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How To Fix ‘Cannot Delete Folder/File’, ‘Access Is Denied’ or ‘File In Use’ errors in Windows Using Unlocker

Have you ever tried to delete a file or a folder and gotten ‘Access Is Denied’ error? Or while copying a file it seen ‘The Source File May Be In Use’ error. These types of errors can occur due to many different reasons,  maybe the file is being used by the operating system or some other program, or maybe you do not have administrator privileges.

deletepic

If you get an “Access is Denied” error while accessing a folder then it means the administrator has not allowed you permission to access it. If you are not an Administrator then you will probably never be able to fix this error. But if you are an Administrator and receiving this problem then there is a software called Unlocker that is going to come in handy.

UPDATE: Lock Hunter seems to be working better in Windows 7(both 32-bit and 64-bit)

Unlocker is a small, free, and powerful software that lets you see which process is holding the lock on the file/folder and then helps you unlock it. After Installing this software you can simply right click the file/folder that is giving “Access is Denied” or “FIle May Be In Use” errors and then click on Unlocker.

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A new window will now pop-up showing the processes as shown below. Now you can either unlock all of the processes or kill the process.

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On the left of the ‘Kill Process’ button there is a dropdown menu where you can select Copy, Move, Rename, or Delete functions for a locked file.

This program is useful for the following types of errors,

  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied
  • There has been a sharing violation.
  • The source or destination file may be in use.
  • The file is in use by another program or user.
  • Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

Using Microsoft Support

There is also an alternative way using Microsoft support help for such errors, following MS steps will basically reset the file/folder settings.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/810881

I frequently use the Unlocker software for quick solution, and I have personally never tried using the Microsoft support method. I hope you will also get rid if these errors using the above procedure, looking forward to hear feedbacks from you. 🙂

110 Comments

  1. I suggest you try Long path tool is the very good program for easily
    delete, copy & rename long path files, error, unlock solution.
    Try it and solve your problem.
    I used long path tool and I solve my error, unlock problem solution.

  2. If you want to copy or delete the data and facing this error which says “file in use”. This is a common problem which occurs during cut, copy, paste and deletion of files. Now there’s a solution that copies the files you want, in the manner you want, without endless error prompts and user intervention. The solution is called GS RichCopy 360 Enterprise by GuruSquad. In my experience and opinion no other file copy application does it better and simpler than GS RichCopy 360 Enterprise.

  3. I am getting this same issue, i guess the best thing to do is to use a
    third party app like Long Path Tool. Just download it and use it to
    solve this issue. I hope this would help.

  4. Try “Long Path Tool ” is also useful in situations where you see these error messages: Cannot read from source file or disk, there has been a sharing violation, cannot delete file or folder, the file name you specified is not valid or too long, the source or destination file may be in use and many other file managing errors.

  5. very easy to delete this type of file or folder, just rename by pressing F2 and SHIFT+ DELETE, rename whenever error massege is coming. WOW…. SOLVED…

  6. Hi

    I suggest to try “Long Path Tool” program .

    before I have problem cannot copy file because file name too long. and after I found long

    path tool and now my problem solved

  7. Hi

    I suggest to try “Long Path Tool” program .

    and after I found long path tool and now my problem solved

    Thanks

    Patrick

  8. Thank you very much! I have been struggling for months to delete some directories that were held back by the windows media player network sharing exe. 🙂 Now my HDD is clean, thanks! 🙂

  9. I Use Permissions Time Machine v1.1 to restore default permissions and remove “Access is denied” message for folder or files or registry keys or windows services or wmi objects it’s free and fast and easy

    I download it from AMYD Projects

  10. I Use Permissions Time Machine v1.1 to restore default permissions and remove “Access is denied” message for folder or files or registry keys or windows services or wmi objects it’s free and fast and easy

    download it from amyd projects blog

  11. And what if I simply get an Error: “The object could not be deleted. Do you want to perform the requested delete operation at the next reboot?” What should I do in this case?

  12. Try ” Long Path Tool ” is also useful in situations where you see these error messages: Cannot read from source file or disk, there has been a sharing violation, cannot delete file or folder, the file name you specified is not valid or too long, the source or destination file may be in use and many other file managing errors that you encounter in your computing use.

