after deleting the file.

You can download ThisIsMyFile for free from this link.

IOBit Unlocker

This is a handy software. Just drag and drop the locked file or folder into the software’s interface and choose the delete option.

It also provides details about the location of the file and directory alongside the details of the process.

IOBit Unlocker is available for free, and you can download it from this link.


This comes in as handy software. LockHunter also helps in identifying the particular program that is keeping the file locked.

Going forward, the processes can be stopped in an expedited manner before the file gets deleted.

Lockhunter doesn’t permanently remove the file. However, it sends the file to the recycle bin allowing the user the chance of restoring the file if need be.

You can download LockHunter for free from this link.

File Assassin

This is an easy to use software, and its line of action is similar to 10bitunlocker. It is useful in deleting locked files especially those that are inaccessible due to a virus or other malware.

  1. Download File Assassin and access it on the computer
  2. Drag the locked file or folder into the File Assassin text area
  3. Select how exactly how the file or folder should be deleted from the various menu options and click on ‘execute’ to get the file deleted
  4. Access to the files will be possible using the File Assassin thereafter.

You can download File Assasin for free from this link.


This software is easy to use, and it has a simple interface that requires a simple installation process. After installation, the file name has to typed in and deleted.

Depending on which of these options are a point of interest, resolving a locked file or window should not pose a problem to anyone who reads this tutorial.

TizerUnlocker is available for free, and you can download it from this link.

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