Problem: My operating system does not prevent the renaming of an open Windows Media file.

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium
File System: NTFS
File Locations: File Server, Client Machine
CPU: 1.60 gHz
File Extensions: .m4a, .wav, .wma, .wmv, .xesc

A.) I open an audio file in Windows Media Player
B.) I rename the audio file (as it plays) via the file system (Windows Explorer)
C.) Windows lets me
D.) Windows does not preserve the original file

For all other files that I've used, Windows either prevents renaming when it's in use by an application (ie, Word with *.docx files) or Windows preserves the original file (ie, Notepad with *.txt files). Does anybody know how I can get Windows to treat windows media files with the same safeguard?


  • 2
    FYI, I think you have it backwards. This topic refers to File Locking and Windows has this facility available for all software. I think the default is Locked, but an application can explicitly allow shared access. Word does not request unlocked file access, whereas Windows Media apparently does. I think your assertion about notepad preserving text files is incorrect: I believe notepad simply reads the whole file into memory, and remembers the name of the file as it was opened. When you rename the underlying file, it is not preserving the file in the sense that you mean it.
    – Yorik
    Commented Mar 10, 2017 at 18:25

1 Answer 1


It's up to the application whether it wants to hold a lock on the file or (instead) load in into a temp file, or memory, and then release the file.

If you don't like WMP's file locking techniques, try a different media player.

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