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I'm trying to remove an unnecessary file that was the product of some LaTeX typesetting. However, when I try to do anything to the file, Windows tells me that the file can't be moved since "it is open in pdflatex". To my knowledge, this isn't the case, so what could be causing the problem here?

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try rebooting and then immediately delete the file after login. otherwise look for any pdflatex processes running and kill them. if that doesn't work, close the handles to the file with procexp, or failing that, unlocker.… – Frank Thomas Apr 10 '14 at 21:54
yeah that did the trick for me. I'm slightly bothered by the fact that I have absolutely no idea what the actual problem was though... – user298510 Apr 11 '14 at 2:07

Install the tool Unlocker. It will install as a shell extension (appears in the context menu on the right click) and will:

  1. Tell you what program is blocking your file (if any such exists)

  2. Allow you to do various actions (such as delete) on your file "by force". Mostly immediately, and if not possible, after the next restart.

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