Filed Under: How to Repair, Windows

File Cannot Be Deleted Because It Is Open In System


Written by Jack Lin

Affiliate Disclaimer: If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you!
File is Open in System

I see an error message saying, “file cannot be deleted because it is open in system“. Is there a way to get rid of this issue? Thanks in advance.

File is open in system” is a pretty common error message you would receive on Windows systems.

This specific error appears when you try to delete or rename a file or even a folder. It prevents you from opening or deleting a specific file on Windows operating systems.

Do you have a file open in a window and are trying to delete it at the same time? If that’s the case, you cannot make it deleted.

So, if you experience a “file is open in system” issue, the below-mentioned article will help you out.

The File Cannot Be Deleted Because It is Open in System – Fixed

As we all know, modern-day operating systems are exceptionally impressive. They are designed to multitask. However, in some cases, some of these options can fail due to some reason or another. For instance, when you intend to delete a specific file, the operating system itself will prevent it from happening.

In fact, this specific error takes place because of a reason. The respective file or the folder is already open in a different window, so it cannot be deleted. If you notice such an issue and find it difficult to delete it, let’s learn how to do that.

So, if you follow the methods mentioned below, you can delete the same folder or the file easily. Before starting the process, however, you will have to close all the programs that are currently being opened. Also, you will have to perform a system restart so you will be able to delete the file easily.

However, in some cases, the file remains undeletable even if it is not visibly open in another window. That could be an issue related to those file systems. The respective file might be used by another program without your knowledge.

In a way, that is something you should worry about because it can happen due to malware infection too. With that said, any of those issues are fixable. In fact, there are several methods to address this ‘file is open in system‘ issue. We intend to discuss all these methods in this article.

Fix 1: Perform a Complete Scan of the Files on Your PC

Do you want to find a very impressive, convenient way to fix this ‘file is open in system‘ issue? If yes, mentioned below is one of the most professional methods to try and succeed. Performing a complete scan on all the files, programs, and even the registries.

In this case, you may seek the assistance of a professional tool like Advanced SystemCare. This is an excellent optimizer tool designed to make your computer run faster and smoother. It can perform a very effective scan on all the components.

Mentioned below are the steps you should take to fix the issue.

  • First, you should download Advanced SystemCare on the faulty computer.
  • Get it installed properly according to the instructions provided on the screen.
  • After launching the application, you can see an option called “Clean & Optimize“. Under that, you can find another option called “Select All“. In front of that, you will find a check box. Just check that box and click on the button called “Scan“.
Advanced SystemCare
  • Once the scan is completed, you can see the troublesome files as well. In this case, you should repair them. To do that, you should click on the button labeled “Fix“.
Fix File Cannot Be Deleted Because It Is Open In System Using Advanced SystemCare
  • Now the software itself will start the repairing process. It will remove the potentially harmful files. As a result, your computer will perform smoothly.

Fix 2: Perform a Restart in Windows Explorer

There are many reasons linked to the file cannot be deleted because it is open in system error.

But the most common reason is that the file is opened in a different window already. Assume that you have opened the file in Windows Explorer already.

Then, you need to move the same file to a different location on the same PC. Even if you try to cut and paste the file, you cannot do it. It will end up displaying a message with the text “file is open in system”.

So, the most important thing here is to restart Windows Explorer. After that, you can try if the system allows you to rename, move, delete, etc., the specific file.

If you do not know how to restart Windows Explorer, you may follow the steps below.

  • First, you should perform right-click on the Start menu.
  • After that, choose the option called “Task Manager” located in the menu that appeared.
  • When you are in the window labeled “Task Manager“, click on “Processes” to proceed. Then, you should locate the option called “Windows Explorer” as well and choose “Restart“.
Restart Windows Explorer
  • After performing a restart, Windows Explorer will get things freshened up. Then, you can check if the “file is open in system” error appears.

Besides, let’s learn more about how to fix the Recovery: Your PC Needs to Be Repaired Blue Screen Error and the Error Code 0x8007042B during Windows 10 update with ease.

Fix 3: Empty Your Recycle Bin to Fix this Error

Have you moved too many files to your Recycle Bin? If that’s the case, it can lead to a “file cannot be deleted because it is open in system”.

That happens due to a conflict. That is exactly why you cannot complete any actions related to a folder or file found in your system. Winnit.exe is one of those files.

After checking it up, you can proceed to remove unnecessary files that are found in the Recycle Bin. Hopefully, this fix will work for some individuals and help them avoid the “file is open in system” error.

This is a very easy task to perform because it has only two steps. All you need is to right-click on “Recycle Bin” and choose the option called “Empty Recycle Bin“.

Empty Recycle Bin
Empty Recycle Bin to fix File Cannot Be Deleted Because It Is Open In System

Now that the Recycle Bin is completely empty, you will notice that there are no corrupted files in it. So, you can create new files, move files or even delete files without trouble.