  13. Try this “LongPathTool” tried and tested.Guaranteed fix. Here you can rename, delete, open and move your files instantly without the worries of error messages saying that there is some sort of a problem.

  14. Well, none of these solution worked for me… instead all i had to do was to:
    1) rename another folder which had some contents to the same name as the inaccessible/non-deletable folder.

    Note of caution: Make sure you have backed up a copy of the folder before you rename it.

    2) It then asked me if i wanted to merge the 2 folders –> clicked on Yes.
    3) I was then able to access/open the folder–> Deleted all the contents of the folder.
    4) Now i tried deleting the folder.(And this time it surprisingly let me delete it )

    Anyways, thanks a lot guys. Wouldn’t have posted this, if i wouldnt have come across such a forum that helps a lot when in a desperate situation.

  15. Hi all,  I have been suffering from accessing, managing and even renaming files that have more than 255 characters over a long time. I have tried various ways but failed. Then I have searched this problem in internet. Then I have found a solution. This software is very easy to use. Named Long path Tool. To use the program all you need to do is to download this program online and save all the settings to your computer. This program is compatible with Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7. you can find it from longpathtool(dot)com

  16. i have same problem.Long path tool worked perfect for me.Visit the following site for details Pleasehttp://LongPathTool.com

  17. i have same problem.Long path tool worked perfect for me.Visit the following site for details Pleasehttp://LongPathTool.com

  18. I
    love this tool and am using it now for this type or errors. I have
    tried a number of ways for it, and also I have used “Long Path Tool”
    software in this situation and it helped me easily and quickly.

  19. I
    love this tool and am using it now for this type or errors. I have
    tried a number of ways for it, and also I have used “Long Path Tool”
    software in this situation and it helped me easily and quickly.

  20. Thank you so much… I’ve installed unlocker and it worked for me when a file was giving ‘Access Denied’ while deleting a file.

  21. you can also try and deleting this kind of “can’t be deleted” files and folders with LongPathTool. I use it in this kind of situations 🙂

  22. It was helpful… I googled it just now, after trying many methods to delete an empty folder which used to have some music files in it – unsuccessfully ofcourse… So, thanks…

  23. It was helpful… I googled it just now, after trying many methods to delete an empty folder who used to have some music files in i t- unsuccessfully ofcourse… So, thanks…

  24. when deleted file using the unlocker, the file will totally delete right? it will be not available in the recycle bin or others file right?

  25. when deleted file using the unlocker, the file will totally delete right? it will be not available in the recycle bin or others file right?

  26. Another reason is if you have the preview pane open. I had the same problem, but it went away when I disabled the preview pane in Windows 7 explorer.

    Orangize>Layout>Preview

  27. Well, I’m running Win7 64-bit and trying to delete a folder. I log in as Administrator and when I try to delete I get the dreaded Access Denied. Cannot Delete. When I use LockHunter it does not resolve the issue. It does, however, tell me the folder is not locked. I click “Delete It!” and it informs me I can’t delete the folder.

    Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated…

  28. hey thanx for the information.
    i have tried so many times to delete a file but after using the unlocker it deleted in a second….:)

  29. I tried to delete a file named USBCα=}é.showing capacity 1,261,568 KB in folder but 0 KB in properties through unlocker. A small window pop upped with drop down menu with 4 options. Delete was selected, object deleted shown but actually was not deleted.

  30. Well, I just used the Windows Support path after having tried both Unlocker and LockHunter without success. Lo and behold, Microsoft actually solved the problem for me this time. Is the end of the world coming?

  31. I have a external hard drive – 1tb Lacie – and I can’t access my movies folder. It says access is denied even though I can access it with my LG TV. I’ve tried unlocker but it says that there is no lock on that file, therefore the problem cannot be solved. Have you got any suggestions as to what I can do?

  32. i fin’ly got a solution for this… try using unlocking software. it automatically detect locking code and if it found nothing it gives you option just chose delete and it will disappear… thanks peps…

  33. Thanks for this article and introducing me to the unlocker tool…. worked like a charm on an annoying problem folder that would not delete.

