How to Find out which Process is Locking a File or Folder on Windows 11 or 10?

Unlocking Files & Folders: Identifying Processes in Windows 11/10 with PowerToys

Navigating the Windows operating system can sometimes present challenges, especially when attempting to modify files or folders. You’ve likely encountered the frustrating “File in Use” dialog box when trying to delete, rename, or copy a file. This prompt often reads: “The action can’t be completed because the file is open in another program.” While it’s helpful when the dialog box identifies the program or process using the file, more often than not, it leaves users puzzled. On Windows 11 or 10, such situations can arise due to various reasons, be it a file being utilized by another process or alterations in permissions due to malware.

In previous discussions, we’ve introduced third-party utilities like Wise Force Deleter, ForceDelete, and FileAssassin that can unlock these pesky processes, allowing for smooth file operations. However, if you’re looking for a direct way to identify which process has a particular file open, we’ve got you covered. In this risewindows guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to discern which process is locking a file or folder on Windows 11 or 10 using PowerToys. With this knowledge, you can promptly end the process and proceed with your desired file operations.

How to Determine Which Process is Locking a File or Folder in Windows 11 or 10?

Follow these steps To quickly find which process is locking a file or folder on Windows 11 or 10:-

Step 1. Firstly, download the latest version of PowerToys and install it on your computer.

Step 2. Now, launch the PowerToys application on your Windows machine.

Step 3. Then, select File Locksmith in the left sidebar, and on the right, ensure the Enable File Locksmith toggle switch is turned On.

Step 4. After that, locate the file or folder locked on your computer. Next, right-click on it and select What’s using this file option? On Windows 11 PC, you need to select “Show more options” to get this option in the classic context menu.

Step 5. Finally, click on the down caret arrow to expand it. Here, it will display the Process ID, Current User, and several locked Files.

If you want to unlock the file or folder, click the End task button.

Once you execute the above steps, you can move/delete the file or folder in Windows 11 or 10.

Download PowerToys

You can download the latest version of PowerToys at GitHub.


Locked files or folders can pose a challenge when working on Windows, but tools like PowerToys provide a simple and efficient way to tackle these roadblocks. The File Locksmith feature within PowerToys is designed to make it easy for users to identify and end processes locking their desired files or folders. With just a few steps, you can gain clarity on which process is causing the hold-up, allowing you to swiftly proceed with your tasks. Utilizing tools like PowerToys not only enhances your Windows experience but also ensures smooth and uninterrupted file operations.


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