4 Useful Tools to Delete Locked Files In Windows

4 Useful Tools to Delete Locked Files In Windows

As a Windows user, you have likely encountered messages like “The source or destination file may be in use” and “Cannot delete file: Access denied” when trying to delete a file. This occurs when another program is currently utilizing the file or folder, preventing its deletion. It is sometimes possible to identify the cause. For instance, the image below illustrates that MS Word has locked the file, and closing the application should resolve the issue.

However, I have occasionally struggled to determine the cause of these messages and find a solution. To address this, I rely on third-party tools to assist me in releasing the files. This article presents four such exceptional tools.


Unlocker is a useful tool for unlocking files used by unknown programs. Install the application, and it will be added to your context menu. Launch the interface by right-clicking.

4 Useful Tools to Delete Locked Files In Windows

You can either choose to “Kill” the locking process or “Unlock” (one or all) the locked files. From the left drop-down menu, you may delete, rename, move, or copy the selected item(s).

IOBit Unlocker

The IOBit Unlocker interface is divided into two parts. To unlock a file/folder, you can use the right-click option or drag and drop it. The upper half of the interface displays the file name and status, while the lower half provides process details and file paths.

4 Useful Tools to Delete Locked Files In Windows

Just like the previous tool, here you can also rename, delete, copy, or move the selected item.

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Unlike other programs, FilEXile does not add a context menu option. You must launch the interface to delete files. It lets you toggle between File mode and Folder mode. After that, browse to the file/directory you wish to delete.

It also has a Logging option to let you see the details of what the program does to remove the selected item. The good thing is that it helps you delete files with invalid names or longer paths.


LockHunter adds an explorer menu option to determine file locks. The interface displays locking processes and offers options to close or delete selected ones. A benefit is that deleted files are sent to the recycle bin for potential restoration.

4 Useful Tools to Delete Locked Files In Windows

You can delete or close locking processes on your hard drive to effectively combat malware.


These four tools effectively remove stubborn files and folders. They are a comprehensive collection for getting rid of these types of messages. Know of any other tools? Share them in the comments section.

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