  34. thank you very much! i have been searching answers and followed every procedure that i found in the net but this is the only thing that worked for me, thanks again and GOD BLESS!

  35. googled how to delete files that can't be deleted, and DL'd this lil tool. Bam problem fixed in 2 minutes tops.

    Lol at my quick email name 😀

  36. googled how to delete files that can't be deleted, and DL'd this lil tool. Bam problem fixed in 2 minutes tops.

    Lol at my quick email name 😀

  37. Definitely a program that deserves mention. While I’ve always gotten around this program the “long way” (finding out what program is using it and then shutting down that program manually) this can certainly save time for a lot of inexperienced PC users.

  38. If you have long file names and can’t move or delete them, try to rename them to a shorter name as well as the $%# long folder name they are found in. Once you shorten the name past the Windows name character limit you can do what you want with the file. (I think the limit is 256 characters)

    Unlocker rocks!! love it.

  39. I have a whole folder filled whit files that can not be deleted. i have tried many different programs to delete them. unlocker & FileAssasin too. they didnt work. i have even tried some extreme erasing programs they did not work. so unlocker is god but sometimes it do not work.

  40. I tried many options suggested to remove this mongrel file without any success. Not a confident user as yet, was unsure about using the suggested software. So I restarted my machine, f8 into safe mode, located file and sent to recycle bin, emptied bin and could not believe it, its gone! Restart again and the error file has really gone. Hope this helps others. Maybe you techo’s can check this and see why it works. I felt I just fluked it. Anyway thanks everyone for communicating ideas to help each other. Cheers

  41. Unlocker isn’t portable, and it was flakey when I used it. Get killbox. If it can’t force-delete the file, it’ll delete it on reboot. Killbox also doesn’t need to be installed, as it’s just a standalone app.

  42. Have any of you tried restarting? Usually if you try to delete the file as soon as you can after a reboot it works just fine. I’ve never had any trouble after a reboot before.

  43. Unlocker doesn’t delete file names longer than 255 characters on windows XP.This I know for fact the only way I have found to remove veryfrakkenlongFilenames is to copy everything I want to keep from file then delete the whole file.I know sometimes that sucks but I wish I had a better way.

  44. Unlocker is in fact, the only tool I’ve found that can successfully perform this task (every time).
    But as BV says, it can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

    Windows itself uses a lot of files, and interrupting a Windows process by deleting one can cause major problems.
    Unlocker should only be used when you have a file like a document, or a music file, etc… that you would “typically” be able to delete.

    For newbies – say you are watching a video file, don’t like it & try to delete it. The video player may have that file locked for its use, preventing its deletion. You can clear this most times by playing another file, therefore releasing the first one so you can delete it. Maybe, though, you have to close the player program, to release the file before deleting it.
    If you click on a video file, to open the video player you use, then that first file may be locked until you close the program, no matter how many other videos you play.
    If it still won’t delete, then some other background process may have it locked (say, a screen-capture utility you clicked to get an image of the video) – this is where Unlocker comes in handy.
    There really are ENDLESS possible reasons for the locked file.
    So be cautious – it’s locked for a reason…

    In the example given by the author, the screen image shows EXPLORER.EXE as the process, with a LOCKED file or folder in My Documents… it’s safe to assume he’s trying to delete a document or folder there – maybe Word still has the document open while trying to delete it… doesn’t work. But if you Unlock it, you can delete it, and Word will get confused. So again, be cautious.

  45. sad.. sad.. If you’ve waited this long to find out how to unlock your processes (and haven’t Googled it before) you don’t deserve to use the program..

    •  I actually said Fuck you aloud when I read your post.  I just got win 7 and this is the first time I am having this problem!

  46. I’ve been using Unlocker for a couple years now, and I recommend it for anyone with the brains to use it. If you’re one of those folks that say “Oh, I don’t know much about computers” then you could cause some damage (or at least more troubles) with this, shutting down explorer.exe, for example. 🙂

    • Will this tool remove a folder( not being used) that gives persistent “Acess Denied” error?

      Thanks,

      RC

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