What is “The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program” error

The action cannot be completed because the tệp tin is open in another program is a message reflected in the “File in Use” window when trying lớn delete, rename, or move specific files and folders. The error appears because the manipulated file or folder is currently used by some application or background process. In most cases, it is enough to lớn find và terminate the process that uses the file or simply restart your PC. However, there are situations when none of the above helps you get rid of the problem. The issue may keep reiterating itself even after rebooting the system. Unfortunately, the featured message offers no real solution on how to avoid this problem. Intuitively, users should stop the related process and try khổng lồ delete or move sầu their files afterward. Sometimes there are simply no related processes visible, which means users are unable to shave sầu them. Luckily, there are potential prospects lớn address this issue and restore full control of the file. Follow this bundle of methods below that will help you remove sầu the issue potentially.

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Download Windows Repair Tool

Download Windows Repair Tool


There are special repair utilities for Windows, that can solve sầu problems related lớn registry corruption, tệp tin system malfunction, Windows drivers instability. We recommover you to use Advanced System Repair lớn fix the “The action cannot be completed because the tệp tin is open in another program” error in Windows 10.

1. Restart Windows File Explorer

File Explorer is an in-built background process responsible for searching, inspecting, and changing files stored on your PC. We suspect there could be a problem in how it operates, which results in a disability to run manipulations with files. Therefore, let’s try to lớn restart it via Task Manager. The steps are short and bởi not require a lot of time to lớn implement them. Here is how:

Right-cliông chồng on Start button và choose Task Manager.In the Processes tab, scroll down the các mục until you find Windows Explorer.Right-click on it and select Restart.Then wait a couple of seconds & try lớn modify the problematic tệp tin again.

Even if you solve sầu the issue using these steps, it is still likely that a similar error will appear again in the future. This is why you should treat this only as a temporary solution.

2.Empty Recycle bin

It is hard lớn believe, but clearing your recycle bin may actually resolve sầu the problem. Some users reported it was the case. Simply find your Recycle Bin on desktop, right-clichồng on it và choose Empty Recycle Bin. Confirm the action if promoted & see the error message resolved. Despite its effectiveness, it is only a temporary solution that should be performed each time you stumble inlớn the same problem again. Test other solutions below to rectify the problem once and for all.

3. Find & terminate the Associated process

As we already know, “The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program” message indicates there is some file-related process still running, which denies attempts to delete or effect changes with files. Instead of using traditional Task Manager, we are going to lớn access Resource Monitor which is more advanced và provides better tools to detect và lift the stuông chồng process. Follow these steps below to lớn bởi vì it:

Press Windows Key + R buttons, type restháng.exe inkhổng lồ the field, and clichồng OK or Enter to open it up.After Resource Monitor is opened, go khổng lồ CPU tab và expand Associated Handles at the bottom.Search for the name of a problematic files or folder và wait until Resource Monitor finds all processes related to lớn it.Then, right-click on the found processes and select End Process to lớn shut it.After doing these steps, deleting or changing a tệp tin should no longer be met by the error.

4. Clean up thumbnails

Thumbnails are cached copies of files stored by Windows khổng lồ provide faster access to lớn files. In other words, Windows does not have khổng lồ wait for icons of images, videos, or documents to load as they have sầu already been memorized by your system. As research shows, these thumbnails may cause some problems with the tệp tin system & lead khổng lồ editing issues. Thumbnails are created automatically by mặc định, but you can disable this feature using instructions further in our guide. For now, let’s delete thumbnails. There are two ways to lớn vì chưng it:

using Disk Cleanup

Open This PC.Right-cliông chồng on your main disk và choose Properties.Find & cliông chồng on Disk Cleanup.Aý muốn the các mục of checkboxes, select Thumbnails và clichồng OK to lớn remove them.After this, you should be able khổng lồ see the problem resolved.

using Command Prompt

Search for Comm& Prompt in the searching box next lớn the Start Menu button. Right-cliông xã on it và choose Run as administartorMake sure you have your main system drive sầu selected. If not, enter its letter (“C:”) manually và push Enter.Then, copy-paste del /ash /s thumbs.db & press Enter again.Wait until the process deletes thumbnail databases, cđại bại the window, and kiểm tra if the problem with files persists.

5. Disable Thumbnails

If deleting thumbnails helped & you want to stop their generation completely, then there is an option lớn bởi it. You should try it even if none of the previous methods helped, just khổng lồ chạy thử all the existing solutions. There is a plethora of ways lớn switch off the creation of thumbnails. Here are the most popular:

using File Explorer Settings

Open This PC & clichồng View on the very top of the window.From the drop-down menu find and choose Options.In the opened window, go to View, scroll down a bit và select Always show icons, never thumbnails under Files & Folders.Clichồng Apply and OK to lớn save sầu the changes.

using Performance Options

mở cửa This PC and right-cliông xã on empty space under your disks.Choose Properties and navigate lớn Advanced system settings.Under Performance, clichồng Settings.From the appeared danh mục of options, find & unkiểm tra option named Show thumbnails instead of icons.Cliông xã ApplyOK to save sầu the changes.

using Registry Editor

Press Windows Key + R buttons and type regedit into lớn the field.mở cửa it up & confirm UAC window.Then, open this path HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer/Advanced on the left pane.After reaching Advanced folder, you will see the menu of entries on the right pane.We need to lớn find IconsOnly và double-click on it.Change its value khổng lồ 1 and cliông xã OK lớn disable thumbnails. If you want to lớn enable them back, simply type 0 instead of 1.

