Error the file is already in use

5 Working Ways to Delete or Rename a File Already in Use

Last Updated on March 27, 2020 by Rajeesh Nair 1 Comment

If you’re a Windows user, then you must have faced the issue stating “File Already in Use” error, at least once. By default, any program that is still running on Windows can’t be deleted or renamed based on Windows program. This feature is actually introduced to help the users and restrict them from modifying a file already in use. However, sometimes, there are times when you have closed the application and trying to delete or rename the file but still Windows throws an error stating File Already in Use.

While most of the times, this error is flashed as the some of the processes on your Windows is still using the file in question, whereas sometimes it may happen because of some corrupt or troublesome files because of viruses or malware on the PC.

It becomes kind of hectic for the user as the user is unable to delete or rename the file, just because the program is still running in the background. Well, in that case, there are still ways to delete or rename a file already in use within Windows and today I will be sharing them with you.

5 Different Ways to Delete or Rename a File Already in Use

Close Windows Explorer

The basic problem that most of us face while deleting or renaming the file is the error that says, file already in use. Despite closing down all applications, Windows throws this error whenever you try to delete or rename the file. This happens mostly because Windows Explorer is still accessing the file, may be to display the thumbnail.

In such scenario, you can simply move all the other files in that particular folder containing the file already in use to a temporary folder and try deleting the folder that contains the immovable or already in use file. If it doesn’t work, then you can always try shutting down Windows Explorer.

Open Task Manager on your Windows. Simply right-click on the taskbar of your Windows screen and choose Task Manager. You can also hit the key Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager instantly.

You can find a list of running programs on the Task Manager. Find Windows Explorer and select the program with one-click. Once selected, press the “End Task” button at the bottom of the Task Manager window. You can also right-click Windows Explorer on the list of programs on the Task Manager and choose End Task.

Well, terminating Windows Explorer will eventually make your Windows screen blank without the start menu and the taskbar. In order to bring it back, you have to restart Windows Explorer. Simply open Run… box on the Windows and type Explorer.exe and press Enter.

Once restarted, you will be able to delete or rename the desired file.

Change File Extension

One of the simplest ways to delete or rename a file already in use is changing the file extension. Yes, if you change the file extension of the particular file that you want to delete or rename, you will be able to close the program and that file will be no longer in use.

However, by default, Windows doesn’t show file extensions of the files and to be able to change it, you must enable the feature that shows file extensions on Windows. To do this, you can simply open Windows Explorer, go to View tab and tick the “File Name Extensions” box. Now, you will be able to see File Extensions on each file.

Simply select the file that you want to rename or delete and press F2 and change the extension to something else such as .txt.

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For previous versions of Windows including Windows 7, search for “Folder Options” in the Start menu. Click on “Folder Options”, and scroll down the window and disable “Hide extensions for known file types” and click OK.

That’s it. You will be able to delete or rename the file as the file will be no longer in use after changing the file extensions. If you are simply renaming the file, then I would suggest changing the extension of the file to the previous one, so it remains operational.

Restart PC in Windows Safe Mode

Another best option is to opt for the safe mode and I mean that literally. In Windows, you have the option to restart your PC in safe mode. All you need to do is keep pressing F8 button when you PC is starting up until the boot menu is loaded on your screen.

Now select Safe Mode option and let the Windows startup. In safe mode, you can try deleting the concerned file from Windows Explorer. Here you can learn how to boot into safe mode on Windows 8.

Go Command Prompt Way

Advanced Windows users can also try to delete or rename the file already in use via Command Prompt. Well, there are no magic skills required to access Command Prompt. However, I would suggest restricting from using Command Prompt if you are not fully sure about it.

Well, to run the Command Prompt window, all you need is to either search for it from the Start menu or Start Screen. You can also opt for a shortcut by pressing Windows key and R to automatically open the Run box and then type cmd.exe on it and press Enter.

A black window will open up on your screen waiting for your commands. Use commands like “del” or “ren” based on your preferences whether you wish to delete or rename the file and hit space bar once.

Once you have hit the space bar, all you need is to drag the file in context here with the help of mouse and place it in the black window. If you opt to delete the file then simply press “Enter” and the file will be deleted automatically.

However, if you plan to rename the file, then you must add one more space followed by the new name for the file with the extension at the end of the command. Look at the image below for better clarification.

You may also need to close the Windows Explorer on your machine in order to release all the locked files. As discussed in the first solution above, you can close Windows Explorer via Task Manager.

That’s it. With a simple command prompt, now you can easily delete or rename any file already in use.

Use Third-party Deletion Utility

If any of the above ideas don’t work, then there’s no other way but installing third-party utility software to delete files that can’t be deleted normally. These utility programs are designed to run a script that allows access to the files before any restrictions are placed on the file right at the Windows boot up. With such access, these files can be both renamed and deleted based on your preferences. These programs include MoveOnBoot and File Assassin.

You can also try another utility program called Unlocker. This tool lets you recognize all the processes that are currently trying to access the file in question. Simply choose to “Unlock all” from the drop-down menu and all the processes trying to access the file will be closed and the file will be now ready to for any operation of your choice, whether you wish to delete it or rename the file.

