How-To Geek

OpenFilesView Displays All Open and Locked Files to Help Resolve In-Use Errors

Windows: You go to move a file and Windows throws up an “In Use” error. OpenFilesView shows you what application or system process is locking up the files you’re trying to move.

Sometimes the culprit is obvious; if you go to move your media folder and you’ve got your media player open watching South Park then shutting down the media player is the obvious solution. Other times the culprit is less obvious; sometimes Windows processes and less-than-obvious applications are accessing your files in ways that aren’t apparent. The screenshot below showcases the “In Use” error:

This is where OpenFilesView comes into play. Fire up the application to see a list of all active files on your system. The master list is a bit overwhelming (on our test system there were over 1200 open files) but you use the find command to drill down to specific file or folder names. Once you’ve found the locked file you can close the file handle, kill the process, or bring the process to the front (so you can examine the program, if possible, before terminating it). It’s much more efficient than rebooting in an attempt to shake the In-Use error.

OpenFilesView is freeware and works on Windows XP through Windows 7.

OpenedFilesView [NirSoft]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/14/11

Comments (5)

  1. Pat

    I love free software that serves a purpose. Another one of my favorites that unlocks files is Unlocker. It’s portable and very similar to what you have featured here. The only exception I can see is that you browse to the file itself to unlock (as opposed to showing every file in use).

    There’s always more than one way to accomplish things :)

  2. CitrusRain

    Thought to myself; I might be able to use this to kill Excel processes that the javascript I’m debugging leaves running in the background, without losing my reference sheet of test values. I’m gonna go ahead and download it even though it’s a work computer that they don’t like usefulness…

    The proxy blocks it… calls it hacking. Man I’m sick of being forced into garbage and windows.

  3. Robert Palmar

    I have found OpenFilesView to be the handiest tool to unlock files and folders.
    In Options you can enable Context Menu integration and go directly to the target.

  4. gilteon

    Yet another useful program from NirSoft. That site is packed with programs I didn’t even realize I needed.

  5. Amol

    I am using UnLocker an open source utility to handle such situations

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