In Windows OS, any file in use or open within another software package is automatically locked. As a result, if you try to rename, delete, or edit it, Windows will tell you that another process has ‘locked’ the file and you’re unable to complete your task. An obvious way to access locked files is to close the running software to unlock them. In this post, we’ll tell you how to unlock in use files in Windows. Let’s get started.
Unlock In Use Files in Windows
Before we take you through a quick-witted journey on how to unlock in use files in Windows, let’s share some basic knowledge with you that will make you well-versed in the field.
To clear things up, a locked file means a file that is currently in use in another process. Basically, there are two ways to unlock in use files in Microsoft Windows. The first method lets you unlock your file when you know which app has exactly locked it. In case it’s unclear to you which program has locked your file, follow the second method. Let’s discuss both the methods in detail.
Method – 1: If You Know Which Process Locked A File
If Windows tells you the name of the process that is locking your file, it’s simple case of finding the process in question and shutting it down. In this way, your file becomes unlocked.
If closing the program doesn’t fix it, chances are the process wasn’t fully ended. Firstly, make sure that the process isn’t something crucial to the operation of Windows. Once you’re sure that the process isn’t integral to your system, open the Task Manager by pressing the Shift + Ctrl + Esc key combination. Afterward, click on the Details tab and find the process that is locking your file.
Once the process has found, select it and click on the End Task button in the bottom-right corner. Alternatively, right click on the process and click on the End Task option.
Method – 2: If You Don’t Know The Process Locking Your File
In some cases, it may not be clear which program has locked a file. So, how can you shut down a process if Windows won’t tell you which one is the culprit? Fortunately, there’s a way to unlock in use files in Windows even if you don’t know the process. Here’s how to do so.
Restart Your PC
The simplest solution to unlock in use files in Windows when you don’t about the locking process is to restart your computer. This will restart all the processes on your PC and relinquish its grip on your file. It is not a fantastic solution as it involves shutting everything down just to unlock a single file.
In case restarting your system sounds like a hassle, don’t give up hope just yet! You can make use of various third-party tools to unlock your files rather than having to restart every time. One such tool s LockHunter that helps you identify what is locking your files and rescues them for you to edit.
Once you’ve downloaded LockHunter on your system, simply right click on the offending file and select the What is locking this file? option. Then, a pop-up window will arise informing you about the process that is locking the file. You can then unlock your file easily.
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