Locked Files? The Solution – Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension


The error message says – “error deleting file or folder, cannot delete folder it is being used by another person or program”.

You say – “expletive deleted”.

We’ve all had that problem attempting to delete a file that simply refused to be deleted. The reality is, these types of messages are not as uncommon as you might expect, and can be caused by any number of issues, including (let’s hope not), a malware infection.


Fortunately, there’s Unlocker – a free Windows Explorer extension (now in version 1.9) which gives you the means to handle those “expletive deleted” locked file messages – with a simple right-click on a file, or folder.

As you can see in the following screen capture, after installation – you’ll have a new command in Windows Explorer’s “right click” context menu. Click on the graphic to expand.


In the following screen shot, you’ll see that I’ve selected the Recycle Bin, and you’ll also see that this folder has a small “lock” icon beside it. The lock icon is Unlocker’s way of letting you know that this folder is locked.


Right clicking on the file (Recycle Bin) brings up a “locked” list which, as you can see in this screen capture, incorporates a series of operators you can employ on the files/s.


Fast facts: Unlocker will handle the following.

Cannot delete file: Access is denied
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.
The file is in use by another program or user.
Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

System Requirements: Windows 2000,  XP,  2003, Vista, Win 7 (64 bit available).

Languages: Multiple language support.

Download at: developer’s site (emptyloop.com/unlocker/)

As with all application installations, pay particular attention to the additional features which may have automatically being selected.


Note: Caution is the keyword here. Working with critical system files may cause system errors, or failure. If you are not familiar with these issues, seek help from an advanced user.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.



Filed under 64 Bit Software, downloads, Freeware, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

5 responses to “Locked Files? The Solution – Unlocker Windows Explorer Extension

  1. Darryl Gittins

    Unlocker looks good, but strangely, I’ve never been able to get it to work on my W7 x64 system. Instead, I use Nirsoft’s “OpenedFilesView” which is also very good.

    • Hey Darryl,

      I hear ya! Sometimes I wonder, if it might not be better if developers put a sort of a heads up “Not guaranteed to work on EVERY machine” sorta thing.

      As you know well – system configs can screw up the best laid plans. 🙂



  2. There will be much fewer coins in swear jar next year. Thanks!

  3. Darryl Gittins

    Update!! I uninstalled Unlocker by using Revo Uninstaller, and then installed the updated new 64-bit version of Unlocker and now it works like a champ!

    Thanks Bill!