Resolving the “File is open in another program” Windows Issue

Article by Joe Medeiros, CSWE updated February 6, 2012


Why can’t I delete or move a file or folder? What program is stopping me from deleting or moving a file or folder?

Folder in use dialog box

Windows message for file or folder that can’t be deleted

Solve the issue with the Microsoft Process Explorer

To help you resolve the ‘File is open in another program’ you can use The Process Explorer from Microsoft, amongst other things, will list the processes that are currently accessing the file or folder. You can download the Microsoft Process Explorer from here:

When you launch the Process Explorer pick Find from the menu.

Microsoft Process Explorer

Microsoft Process Explorer

Enter the file or folder name you are trying to move or delete and pick the Search button. The applications that are accessing the file will be listed in the Search Window.

Search Results

Applications that are accessing the file or folder you are trying to delete

You will then know which program/application to close; or if there is a process that is currently using the file – which you can close in the normal way using the Windows Task Manager (Right-click on the Windows Taskbar and select Start Task Manager).

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Joe Medeiros, CSWE

Joe Medeiros is a SOLIDWORKS and PDM Certified Expert. He has been helping SOLIDWORKS users with training, mentoring and implementations since 1998. He combines industry experience with a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS products to assist customers in being successful. He shares his experience and expertise through blogs; one of which has been incorporated into the SOLIDWORKS Essentials training manual.