How to fix "File Is Open in Another Program" error in Windows 10

How to fix "File Is Open in Another Program" error in Windows 10

When using Windows 10, you may have tried to delete a file or move it to another location and got an error that says “Action Cannot Be Completed Because The File is Open in Another Program” ( action cannot be undone because the file is open in another program ), although you have not opened the file in any program. There are a number of reasons that could have caused this error to arise. Here’s how to fix the error based on the cause.

Causes and how to fix the error “File Is Open in Another Program”

  • Restart the computer
  • Locate the file in Task Manager
  • Restart File Explorer through Task Manager
  • Use the option “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”
  • Delete temporary files
  • Delete the Recycle bin
  • Change File Explorer Options
  • Delete files with Command Prompt
  • Turn off the Preview pane
  • Use Resource Monitor
  • Use Disk Cleanup and repair the HDD
  • Install Ashampoo WinOptimizer
  • Disable thumbnails
  • Modify the Registry
  • Disable Homegroup
  • Use Unlocker
  • Change folder view
  • Disable Windows Search
  • Check the directory for viruses

Restart the computer

Turn off the computer and then reboot. This method will terminate all pending tasks that may cause errors and allow File Explorer to restart internal processes from scratch. This can help solve the problem you are having. If not, go to the next step.

Locate the file in Task Manager

Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.

Find the file in the Processes tab, which shows you all the currently used apps, whether you know it or not.

Select the file and click the “End Task” option near the bottom of the Manager window to prevent the file from being used by a program.

Go back to the file and try to delete it again. If it still doesn’t work then move on to the next step.

Restart File Explorer through Task Manager

Again, open Task Manager and go to the Processes tab.

Here you will find the Windows Explorer program currently in use. Select the process and click on the option “End Task”.

Go to File at the top of the Manager window and select “Run New Task” .

In the new window that opens, type explorer.exe and press Enter .

This process will restart Windows Explorer to get rid of any problems with memory or cached files that might be causing the problem.

Again go to the file location and try to delete it. If it still doesn’t work then move on to the next step.

Use the option “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”

Previously, Microsoft has acknowledged that the thumbnails cache related to files and folders could cause the “File is Open In Another Program” error, so processing the thumbnails cache can help fix the error.

1. Press Win + R

2. Type gpedit.msc and then press Enter .

3. In the new window that appears, go to User Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> File Explorer .

4. Go to the right pane and double-click “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files” .

5. Select the button next to Enabled and then click Apply > OK .

All thumbnails in File Explorer will be disabled, allowing you to perform the desired action on the file. Then you can re-enable the thumbnail by following the steps above and change it back to Not Configured .

Delete temporary files

Temporary files are stored on your computer every time you modify a file in any way. These temporary files may prevent you from moving or deleting related files. Here’s how you can get rid of temporary files on your computer’s memory.

1. Press Win + R

2. Type % temp% in the input bar and press Enter .

3. In the newly opened folder containing all the temporary files saved in File Explorer, press Ctrl + A to select all files and delete them together.

4. There may still be temporary files stored in another location. Again, press Win + R , type temp and press Enter .

5. Again, select all the temporary files in the folder and delete all of them.

Delete the Recycle bin

Sometimes sending files to the Recycle bin can be viewed as a computer action, resulting in the error we are trying to resolve. Another way to get around the problem is to go to the Recycle bin and empty the entire directory by selecting the files and deleting them. Be warned that this will permanently delete all files in the recycle bin, so be sure to select only those you are sure you will no longer need.

Change File Explorer Options

Another solution to solve this problem is to disable “ Launch folders windows in a separate process ”. This will ensure that the windows are launched correctly and that there are no conflicts between different processes. You can always revert changes if this solution fails in your case.

1. Press Windows + E to launch File Explorer. Select the View tab, press Options and select Change folder and search options .

2. When Folder Options is opened, click the View tab . Scroll down the list of options until you find ” Launch folder windows in a separate process “. Uncheck the options.

Uncheck Launch folder windows in a separate process

3. Click Apply to save the changes and check if the current problem has been solved.

Note : If the problem doesn’t go away after disabling the option, you can also try enabling this option and check if the current issue is resolved.

Delete files with Command Prompt

Another simple solution is to delete the files you need using Command Prompt. You will have to navigate to the folder containing the file. After you’ve located the file, close File Explorer, delete the file, and start File Explorer again. Note that you can request admin permissions to perform this operation.

1. Press Windows + E to launch File Explorer. Locate the path of the directory containing the file. Copy files using the address bar at the top of the screen.

Locate the path of the directory containing the file

2. Once you have located the file, press Windows + S , enter “command prompt” in the dialog box, right-click on the application and select “Run as administrator” .

3. Once in the Command Prompt as administrator, enter “cd” followed by a space and the path of the directory where the file is located. It should look like this:

cd C:UsersStrixDesktop

4. Press Windows + R , type “taskmgr” in the dialogue box and press Enter. Locate Windows Explorer from the process. Right click on it and select End task.

