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Find out which process is locking a file or folder in Windows

How can I find out which process is locking a file or folder in Windows?

For instance, when trying to delete a folder, Windows reports this:

The action can't be completed because the folder is open in another program

Happens the same with a file, but how do I find out what program or application is currently using it and preventing me from deleting the file or folder?

3 Answers

PowerShell method:

IF((Test-Path -Path $FileOrFolderPath) -eq $false) {
Write-Warning "File or directory does not exist."
Else {
$LockingProcess = CMD /C "openfiles /query /fo table | find /I ""$FileOrFolderPath"""
Write-Host $LockingProcess

The openfiles command needs to have support for local files enabled, by running openfiles /local on and restarting.
If you do not know the program the file it is using then you can go to My Computer; right click; select Manage. Under System Tools > Shared folders > Open Files, you should be able to see the user who has locked the file. You can close file from here and then you can perform the task of rename or delete the file.
A couple of options:

Microsoft/SysInternals Process Explorer - Go to Find > Find Handle or DLL. In the "Handle or DLL substring:" text box, type the path to the file (e.g. "C:\path\to\file.txt") and click "Search". All processes which have an open handle to that file should be listed.

WhoLockMe - Explorer extension which adds a right-click menu option

N.B. WhoLockMe appears to not work with Win 10 (at least I have been unable to register it with either of the 32- or 64-bit versions of regsvr32.exe).

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