Best Free Undeletable File Remover

 
Introduction

Isn't it really frustrating if you want to delete a file or a folder but the system doesn't allow you to do so? Instead, the system just greets you with either one of these error messages:

  • Cannot delete file: Access is denied.
  • Cannot delete folder: It is being used by another person or program.
  • 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.

Any solutions? Give these undeletable file removers a try and you might find them helpful to unlock a file, terminate the processes using the file or remove file-access restrictions that prevent you from deleting, renaming or moving a file.

 
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Discussion

UnlockerWeighing in at only 216 KB, Unlocker is a tiny program and yet works well with supports for most features including kill processes, close handles, unload DLLs, remove with or without reboot, command line and more.

Simply right-click a file or folder which is locked, select Unlocker in the context menu, you will see the processes or programs that are locking the file or folder, then choose to kill or unlock the processes, with an optional action such as delete, rename, move or copy, available in a clean and simple user interface.

This program comes with an Unlocker Assistant which stays in the system tray and automatically launches if you are trying to delete, rename, or move a file that is locked.

When this program was uploaded to VirusTotal for a scan, it showed a result of 2/42. This could be false positives as the developer highlighted this issue in the FAQ.

In the current version, the developer added an optional shortcut to a Bing or Quickstores toolbar but you can simply untick it during installation. Unlocker is available in 32 and 64 bit versions and also as a portable.

 

LockHunterBesides Unlocker, LockHunter is a good alternative.

You can access the program from the right-click context menu item What's locking this file? or launch the program separately, but you cannot run it from a command line.

From the program user interface, the user can click a button to unlock or delete a file or folder, or close locking processes. Unloading DLLs, deleting locked index.dat and removing files with a reboot were found not supported.

This program is in beta but it worked quite well when I tested it. But use it with care as advised by the developer.

 

FileASSASSINSimilar to LockHunter, FileASSASSIN allows you to launch the program separately or access it via a context menu. And just like Unlocker, it is a small program as well.

When accessing from the context menu, you will see two menu items listed—Delete file using FileASSASSIN and Unlock file using FileASSASSIN.

The methods of file processing available to the program include unlock locked file handles, unload modules, terminate a file's processes and/or delete a file with or without a reboot.

Using FileASSASSIN to delete a locked file needs to be cautious as the file will be directly removed from your system. This is unlike both Unlocker and LockHunter where they keep a deleted file temporarily in the Recycle Bin, allowing for the user to restore it in the event that it was accidentally deleted.

 

Freeware products reviewed but not recommended:

  • Pocket Killbox runs straight from the executable. It failed to delete a locked file for me when tested.
  • EMCO UnLock IT  is in active development and features a Ribbon user interface. I found the performance of version 2.0 unsatisfactory. Surprisingly I was prompted a message "The selected resource is not locked by any application" when I checked a locked file with the program.
  • UnlockMe serves just to unlock a file. It worked when tested on my XP system but failed to unlock a file when I tried it on Windows 7, which probably not supported upon this review.

 

Freeware products to be reviewed:

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Unlocker
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Small file size, clean and simple user interface, with portable version available. Features include kill processes, close handles, unload DLLs, remove with or without reboot, command line and an optional action such as delete, rename, move or copy.
Adding a Bing or Quickstores toolbar but it's optional.
1.9.2
1.02 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000 to Windows 7

v1.9.2 released 16 May, 2013
View the changelog here

LockHunter
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Access from context menu or run separately. One-click to unlock or delete a file or folder, or close locking processes.
Still a beta, so use it with care.
http://lockhunter.com/
2.0 Beta 2
1.3 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000 to Windows 7

From the developers' web site "At the moment LockHunter is in beta stage. So use it with care!"

FileASSASSIN
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Small file size, portable version available. Unlock locked file handles, unload modules, terminate a file's processes and/or delete a file.
Need to exercise caution when deleting a file as there is no option to temporarily send to the Recycle Bin.
1.06
163 KB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000 to Vista

 
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Tags

delete file, clean file, remove file, unlock file, kill processes, delete locked file, delete locked folder.

