When using Windows 10, you may try to delete a file or move it to another location, but you encounter an error stating that “the operation cannot be completed because the file is already open in another program”, even if you did not open the file in any program Archive program. There are many reasons for this error. Here are some fixes that can help resolve this issue.
Is the File Open on Another Computer?
If your computer is connected to the local network, be it at home or in the office, then the file you want to close may be opened elsewhere on the network (or even accidentally!).
If you suspect that the file can be opened on another computer on the network, you don’t have to experience the embarrassment of asking questions at the office or playing games with other computers.
Instead, click Start, search for “Computer Management” and open it.
In the new window, click the drop-down arrow next to “System Tools,” the drop-down arrow next to “Shared Folder,” and then click “Open File.”
This will display all open shared files on your network. You can either right-click on the file and close it or click a blank area and “disconnect all open files.”
Locate the File in Task Manager
Use the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.
Look for the file under the “Processes” tab, which shows all the applications currently in use, whether you know it or not.
Select the file and click the “End Task” option near the bottom of the manager window to prevent the program from using the file.
Go back to the file and try to delete it again. If it still doesn’t work, continue to the next step.
Restart File Explorer through Task Manager
Once again, open Task Manager and go to the Processes tab.
Scroll all the way down until you find the Windows Explorer process. Right-click it, then click “End Task.”
Go to File at the top of the Manager window and select “Run New Task.”
In the new window that opens, type “explorer.exe” and hit Enter.
This process will restart Windows Explorer to fix any problems with memory or cache files that may be causing problems.
Go to the file again and try to delete it. If it still doesn’t work, please continue to the next step.
Turn Off the Caching of Thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db Files
Microsoft has admitted in the past that file and folder related thumbnail caches can cause the “files open in another program” error, so handling thumbnail caches can help resolve this error.
1. Press Win + R.
gpedit.msc, then hit Enter.
3. In the new window that pops up, go to “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer.”
4. Go to the right pane and double-click on the “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files.”
5. Select the button next to Enabled and then Apply, followed by OK.
All thumbnails in the file explorer will now be disabled, allowing you to perform the desired operations on the file. You can then re-enable the thumbnails by following the steps above and change the policy back to “Not configured”.
Delete Temporary Files
Every time a file is modified in any way, the temporary file will be stored on your computer. These temporary files can prevent you from moving or deleting related files. Here’s how to delete temporary files from computer storage.
1. Press Win + R.
%temp% into the input bar and press Enter.
3. In the new folder that opens containing all the temporary files stored in your File Explorer, press Ctrl + A to select all the files and delete them together.
4. There may still be temporary files stored in another location. Again, press Win + R, type
temp and press Enter.
5. Once again, select all the temporary files in the folder that opens and delete them all.
Check the Folder for Viruses
Finally, if none of the above methods work, the problem may be more serious. There may be a file-related virus preventing you from making changes. Run the file through your antivirus software to locate any viruses or malware that it may contain.
If this is the case, use antivirus software to quarantine the file and delete it before it infects other files.
Related: How to Remotely Turn a PC On and Off