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How do I delete a 'locked' file?

Trying to delete a file, and I get an error saying that the file is in use. I've tried to look for it in the Resource Monitor (Disk), but cannot find it there.

Is there a way I can see what is holding on to a certain file (or folder) in Windows 7? Like, is there a built-in tool somewhere? I know in linux there is a command called lsof. Anything similar in Windows 7?

If not anything built-in, is there a anything I can use?

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marked as duplicate by Bob, Ivo Flipse Jun 11 '12 at 11:43

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 5 down vote accepted

LockHunter can be a solution, it's freeware and works like Unlocker, which is another nice tool.

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Seems to be working. Have been using Unlocker before. – Svish Feb 27 '10 at 11:30

I use the 'Find Handle or dll' option in Process Explorer

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Press Ctrl+F and type part of the name – AaronLS Jul 2 '14 at 2:12

Open an administrator command prompt by typing cmd into the start menu search box, and hit the Ctrl+Shift+Enter key combination.

alt text

To take ownership of the file, you’ll need to use the takeown command. Here’s an example:

takeown /f C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui

That will give you ownership of the file, but you still have no rights to delete it. Now you can run the cacls command to give yourself full control rights to the file:

cacls C:\Windows\System32\en-US\winload.exe.mui /G geek:F

(e.g) Note that my username is geek, so you will substitute your username there.

At this point, you should be able to delete the file. If you still can’t do so, you may need to reboot into Safe Mode and try it again. For the filename in the example, I was able to overwrite it without safe mode, but your mileage may vary.


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Good stuff, but that won't really help when the file is in use though, will it? – Svish Nov 21 '09 at 17:36
find the file in safemode and delete it. (in safe mode nothing in startup is ran so you can find the file and delete it.) – mike Nov 24 '09 at 6:59
  1. Goto Start;
  2. Click 'Run';
  3. Type 'CMD (Windows XP), COMMAND (Other Window OS).;
  4. Hit 'Ok'
  5. At this point you should see something like: C:> on the left hand of the window.
  6. Type 'Del see below;
  7. Hit 'Enter';
  8. Type 'exit'

is the .exe's name, now if its saying in use, im not sure what you can do in that sitiution, i believe yo

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This is not a solution, and likely going to give same result as feedback via GUI on not being able to delete the file. – user66001 Feb 15 '13 at 20:50

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