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Comments

by crombierob on 7. October 2014 - 4:05  (118995)

I am using Win XP Pro SP3
I am trying to completely delete some folders (not via Recycle Bin).
The inbuilt Foler/File delete has these annoying habits.
- inane pauses with msgboxes -
- - Are you sure
- - Do you wish to delete EXE's
- - Etc

And the most annoying -
It refuses to delete folders that have _files on the end
I know that such folders are an accompanying folder when you save a web page (which I hate - so for years I always save as .mht instead)
For whatever reason there are some left over folders with _files on the end, and XP's File delete refuses to delete them.
I am then forced to drill down to find each one, and change the name of that folder.

Which alternate Folder delete program could I use that I could point to a folder, and tell it delete everything in there, with no inane questions (msgboxes)

Thanks,
Rob

by MrDog on 21. August 2014 - 4:06  (118109)

Chrome also refuses to download it as it claims it is Malware. Sure the developer claims it is all OK but that implies a lot of trust - I am sure all Malware authors would make the same claim.

by Anupam on 21. August 2014 - 6:20  (118114)

Which software are you talking about?

by MrDog on 21. August 2014 - 6:26  (118115)

Sorry - Unlocker

by HypoTrain on 29. July 2014 - 6:23  (117644)

Wow, I tried FileAssassin and it worked, thanks for putting it up!

by Gibbs.Slap on 12. January 2014 - 17:12  (113556)

While trying to Download Unlocker today there seems to be a forced minimum $5.00 donation before download is complete. This would remove this product as Freeware in my opinion.

by Anupam on 12. January 2014 - 17:20  (113557)

I didn't encounter any such problem. Download was able to start and complete too.

by Gibbs.Slap on 12. January 2014 - 17:33  (113558)

Hi Anupam, when did you download it and from what URL? I used this URL and I am forced to make a Donation before download. http://www.emptyloop.com/unlocker/ Thanks for your rapid reply:)

Gibbs

by Anupam on 12. January 2014 - 17:56  (113559)

I downloaded from the same link. On clicking the appropriate download link, a separate page opens, but that's just for promotion.. the download starts from the first page itself. I was able to download without problems.

by Gibbs.Slap on 12. January 2014 - 18:30  (113560)

Thanks Anupam, I did finally find it. It is not very friendly to the folks wanting to install it putting a tiny link down under the Large Download Link but I guess that is how things work out now a days:)

For anyone looking for the Free Download link look below the big blue boxes and you will see this:

Download Unlocker 1.9.2 - 32 and 64 bit version, click on it and it will bring you to the upload "Automatically".

Thanks for the rapid response and keeping my looking for the Free Download. It will probably help others in the future.

Gibbs

by Anupam on 12. January 2014 - 18:49  (113561)

No problem :).

And yes, sadly, that's the kind of practice nowadays, to dupe users into clicking on misleading links, or buttons. Therefore, it's quite necessary these days to make sure what you are clicking on.

BTW, I find Emco UnlockIT better than Unlocker... atleast with the problem I had on my old PC. Unlocker couldn't detect the lock on Windows explorer, whereas UnlockIT did.

by Gibbs.Slap on 12. January 2014 - 19:47  (113565)

Thanks for the heads up. I took a look at it and it has a good review with my friends at MajorGeeks so I put it in my Toolbox.

Gibbs

by shrishri on 26. September 2013 - 16:07  (111036)

What I am really crazily looking out for is a tool that will help 'safely remove' these USB Flash drives...

Can't understand. I am the boss, the owner of the PC..., and if I want it removed..., I do...

But Windows obstinately sits on it..., refusing to let me, or even to let me know what is happening. Knowing full well, that once exasperated I have to, and will pull out the USB Flash drive and be on my way...

Even Unlocker doesn't help in this... It removes locking handles..., but even after the locking handles are removed..., very often Windows does not allow 'safely remove'.

by Anupam on 26. September 2013 - 16:30  (111037)

If a USB drive cannot be safely removed, it means that some Windows process is using it. It used to happen a lot on my older Windows XP system, and somehow the culprit was windows explorer. I didn't had luck with Unlocker. You should try Emco UnlockIT, which worked great for me.

by boristhemoggy on 22. January 2013 - 17:34  (104732)

Lockhunter doesn't work for me on Win7, Unlocker ALWAYS works for me thankfully :)

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