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Resolving “File in use” when moving or deleting a file

This article was been published more than 6months ago. The information contained herein may be outdated.

A while back, I opened a file to see what it was, then decided to move it, at which point I got a “File in use”-error, preventing me from moving, deleting or renaming the file. Luckily, there is a fairly simple solution to this problem:
 
I’ve written about Process Explorer before, and I still love it. It does the job, simply and effectively. The solution, then, is as follows:
 

  1. Download and run Process Explorer.
  2. Go to Find > Find Handle or DLL
  3. Enter part of the file name in the “Handle or DLL substring” search field, then click Search
  4. You will get a list of results like so:
  5. In the above picture, we see that there are three processes that are accessing the file I searched for. Finding (and ending) the corresponding processes in Process Explorer should free up the file, so that we can now move the file.

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