5. Explorer will disappear from the desktop leaving the applications still running. Don’t worry, I want this to happen.

Open Command Prompt (if it runs in the background, use Alt + Tab to navigate through apps). Once in Command Prompt, execute the following command.

del Appuals.txt

Here, the actual file name will be mentioned with the extension. Please note if the file has a space in between, this command will not work (eg ‘my memo.txt’ will not work). You will have to rename the file before you can perform any operations on it in the Command Prompt.

6. The file is currently deleted. Return the Task Manager to the foreground, select File and click Run new task .

7. Type “explorer” in the dialogue box and click OK. Windows Explorer will start automatically. Check to see if the requested operation is complete. You can also use “explorer.exe” if the above doesn’t work.

Turn off the Preview pane

The Preview pane is an option available in Windows Explorer that allows applications to be previewed separately on the side. It provides a brief view of the files contained in them. This can be useful for many users in some cases, however, it has been proven to be one of the causes of the error message being discussed. Follow the steps below to turn off the Preview pane.

1. Press Windows + E , click the View tab from the top of the screen, and uncheck the Preview pane option. It’s on the ribbon near the left.

Turn off the Preview pane

2. Close Windows and re-launch it. Now check to see if you can successfully perform the operation.

Use Resource Monitor

If all of the above methods don’t work, chances are the file you’re trying to do the above is already open or accessed by another application. You can try launching Resource Monitor, locate the file access process, terminate, and try the operation again. Please note that you may need admin privileges to perform this action.

1. Open Resource Monitor.

2. Once in Resource Monitor , click CPU. Now, choose Associated handles. Enter the name of the file in the dialog box and press Enter. From the results, right-click on each process and select End Task.

Right click on each process and select End Task

3. Now check to see if the issue has been resolved.

Use Disk Cleanup and repair the HDD

In some cases, this problem can be caused by the thumbnails, but you can fix it by deleting them. The easiest way to do that is to delete them with Disk Cleanup. To delete the thumbnail, do the following:

1. Press Win + S , enter disk cleanup and select Disk Cleanup from the menu.

2. Select the system drive, by default C: and click OK.

Select the system drive

3. The PC will now scan the drive. This process may take a while depending on the partition size, so be patient.

4. When the scan is complete, you will see a list of options. Select Thumbnails and click OK.

Select Thumbnails

5. Wait while Disk Cleanup deletes the selected files.

After deleting the thumbnails with Disk Cleanup, the problem will be fixed. If the problem reappears, you may need to repeat this process.

Some users also reported similar problems when trying to delete the Windows.old folder. The Windows.old folder will be created after you install a new version of Windows.

However, it looks like you can’t delete it manually due to this error. To fix the problem, you must start Disk Cleanup and choose Previous Windows Installation (s) from the menu.

After doing that, you should be able to delete the Windows.old folder using Disk Cleanup easily.

Install Ashampoo WinOptimizer

  • Download Ashampoo WinOptimizer
Install Ashampoo WinOptimizer

When it comes to PC optimization and hard drive repair, Ashampoo is unrivaled.

This is a complete set of tuning and cleaning tools that comes with 37 modules, covering everything you need to keep your PC in “like new” condition, from security, maintenance, permissions privacy, deep scan to repair tools.

With a single program, you’ll be able to optimize your system, do in-depth cleaning and diagnostics to do pretty much everything from removing junk data and corrupted shortcuts, fixing Registry entries to shutting down. unnecessary services.

Disable thumbnails

Another way to get around this problem is to disable thumbnails entirely. This may not be the best solution, especially if you prefer to use thumbnails, but it can be a stable solution until you find a permanent solution.

To disable thumbnails, do the following:

1. Press Win + S and enter file options. Select File Explorer Options from the menu.

2. Go to the View tab and select the option of Always show icons, never thumbnails . Now, click Apply> OK to save changes.

Select the option of Always show icons, never thumbnails

You can also disable thumbnails by changing performance options. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Press Win + S and enter advanced system settings . Select View advanced system settings from the list.

2. In the Performance section, click the Settings button .

Click the Settings button

3. The Performance Options window will appear. Locate the Show thumbnails option instead of icons , deselect it and click Apply> OK to save the changes.

Deselect Show thumbnails instead of icons

After disabling the thumbnails completely, check to see if the error message still appears.

Modify the Registry

If you receive this error message frequently, you can fix it by making some changes to the Registry.

Remember that modifying the Registry can be potentially dangerous, so be extremely cautious. To fix this problem, you need to do the following:

1. Press Win + R and enter regedit. Press E n ter or click OK.

2. When Registry Editor opens, navigate to the following key on the left:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced

3. In the right pane, find DWORD IconsOnly and double-click it.

Find DWORD IconsOnly

4. When the properties window opens, in the Value data field, enter 1 to display the icon or 0 to display the thumbnail. Once you’re done, click OK to save the changes.

You can also turn off thumbnails by changing other Registry values. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Open Registry Editor and navigate in the left pane to the key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer

2. Find DWORD DisableThumbnails in the right pane. If you don’t have a DWORD, you’ll need to create it by right-clicking on an empty space in the right pane and choosing New> DWORD (32-bit) Value from the menu. Now enter DisableThumbnails as the name of the new DWORD.

