The message is pretty obvious – some application is using the file and is locking it to prevent other apps from corrupting it. The easiest way to deal with this issue is to close that app (“Notepad” in our case) and to click “Try Again” in this window.
However, sometimes this dialog does not show which particular application is locking the file, leaving you wondering which program might be using it. Here’s when LockHunter comes handy. This tiny little app installs into the Explorer’s context menu and is able to unlock or remove any file even if some other app is using it.
Here’s how it works:
- Right-click on any desired file and select “What is locking this file?”
- You will see LockHunter’s window that will tell you whether the file is locked, and if so, which application does that. If you wish to delete the file, click on “Delete It!” button. If you want to rename, move or edit the file, click “Unlock It!”.
- If unlocking is successful, you will see a window like this:
- That’s it!
If the app is unable to remove the file (thus, unlock it properly), you will be asked to remove the file upon system reboot. Just click “Yes” and restart your computer. The file should no longer be there.
NOTE: be cautious when choosing which files to unlock or remove – it can unlock critical system files as well, potentially crippling your system.
You can download LockHunter completely free of charge.
Even if LockHunter is a rather new app, it does its’ job very well, especially on Windows 8/8.1 systems, where alternatives frequently fail to work properly. If you are using Windows 7, Vista or XP, you can also try Unlocker, which has been around for a long time, but has some issues on Windows 8 or newer. EMCO UnLock IT is also an excellent alternative, but it may seem a little bit bloated. Process Explorer is a Swiss Army knife dealing with Windows processes and files. However, being so powerful it might not be easy to use for an average computer user.
Malicious applications are also known for being able to lock your documents or system files to prevent any modifications. Download SpyHunter to scan your computer against viruses, trojans, browser hijackers, keyloggers or rootkits, and remove them easily with no more than a single computer reboot.