File "used by another person or program"

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Arild, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Arild

    Arild Guest

    When trying to delete a file I have recently viewed, I get the message "It
    is being used by another person or program", and I am unable to delete it.
    It usually happens when I have viewed a file in Windows Media Player. I can
    delete the files if I start up Windows XP in safe mode, and sometimes I can
    delete them in the DOS promt window, but I should not have to do it this
    way. Anyone know why I get this message in the first place, and how I can
    prevent it from appearing ?
    Arild, Jan 25, 2005
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  2. Arild

    Vanguard Guest

    The problem is a lingering defect in the explorer.exe included in
    Windows XP. It won't release a handle to your file. Typically you have
    it showing details of the file so it has to read the file. This happens
    more often with .avi files where Explorer attempts to show you a preview
    picture of the video. Since explorer.exe is used for the desktop GUI,
    you're stuck with it hanging onto the file until you kill that instance
    of explorer.exe, as follows:

    - Close all your applications (to ensure a good close of any files they
    have open).
    - Open Task Manager. Right-click on the taskbar to select Task Manger
    or get to it via Ctrl+Alt+Del. Leave Task Manager open.
    - Kill any and all instances of explorer.exe. The desktop disappears.
    - Optional: Use Task Manager's File -> New Task menu to run "cmd.exe" to
    open a command shell. Navigate to the directory to delete the
    problematic file. Close the command shell.
    - Use Task Manager's File -> New Task menu to run "explorer.exe". The
    desktop reappears.
    - Close Task Manager.
    - Delete the file (if you already didn't do it in the optional step).

    You don't always have to use the optional step to delete the file in a
    command shell but sometimes reloading the desktop GUI (explorer.exe)
    locks the file again so you're stuck with entering commands in the shell
    to delete the file.

    You can use the "oh.exe" (open handle) utility in the Windows 2000
    Resource Kit ( to see what process has a
    handle on a file. SysInternals also has their "handle.exe" program to
    do the same thing.
    Vanguard, Jan 25, 2005
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  3. Arild

    °Mike° Guest

    Explorer will try to create a preview for AVI files,
    and this can cause problems, particularly if the file
    is corrupt.

    Open your registry editor (Start / Run / regedit) to:


    In the right hand window you will see (Default) with
    an alpha-numeric value. Delete it, or zero it.
    °Mike°, Jan 25, 2005
  4. Arild

    Arild Guest

    Thanks, this worked perfect. What a relief not having to go through all that
    extra trouble just to delete a file. Very thankful indeed !!
    Arild, Jan 26, 2005
  5. Arild

    Arild Guest

    Thank you for your advise.

    Arild, Jan 26, 2005
  6. Arild

    °Mike° Guest

    You're welcome.

    °Mike°, Jan 26, 2005
  7. Arild

    EyesBlack Guest

    EyesBlack, Jan 26, 2005
  8. Arild

    Vanguard Guest

    Okay, back to school. Which character, when sorting, comes first: the
    period (".") or "F"? The period comes first (in an ASCII sort). That's
    is why you see "System.<whatever>" *BEFORE* you get to
    "SystemFileAssociations". So just keep scrolling down until you get to
    the registry key that *MIKE* told you to change. Mike did NOT tell you
    to go find a "System.FileAssociations" key. He said to find a
    "SystemFileAssociations" key!
    Vanguard, Jan 26, 2005
  9. Arild

    EyesBlack Guest

    Yeah, indeed. Sorry about that.

    I did all the steps but I still can't delete folders because I get th
    message the program is being used by others
    EyesBlack, Jan 29, 2005
  10. Arild

    samuel Guest

    ianag forum still here...


    part of spam snipped
    samuel, Jan 29, 2005
  11. Arild

    Vanguard Guest

    Once you changed the registry setting, that doesn't get any process to
    release any handles it currently has to open files. You could reboot
    and check if you can perform the delete. Or, do as outlined in my other
    post about how to unload all instances of explorer.exe, delete the file,
    and then reload explorer.exe. If a reboot into normal mode doesn't help
    and the steps I outlined don't work, try booting into Safe mode and try
    Vanguard, Jan 29, 2005
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