Folder in Use – Can not delete folder in Windows

What process is preventing a file or folder from deletion?

If you can not delete a file or a folder, a process in the background is accessing or using it. In that case, you can not delete the file or folder, until the process is terminated. In most cases closing programs will help, but sometimes some background process might be using the file. In this blog post I will show you, how you can find out, which process or program is using the file.

The action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program

Table of content

Video tutorial


In the first step, we have to download the tool “Process Explorer” from Microsoft. It is a small portable download, just unzip the file. There are three executable files, the first is for 32-bit Windows, the second for 64-bit systems and the last one for ARM based Windows systems.

Now we need the path of the folder which can’t be deleted, or the file is in. Copy the path from the Explorer.

In Process Explorer, click on “Find” and “Find Handle or DLL”.

Now paste the path in the search box and start the search. After some short time, all processes currently accessing the file/folder should be shown. We now have the process ID and the name of the process.

If you have the program open in the task bar, just close the program. If the program is not visible we can use the “Process Explorer” to terminate the process.

Close the search and look for the process name or process id in the main window. Right click on the process and select “Kill Procress”. The process will be terminated and now you should be able to delete the folder. If not, check for other processes which might also be accessing the folder.

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