Windows 10 is getting a solution for a longstanding problem
where the File Explorer blocks you from deleting a file when
it’s open in another app.
By default, Windows 10 won’t allow you to delete, move or
rename a file that is open in a program. If you want to modify
the locked file, you would first need to identify the program
and close it manually.
In most cases, File Explorer will explicitly state that your
file is in use by Microsoft Word or some other app, but
sometimes it may not be clear which program has locked your
files. It has also been observed that files may remain locked
even when the app is closed and this happens due to unknown
Currently, Windows 10 allows you to use an app called “Process
Explorer” to identify which program has a particular file or
directory open. With Microsoft’s Process Explorer, you can even
identify the files which are open by mysterious and hidden DLLs
The problem with Process Explorer is that it’s designed for
advanced users (administrators) and average users may not find
it beginner-friendly at all.
Fortunately, Microsoft understands that this is a limitation of
File Explorer and it’s planning to
address the unexpected ‘File is in use’ behaviour in the next
Anyone who has been frustrated by this particular File Explorer
error will breathe a big sigh of relief next year.
Since unlocking and deleting certain files can cause problems
with open programs, Microsoft plans to offer a modern interface
to see what program is using that file. Once detected, you can
manually close the program or use the Windows 10 Task Manager.
So with any luck, this feature will be deployed with PowerToys
update for Windows 10 next year.
It’s also worth noting that
Microsoft is working on several new features for Windows 10
as part of the PowerToys project and most of the changes are
expected to arrive soon.