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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.

 
In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
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

 
Editor

This software category is in need of an editor. If you are interested in taking it over then check out this page for more details. You can then contact us from that page or by clicking here.

 
Tags

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

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Comments

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 :)

by Anand (not verified) on 17. August 2012 - 18:28  (97872)

download lockhunter software... itz d best

by preetham (not verified) on 16. August 2012 - 13:56  (97797)

superb sir Thankz a lot ...its awesome

by py (not verified) on 6. December 2011 - 17:40  (84520)

Personnaly I use unlocker for years and I never found malwares in it, nor have problems either xp or vista or win7.
This kind of tools internally use (and have to use) some system hacks, and some anti-malwares applications are suspicious about that.

by Anonimous22 (not verified) on 21. October 2011 - 3:32  (81817)

I Just Installed and uninstalled unlocker and it changed my clock to military time and malwarebytes has already found 42 ojects on a previously clean system. STAY AWAY FROM THIS!!!!!!!!!!! Malware ridden program

by Use_Your_Head (not verified) on 29. August 2012 - 0:20  (98436)

Stay away from the Warez and the Torrent sites and you won't have that problem. When I started using it, MalwareBytes came up clean. I've been using it for 3+ years w/ no problems.

by MidnightCowboy on 29. August 2012 - 4:55  (98441)

The program will offer to install potentially unwanted material (toolbar) and make system changes but these are clearly stated in our review and can be opted out of during the installation. If indeed the computer referenced did contain malware, then it was not from this source.

https://www.virustotal.com/file/e9f401e0359c6c11459b374ecd6ccd802bebd22e...

by George.J on 6. May 2012 - 17:15  (93131)

VirusTotal gave back 1/42 detection, which can be safely ignored. https://www.virustotal.com/file/e6062e3f5cb60f73f75dbd640450cb1d8ad116b0... . Unlocker is only an adware program.

by kendall.a on 21. October 2011 - 4:04  (81819)

I just ran the 32 bit and the 64 bit installation files through Jotti.com (VirusTotal appears to be down). Both files came back totally clean according to Jotti!

by stefan555 on 10. May 2011 - 21:48  (71746)

Unlocker's website is blocked by ClearCloud DNS

by Jojo Yee on 23. April 2011 - 10:26  (70765)

Updated: Links to Unlocker's homepage and download page, and some product details.

by J_L on 22. February 2011 - 0:05  (66891)

Unlocker had a 64-bit version for quite a while now.

by RiteGuy (not verified) on 20. March 2011 - 7:36  (68204)

Most site owners/managers/webmasters deny this, but Unlocker is loaded with malware/adware. Over the last few years, I've had my anti-malware software trigger an alert when I either visited the site or installed the software. It's been intermittant, so I would accept all the responses that I got saying it was a false-positive and that the person I reported it to hadn't experienced any problems.

DO YOU BELIEVE IT! There's something fishy with UNLOCKER! Just today (3/20/2011) my Microsoft Security Essentials has warned me twice already that the following programs had been detected to delivering potential unwanted advertisements using "Adware:Win32/OpenCandy":

Unlocker1.9.0-x64.exe
Unlocker1.9.0.exe

(both the 32 and 64 bit versions).

Granted, it's not a serious threat, but a threat none-the-less! I wish I could upload a snapshot of the history item from my Security Essentials.

RiteGuy

by gggirlgeek (not verified) on 26. April 2012 - 8:20  (92628)

Here is the virus total scan: https://www.virustotal.com/file/19c975dac068e803d72626bb5d44169ca07660810f091ed32683b78455bc69a9/analysis/

Nod32 was the only thing that said an unwanted toolbar was included, which it is, and you opt out.

I have been using Unlocker for years now. I really couldn't get by without it, especially with Microsoft's increasing clamp on user control with each new OS. I wouldn't be able to deal with Win7 x64 otherwise. That would be a shame too, because I do love the performance and stability.

by J_L on 20. April 2011 - 23:51  (70633)

That's unrelated to my comment.

I just checked this article again, because it appears to be updated, but clearly not enough. This false sentence is still not corrected (along with Quick Selection): A portable version of this program is available but a 64-bit version has yet to be developed.

by Anupam on 21. April 2011 - 5:23  (70638)

It won't be regularly updated until a new volunteer editor can be assigned to the article.

by Anupam on 20. March 2011 - 8:03  (68207)

[Update: no OC in the latest version 1.9.1] OpenCandy is sort of an adware. Unlocker had become fishy sometime ago, when it started to install an Ebay shortcut in its Program Files folder, without user knowing about it. But, this changed, after people raised objections. Now, they are being open about it, and now allow the user to opt-out of it, by giving option in the setup. Apart from Ebay, they also include Bing Toolbar. They are playing it with multiple software, to get revenue in.

Nowadays, increasing number of free software are being shipped with such extras in their installers. It is therefore, very necessary to be careful while installing any software. One mistake, and you will end up with a third party software on your system.

by tyler (not verified) on 27. July 2010 - 22:13  (55015)

these programs did not work for me. (but I didn't try file assassin yet)
I had success with Comodo System Cleaner. See file cleaner and system cleaner software sections. Comodo has a tool called wiper which deletes locked files/folders very easily. I had a lock on backup versions of windows folders saying I didn't have permission to delete the file. apparently because the files were locked under the old user name. Comodo system cleaner worked great. hope this helps.

by tommyzulu on 23. July 2010 - 16:28  (54810)

Unlocker 1.9 is a problem: it installs a load of unwanted files even if you don't ask for the Bing toolbar...
I have links to e-bay all over my menus now and there are wanings on the internet and complex articles about how to delete these unwanted files. Far from being problem-free it now has nasties attached which I am having real difficulty in getting rid of!
Please beware!!!

by Anupam on 23. July 2010 - 17:41  (54817)

You are right. Unlocker works really great, but recently, it has started including these things with the installer, which is not good. The recent version 1.9.0 goes even one step ahead. If you choose not to install the Bing toolbar, it makes you wait for 30 seconds. Even after that, on the last screen, there is a checbox to untick the ebay shortcuts. If you are not careful to do that, the ebay shortcuts would be installed on the PC.

In the previous versions, even if you chose not to install the ebay shortcut, an exe called ebay.exe would still be there in the Program Files folder for Unlocker. Thankfully, its not there in this version.

Be careful with the installers nowadays. They are getting sneakier with these bundled software.

by Beeber on 13. July 2010 - 3:50  (54180)

The new Unlocker 1.9 is out and for the first time I had trouble installing it. It had something to do with the timer on accepting/rejecting that BingBar. I know he needs to do this to keep unlocker free. I uninstalled it and installed 1.88. All better now. Also donated a few bucks.
Oh, and it is compatable with 64 bit now.