In Windows 8 when I try to delete folder I get the message:

The action can't be completed because the folder or file in it is open in another program

I check and close all program, I don't see it in the task-manager (if I reset the computer, and try again it will delete it)

Another problem in Windows 8, when I copy, or delete folder - I can't see the action until I press F5 for refresh how I can fix those problems?

  • Did you try from an elevated command line (Run as administrator), del /f filename ? – Ofiris Jan 21 '13 at 7:38
  • Use Unlocker to check which process has the file opened. filehippo.com/download_unlocker – DragoonHP Jan 21 '13 at 8:51
  • You might also be sharing your folder, and it might be mapped as a network drive, in which case you'll not be able to even rename it. – Vaillancourt Sep 11 '14 at 19:17

You can use command line utility Handle by Microsoft Sysinternals. It can tell you which process holds file or directory open, like this:

handle c:\mydir

This will show which process holds directory open, if any.

You can also use Process Explorer, but you will have to search for your file/directory using Process Explorer UI.

While this works, I still find it too complicated, because I use Far Manager all the time, and FAR is helpful enough to show list and offer to kill processes that hold my files open if I am trying to delete them using Far Manager interface.

  • far manager looks way to overkill for such a simple problem, +1 for handle – JqueryToAddNumbers Jan 20 '15 at 1:10
  • @ExceptionSlayer: I always have FAR open when I use Windows, so it actually is not overkill at all. However, I use Windows rarely lately - mostly Linux or Mac, and removing open file is not a problem there. – mvp Jan 20 '15 at 1:14

This is often because Windows search index is being updated. Try the following:

In File Explorer, right-click on the offending folder. Choose 'Properties'.
Make sure you are viewing undr the 'General' tab, and click Advanced.
Untick box 'Allow files in this folder to have...' etc. (if it's not ticked when you open Advanced Attributes then this suggestion is the wrong one for you...) and click OK.

Try to delete the folder again. (if unsuccessful, then this suggestion is the wrong one...).

Click 'Advanced' again, and re-tick the 'Allow files in this folder...'etc. Click OK and close the Properties window.


Lockhunter is the program I use to handle this issue. Please note, I am on Windows 7, and it doesn't claim Windows 8 support, although it can't hurt to try it out. It will use a GUI interface to tell you which process is locking a file, and offer to kill it and delete the file.

Also, it adds a context menu option, which makes access to this functionality quite easy.


I too have had this issue and I've spent hours trying to solve it to no avail....until today. Opening the Folder Options box and unticking the boxes next to "Show preview handlers in preview pane" and " Launch folder windows in a separate process" DID NOT solve the issue for me. Here however, is what did solve the issue for me:

  1. In File Explorer click on the "View" tab and enable "Item Check Boxes", by placing a check mark in the item box next to it (yeah....uh, over there on the right side towards the top....you got it.). From now on, whenever you highlight a file, you will see an empty check box next to it.

  2. To delete the file (or folder) simply click on the file to be deleted and put a check mark in the empty box next to it.

  3. Now either select "Delete" from the right click menu (right mouse button) or from the "Home" tab in File Explorer.

Hope this helps.

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