The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process

Written by James McDonald

May 28, 2010

Annoying problem “The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process” trying to delete a directory.

Didn’t want to reboot because I was running a VMWare VM at the time and well real operating systems don’t make you reboot every time something untoward happens.

Tried filemon from sysinternals.com and couldn’t see any activity in the directory I was trying to delete.

so couldn’t figure out how to find which process was holding a lock on the directory I was trying to delete

Ended up Opening task manager and killing explorer.exe and then restarting by clicking File ==> New Task ==> explorer.exe {ENTER}.

Directory then deleted fine.

OS: Windows XP Professional SP3

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