Cannot delete file: Access is denied

Posted April 12, 2006 by Hack_Vista in Windows

How many times have you seen this error? If I want to delete a file, I WANT TO DELETE THE FILE! At least windows should tell you, who is locking the file, right? Here are some helpful hints to get you around this common windows problem.


You’ve seen these errors. So painful.

Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.
Cannot delete file: Access is denied.
The file is in use by another program or user.
There has been a sharing violation.
The source or destination file may be in use.

First I would suggest trying to find out why the file is locked. If it is spyware or a critical process, you may want to know that such a problem exists. WhoLockMe will allow you to right-click any file and see what program is locking the file. A more powerful version of this is actually unlocker than will allow you to kill the processes that are locking file file and delete them automatically.

If you want to try to avoid installing more software, you can try these helpful hints in the prior recipe:
Access Denied — How to Delete Protected or Spyware Files. By using these techniques, many times you’ll be able to close the locking program and continue with your day without downloading additional software.

How to delete locked files is one of the most requested problems at my PC shop. Maybe, this will keep me off the phone!

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.