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Over to you!

Well, these were some of the most effective and widely used methods to delete or rename the file whenever Windows throws the File Already in Use errors. While most of these methods are simple and easy, a couple of them will be a bit complicated to try if you aren’t an avid Windows user. Let us know if you have found any other effective way to solve this issue. Our readers will find your valuable feedback helpful.


Resolving Access database error ‘file already in use’

Summary: Are you receiving a ‘file already in use’ error message every time you try to open an MS Access database application that is present on a server? If your answer is ‘Yes’ go through this blog to know the preventive measure you can take and the Manual and software approaches to fix the error. Stellar Repair for Access can easily fix the Access database error ‘file already in use’ error.

MS Access is a highly used and useful database management system that stores data in a format that is based on the Access Jet Database Engine. As a widely used application for business-related tasks across the globe, it is prone to many errors. While trying to open an Access database stored on the server, you may receive Access database error – ‘File already in use’. Further, you are not allowed to access the database file and the stored data, such as relational databases, macros, modules, records, tables, queries, reports, forms, indexes, and more. In such a situation, all that you can wish is to do away with the ‘database is already in use’ error as soon as possible.

Cause of ‘Access database already in use’ error

Know the cause of ‘Access database already in use’ error

  1. Damaged Access database file/corruption in Access database file
  2. User does not have ‘create’ rights for the folder in which the database is present, and he opens the database. The MS Jet database engine does not create the locking information file (LDB in Access 2003 and in earlier Access versions and LACCDB in MS Access 2007 and 2010 versions, which is essential for multiple users to open the database.

NoteA user who does not have ‘create’ rights needs to open the database entirely if an analogous LDB file or LACCDB file is not present.

Preventive Measure for ‘Access database already in use’ error

Make sure that all users opening the database have all three rights that are ‘read’, ‘write’ and ‘create’ for the folder where the database is present. Also, if you are using a secured Access database, make sure that the users who open the database have Read and Write permission on the folder that contains the workgroup information in MDW file. However, what if you did not take care of these, and are now encountering ‘file already in use’ error in Access database.

Solution for ‘Access database already in use’ error

The resolution for this error is as follows:

As a resolution, go for a specialized Access database repair tool that can address the error successfully and provide multiple benefits, such as repairs damaged Access database (ACCDB and MDB) files, recovers Tables, Queries, Reports, Forms and Indexes, restores Macros, Modules, Relationships and Relational Databases, recovers all objects including ‘Deleted Records’ to the new database, provides an arrangement that makes easy to access its features, recovers password-protected or encrypted forms and modules, saves the repaired database file to the default or a user-specified location. Besides, support for MS Access 2019 and earlier versions & Windows 10 and earlier versions provides better accessibility.

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Stellar Repair for Access is a do-it-yourself professional software providing all these benefits in the process of MS Access database file repair. To use it, simply Select, Repair and Save the Access database file. After repairing and before saving, you have the option to preview the recoverable data of Access application.

Watch the software working process from here:


Take preventive measures for the error so that you do not have to worry about the inaccessibility of Access database file and the stored data as well as the resolutions for the error. Still, if you encounter Access database error – ‘file already in use’, employ an easy, effective and responsive solution to do away with the error. Stellar Repair for Access software is a secure and easy-to-use utility when you are in hassle due to MS Access database errors. It saves time and ensures accuracy every time you use it.

About The Author

Priyanka is a technology expert working for key technology domains that revolve around Data Recovery and related software’s. She got expertise on related subjects like SQL Database, Access Database, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel. Loves to write on different technology and data recovery subjects on regular basis. Technology freak who always found exploring neo-tech subjects, when not writing, research is something that keeps her going in life.

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Every time I try to open Access file I get an error message ‘Access database already in use”. So, to fix this issue I tried manual solutions. But it doesn’t work to fix this error.

Should I try this one Access database repair tool?

At work, we have an Access database created by Access 2000, used as a backend for I can have Access 2000 open on the server and users can still use it all day long. I was testing something at home and I have Access 2003 on my test server.

The database is opening in “shared” mode, but I get a “file in use” error if, on the server, I just have the database open in Access 2003, not adding data to a table or editing columns or anything. Just open. Close the database in 2003 and it starts working in my app.

My question is, how to resolve Access error? So, I can access in Access 2003 version also.

I’m working on MS Access 2013 database and I have saved the System.mdw file to a folder on the Server and linked all users to it. When multiple users attempt to log in, they get the message “file already in use”.

Now how I resolve this error?

Please review all file permissions (‘read’, ‘write’ and ‘create’) carefully to identify the root causes.

I have a running website which is live Access database using ASP.NET 2.0. I got this error:

“file already in use”.

You should also contact support community members of ASP.NET

Sometimes, an unknown error is responsible for the error in Access database file. In this situation, you should run Stellar Repair for Access.

I am getting this error when saving as Access database file. Yesterday, I switched to New Windows 10 PC. Is new operating system is responsible for this one error?


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