How to remove locked files in Windows

By: Matthew Adams
2 minute read

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Any files in use or open within another software package are automatically locked. Consequently, if you try to delete, or remove, a locked file a Folder in use window pops up stating the action can’t be completed because a file in it is open with a running program. An obvious way to erase locked files is to close the running software to unlock them. However, it might not always be entirely clear what’s locking the file. So this is how you can delete locked files in Windows if you need to.

lockhunter5

There are a few ways to remove locked files in Windows. You can try out software packages that enable you to delete locked files. One of those is LockHunter that you can add to most Windows platforms from Softpedia. The Command Prompt gives you another way to remove locked files, but this is how you can remove them with LockHunter.

  • Click Download on this page to save its installer with which you can add it to Windows. Then open the program’s window in the shot directly below.

lockhunter2

  • First, click on the … button and select Browse for a file.
  • Select a locked file you need to delete. Then LockHunter will show you the software or background processes that are locking the file as below.

lockhunter3

  • You can also right-click a file in Explorer and select What is locking this file? That will also open the LockHunter window with processes and software listed.
  • Now there are few things you can do with LockHunter’s options. To remove the locked file to Recycle Bin, click the Delete button and press Yes to confirm.

lockhunter

  • Alternatively, you could press the Unlock It button instead. That will effectively close the file in use so you can delete it within File Explorer.
  • Press the Other button for further options shown in the snapshot below.

lockhunter4

  • Note that you can also select a Terminate Locking Processes option if required. That will also unlock the file for deletion.
  • Or you could select the Delete At Next System Restart option to remove a locked file.

LockHunter is a great software package for deleting locked files as it highlights what’s locking them and includes a few options for removing them. So you can both unlock the files or delete them with the program. As such, this can be a handy tool for removing malware. Check out the LockHunter website for further software details.

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