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.
Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide
Weighing 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.
Besides 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.
Similar 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:
You might want to check out these articles too:
- Best Free File Cleaner
- Best Free Secure Erase Utility
- Best Free Duplicate File Finder
- Best Free File Rename Utility
- Best Free Program Uninstaller
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