How to Unlock Locked Files in Windows

September 19, 2011 |

greater than 1 minute

Have you ever tried to delete a file only to receive “Cannot delete Folder/File” and “The Source File May Be in Use” error messages? If you are a Windows user, then most likely you get these error messages every once in a while. Dealing with locked files in Windows can be annoying, but fortunately it’s not all that hard to unlock them.

There are two major reasons why Windows doesn’t allow you to delete a file

One of them is quite simple – you are not logged in as the administrator of your computer. If that’s the case, Windows will display an “Access Is Denied” error message when you try to delete a file that requires administrative privileges. This issue can be easily resolved by logging out of Windows and logging back in using the administrator account.

However, if you are already logged in as administrator, but the file you want to delete is still locked, you’ll need to either use Auslogics Task Manager to unlock locked files really easily or kill explorer.exe and prevent it from locking the file.

To unlock a file using Auslogics Task Manager, simply do the following:

1. Open Auslogics Task Manager and click on Locked Files link in the pane on the left
2. Select the file you want to unlock and press Unlock
3. That’s it! The file is now unlocked and you can easily delete it

Advanced computer users can choose to unlock locked files by killing explorer.exe. Here is how:

1. Open the command prompt by clicking on Start – Run, typing cmd and hitting Enter
2. Navigate to the location of the locked file
3. Open the Task Manager by pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL and go to the Processes tab
4. Select the explorer.exe process and click on the End Process button to kill it
5. Go back to the command prompt and delete the file
6. Launch the Task Manager again, click on File – New Task
7. Type explorer.exe in the Create New Task field and press OK

Now you should be able to get rid hard to delete files. Personally, I prefer the easy way of unlocking locked files, but it’s always good to have an alternative method.

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