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I need to modify a file that is locked by a process. How can I find the responsible process and release its lock? I'm running Windows 7.

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i suppose you mean it is locked, not UNlocked :) – Molly7244 Jan 9 '10 at 18:32
up vote 10 down vote accepted

LockHunter - It is a free tool to delete files blocked by something you do not know.

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LockHunter is freeware.

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You can use SysInternals (owned by Microsoft) free tool ProcessExplorer to unlock a file handle.

Just use the Find menu to search for the file that is locked. This will show which process has the lock on the file. If you can't get the process to release the lock by shutting it down safely, you can forcefully release the lock by double clicking the search result to show the file in the main Process Explorer window. Then right-click the file and select Close Handle

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I never noticed the "Find"menu, very helpful! – mike Sep 5 '15 at 21:50


The application removes file-access restrictions that prevent a user from moving, deleting, or renaming a file. The user right-clicks on a file and selects Unlocker, which displays information regarding the selected file, such as Path Locked, PID, Handle, and Process Path. This program also allows terminating a currently running process. In some cases, files cannot be accessed due to Windows file-access bugs, for which Windows informs the user the file is currently in use--even when it's not.

Unlocker can effectively bypass this bug's restrictions; it unlocks or disables whatever is preventing the user to access that file.

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