Navigate to Explorer

3. Double-click on DWORD DisableThumbnails to open its properties. Set Value data to 0 and then click OK to save changes.

4. Now, navigate to the following key on the left side:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer

Find DWORD DisableThumbnails and set its Value data to 0 . If the DWORD is not available, you need to first create and then change its value data.

There is also another way to fix this problem by using Registry Editor. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Open Registry Editor and in the left pane navigate to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindows

2. Right-click the Windows key and select New> Key . Enter Explorer as the name of the new key.

3. Go to the newly created Explorer key and right-click on an empty space in the right pane, then select New> DWORD (32-bit) Value . Enter DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders as the name of the new DWORD.

4. Double-click the DWORD DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders to open its properties.

Double-click on DWORD DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders

5. Set Value data to 1 and click OK to save changes.

After making changes, restart your PC and check to see if the problem appears again. Keep in mind that this solution will disable the thumbnail for the currently active user account, so if you need to use the thumbnail, you may want to try a different solution.

Disable Homegroup

Few users reported that they fixed this issue by completely disabling Homegroup on PC. Homegroup is useful for sharing files between computers on the network, but if you want to fix the problem, you can try disabling the Homegroup feature. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Press Win + S key and enter homegroup. Select Homegroup Listener from the menu.

Select Homegroup Listener from the menu

2. Select Leave the homegroup from the menu.

3. A list of options will appear. Select Leave the homegroup from the menu.

Select Leave the homegroup from the menu

4. In correct order, you will see a confirmation message. Click the Finish button .

After leaving the Homegroup, you must disable its services. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Press Win + R key and enter services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.

2. The Services window will now open. Find HomeGroup Provider and double click on it.

3. When the Properties window opens, find the Startup type field and set it to Disabled. Now, click Apply> OK to save changes.

Set the Startup type to Disabled

4. Locate the HomeGroup Listener service, double-click it, and set the Startup type to Disabled.

Finally, you just need to make a few changes to the Registry. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Open Registry Editor.

2. In the left panel, navigate to:

Computer/HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/Classes/CLSID{B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93}

3. Create a new DWORD in the right panel and enter System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree as the name. Now, open the newly created DWORD and set its Value data to 0 . After saving your changes, close Registry Editor.

Use Unlocker

If you cannot access or delete certain files due to the error “The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program error” , you can fix that problem by using Unlocker.

This is a simple tool that allows you to unlock any files locked by the system and allows you to delete them. The tool is easy to use and completely free, so if you run into any problems with this error remember to give Unlocker a try .

Another third-party solution that can help you fix this problem is LockHunter. Some users said they solved the issue using this tool, so be sure to try it out if you’re having problems.

Change folder view

Another useful solution that can help you to solve this problem is to change the folder view. This is quite simple and you can do it by following these steps:

1. Open File Explorer .

2. Go to the View tab and choose Small icons, List or Details from the menu.

Select Small icons, List or Details from the menu

After doing that, you should be able to modify files from this folder without any problems. Since this is just a workaround, you will have to repeat these steps for every directory that caused the error.

Disable Windows Search

According to some users, this problem can also be caused by Windows Search, and to fix it, you need to disable the feature completely.

Windows Search is a core component of Windows and if you use it regularly, you can skip this solution and try another one.

To disable Windows Search, do the following:

1. Press Win + S and enter indexing options . Select Indexing Options from the menu.

Select Indexing Options from the menu

2. The Indexing Options window will now appear. Click the Modify button .

Click the Modify button

3. You can now disable the indexing of sites just by deselecting them. After you’re done, click OK to save the changes.

Disable indexing of locations

Now, you just need to disable the Windows Search service. To do that, follow these steps:

1. Open the Services window . You can do that by pressing Win + R keys and typing services.msc.

2. When the Services window opens, find Windows Search on the list and double-click it.

Find Windows Search

3. Set the Startup type to Disabled , and then click the Stop button to stop the service. Now, click Apply> OK to save changes.

Set the Startup type to Disabled

If you are using Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, please refer to instructions: How to disable Windows Search on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 for more details.

After disabling Windows Search, the issue should be fixed. Remember that by changing the Indexing Options or disabling the Windows Search service, you might be causing problems with certain features.

If any problems occur make sure to restore everything to the previous state.

Check the directory for viruses

Ultimately, if none of the above methods worked, the problem could be more serious. There might be a file-related virus that prevents you from making changes. Run the file through anti-virus software to look for any viruses or malware that might appear.

If this is the case, quarantine the file with your anti-virus software and delete it before it infects other files.

The “File Is Open in Another Program” error can be a frustrating problem. Fortunately, there are several ways to solve the problem as mentioned in the previous sections. If the cause of the problem is a virus, it is better to be well aware of the fact that there is a virus in your computer to take the steps to remove the malware from the device in time.

Hope you are succesful.

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