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using Group Policy Editor

Press Windows Key + R buttons lượt thích above sầu, type gpedit.msc into lớn the field & clichồng OK or Enter khổng lồ open it up.On the left pane, navigate lớn User Configuration > Administrative sầu Templates > Windows Components > File Explorer.After clicking on File Explorer, you will be able khổng lồ see the menu of different entries.Find và double-cliông chồng on Turn off caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files.Set its value khổng lồ Enabled. Cliông xã Apply & OK to save changes.

All 4 methods pursue the same goal – lớn disable the generation of thumbnails and prsự kiện them from causing modification problems. Choose either of them và follow each step carefully. Especially you should be attentive sầu when changing values in Registry and Group Policy Editors. Changing other settings other than what we listed may lead to lớn problems with other segments, so make sure you follow each step strictly as written.

6. Disable PReview Panel

Based on data we gathered from forums, some users managed to resolve “The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program” message by turning Pnhận xét mode off. This is a useful, yet sometimes conflicting option offered by Windows to lớn view the nội dung of certain files prior to accessing them. It is easy khổng lồ vì chưng and will not affect system performance in any way. On the contrary, disabling this feature may help boost system performance a bit on slaông chồng PCs because Windows will not have to lớn process và pReview the inside content.

As we already did, open This PC & clichồng View on the very top of the window.Cliông chồng onlớn PĐánh Giá pane to lớn disable or enable it. The enabled option will be highithed with xanh in the background, so make sure it is disabled.After this kiểm tra whether you have the same issue with modifying a tệp tin.

7. Change File Explorer to launch windows in separate processes

As a rule, File Explorer launches and maintains all opened windows in a single process. Therefore, it may be hard lớn keep the stable performance of opened windows when resources are not distributed. We recommkết thúc you try lớn alter File Explorer khổng lồ open windows in a separate process. This should alleviate the pressure and win some room for better stability. Here is how you can vì chưng this:

mở cửa This PC and clichồng View on the very top of the window.From the drop-down thực đơn find and choose Options.In the opened window, go to View, và check the Launch thư mục windows in a separate process option.Then cliông chồng Apply & OK khổng lồ finish.

8. Optimize your drive

Another quichồng method lớn solve the issue is khổng lồ optimize your drive performance. You can bởi this by clicking on a single button inside of drive properties. This is how:

xuất hiện This PC và right-cliông xã on the drive sầu where the problematic file or thư mục is located.Choose Properties and navigate to the Tools tab.At the bottom, clichồng Optimize & follow the on-screen instructions to lớn finish the process.

9. Optimize Folders

If you struggle khổng lồ delete or change a folder with a specific type of files lượt thích music, images, documents, videos, or others, then the solution could be khổng lồ optimize a problematic thư mục by choosing the right category of files. You can vị it the following way:

xuất hiện a folder with problematic files và right-cliông chồng on empty space.Choose Poroperties và go khổng lồ Customize tab.Under Optimize this folder for:, choose the type of files stored in a thư mục.You should also select the Also apply this template to all subfolders option.After doing so, cliông xã Apply & OK khổng lồ save sầu the changes.

10. Delete or edit problematic files in Clean Bootup

Clean bootup is a Windows feature helping users boot their PC only with in-built apps & services. This helps you find out whether some secondary ứng dụng or process causes the problem. By accessing this mode, you should be able to change your files without trouble. To launch your system in Clean bootup mode, follow these steps below:

Press Windows key + R combination và paste msconfig.Then in the opened window go lớn the Services tab located on top.Cheông xã the box next to Hide All Microsoft Services và click on the Disable all button.Now choose the General tab và select the Selective startup option. Make sure that the box is checked only next lớn the Load System Services.Cliông xã ApplyOK. Then reboot your PC.

Now you can try lớn edit your files whilst being in Clean Boot mode. No matter whether you managed or failed to resolve sầu the issue, it is important lớn turn Windows back to lớn Normal Startup settings. To bởi this, simply revì all the steps you implemented above sầu by enabling the disabled services và changing your startup option from Selective lớn Normal.

11. Install fresh .NET Framework updates

.NET Framework plays a significant role in building & sustaining applications. In some cases, people may laông xã it or have sầu a malfunction of some sort. Thereby, it is worth reinstalling the entire Framework package by downloading the up-to-date client from the official Microsoft website. Download the lademo version from the danh mục.


Although being unable khổng lồ delete or move sầu your files may not seem to be a major problem, it is enough lớn cause disturbance & inconvenience whilst using your PC. We hope you are no longer forced to encounter “The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program” message. Even if you vì in the future, you are now more aware of what steps lớn use in order to solve sầu it. You can find a number of other PC-troubleshooting articles on our trang web if there is something else downgrading your usage.