I am having serious problem with media files (only video files). When I try to rename or delete files or folders containing media files, I get an error like this:

Access Denied .... Some other program might be using this file..... bla bla bla

Previously for this kind of problem I used a freeware application, Unlocker, which simply killed the process that was using the file. However in this case, the process identified as using the files is Explorer.exe - how can this be?

If I copy the original file, I can rename the copy, delete it, do anything - but I can't do anything to the original file.

Here's some other points:

  • I am using Windows XP SP2
  • I have DivX Player installed (latest)
  • The media files are from both my hard drive (created by many of my previous Windows installations) and newly downloaded files. Therefore file ownership or security is not an issue.
  • If I'm unable to rename or delete a file at a given moment, if I try again it is sometimes successful.

It's probably the thumbnail cache trying to update.

I had the same problem with XP - if I selected a file in Explorer and tried to immediately rename or delete I'd get access denied. If I selected a file, waited 5 to 10 seconds it would then rename or delete fine.

You can try clearing the cache or disabling it.

To Clear: Delete thumbs.db file (you must show hidden files first)

To Disable: Tools -> Folder Options... -> View -> Do not cache thumbnails

You may need to reboot after disabling.

  • how to disable it... – Junaid Saeed Jun 1 '10 at 15:37
  • @moon - I've updated my answer – Shevek Jun 1 '10 at 15:39
  • thanks.. shevek.. let me try it... for now i am accepting.. – Junaid Saeed Jun 1 '10 at 15:44

Is the issue still there after a reboot?

  • not an answer :) (ps: you'll get my vote!) – yhw42 Jan 21 '11 at 0:26
  • @ywh42 haha true! This must be one of my first posts! And thanks! – BloodPhilia Jan 21 '11 at 0:32

Try this:

  1. Open command prompt (Start -> Run -> "Cmd.exe")
  2. Open task manager and kill explorer.exe
  3. Delete the file using command prompt (while explorer is closed)
  4. Once done (if it lets you) relaunch explorer.exe from task manager.
  • that my friend is a way to do it.. not a solution – Junaid Saeed Jun 1 '10 at 15:45
  • Oh sorry, thought it was a particular file – Alex Jun 1 '10 at 16:07

Download and install Process Explorer. This is a much better tool than Task Manager and you can search for file handles.

Using the search feature of Process Explorer, search for the file name. You will then find the process that has a lock on the file. This might be something like Google Desktop that has the file locked for reading to index - just an example and not necessarily your case.

If you close or kill the program that has the handle on the file, you can then modify.

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