So, hopefully, you will not experience the “file cannot be deleted because it is open in system” error anymore.

If you are facing error code 0x80070780, here are the top fixes for you.

Fix 4: Make a Folder Disabled

If none of the above solutions have worked for you so far, you may try this option as well. As per this solution, the respective folder should be opened in a separate window. Perhaps, with this process, you will be able to delete or edit the folder.

If you are not aware of this process, please follow the steps mentioned below.

  • First, you should get the search box opened and enter the text “File Explorer“. Then, hit “Enter“.
  • When you are in “File Explorer“, you should click on the option called “View“. Then, choose the option called “Options“. Select “Change folder and search options“.
Make Folder Disabled
  • After choosing the “View” tab, you see a box with “Launch folder windows in a separate process” text. You should uncheck it.
Make Folder Disabled to fix File Cannot Be Deleted Because It Is Open In System
  • You can hit the option “Apply” and hit “OK“.
  • Now, you should perform a restart on the system.

Well, you have already disabled the function that uses a folder in a different process. This will probably fix the previously mentioned error.

Fix 5: Edit a Specific Group Policy

Using a group policy becomes a pretty solid option to use if you cannot delete or move a file. However, before changing a group policy in your system, it is better to create a backup of the data.

Mentioned Below is How to Do That, Assuming That You Have Already Created a Data Backup.

  • First, hit both the “Windows” and “R” keys simultaneously. That will bring the “Run” utility up.
  • Now, you are supposed to enter the text gpedit.msc in the run box. After that, you will have to choose to click on the button labeled “OK” to proceed. Then, navigate to the option called “Local Group Policy“.
  • In Group Policy, you will see an option called “User Configuration“. Then, go to the option called “Administrative Templates“. After that, you will see an option called “Windows Components“. Then, go to the option called “File Explorer“.
Edit Specific group policy
  • Now, go to the option called “Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbd.db files“. Double-click on it so you can edit it.
Turn-off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbd.db files
  • Now, you can click on the button labeled “Enabled” and hit “OK” to proceed.
Edit Group policy to fix File Cannot Be Deleted Because It Is Open In System

It is true that this option doesn’t let File Explorer create thumbs.db or read/write them. However, this option will fix the “file cannot be deleted because it is open in system” error.

Prevention Measures

To avoid encountering the “File cannot be deleted” error in the future, consider implementing the following preventive measures:

  1. Close files and applications: Always ensure that you close files and applications before attempting to delete them.
  2. Manage background processes: Keep an eye on the background processes running on your system. Close unnecessary applications and services that may lock files.
  3. Check file permissions: Verify that you have the necessary permissions to modify or delete files. Adjust the permissions if required.
  4. Use reliable software: Be cautious when installing software from unknown sources. Use reputable file management tools to prevent issues with file deletion.
  5. Regular system maintenance: Perform regular system maintenance tasks, such as disk cleanup and file system checks, to prevent potential errors and conflicts.


FAQ 1: Why am I unable to delete a file on my computer?

The most common reason for being unable to delete a file is that it is still open in the system or being used by an application. Other factors, such as file locking, insufficient permissions, or system issues, can also contribute to this error.

FAQ 2: Is there any risk in using Command Prompt to delete a file?

Using the Command Prompt or Terminal to delete a file carries some risks, especially if you’re not familiar with the commands. It’s important to double-check the file path and exercise caution when executing commands to avoid accidentally deleting critical files.

FAQ 3: What should I do if I cannot unlock a file?

If you’re unable to unlock a file using specialized software or methods, you can try restarting your computer. This will release any locked files and allow you to delete them.

FAQ 4: How can I prevent the “File Cannot Be Deleted” error in the future?

To prevent the “File cannot be deleted” error, make sure to close files and applications before deleting them, manage background processes, check file permissions, use reliable software, and perform regular system maintenance tasks.

FAQ 5: Are there any third-party software options to help with file deletion?

Yes, there are several reputable third-party file management tools available that can help with file deletion. These tools often come with advanced features like forceful unlocking of locked files, making the deletion process easier and more efficient.


So, that’s how to fix the “file cannot be deleted because it is open in system” error. If you have more questions related to this matter, please let us know, so we will answer them gladly.


DoctorSIM Review

DoctorSIM Review: Unlocking the Potential of Your Smartphone

In this doctorSIM review, smartphone users will know whether they should employ doctorSIM for unlocking their mobile devices. Today, we ...
Discord Screen Share

Discord Screen Share – Let’s Do It

Did you know that Discord also allows you to share the screen? If not, keep reading because this article explains ...
snapchat hack no human verification

How to Do Snapchat Hack with No Human Verification

Snapchat is among the top social media apps and has millions daily users. This app allows users to send photos ...
Your Mastodon Instance