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File is open in another program: Quick Fix

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When using just about any OS, if a file or resource is locked onto some other process, any other processes wanting to use the same resource will have to wait.

However, if you’re trying to access a file and getting an error saying the file you’re trying to access is open in another program but it’s not, here’s how you can fix the problem?

Restart your PC

The first thing you should do in such situations is restarting your PC. Restarting your PC can fix a bunch of seemingly random issues that occur without any explanation whatsoever. 

Also read: Mfc140u.dll not found: 3 fixes

Scan your PC

Another thing you should do is run a complete and in-depth antivirus scan on your machine. Often malware trying to interact with any files on your system can cause this error.

Restart the File Explorer

Restarting the file explorer can free up any resources the program holds and free them up for use. All you have to do is open the task manager, find the exploerer.exe process and restart it using the button in the bottom right. 

Once File Explorer has restarted, try re-accessing the file, and it should open just fine. 

End Process

Another way of freeing up a file or resource is to find them in Task Manager and close the process from there. Once again, all you have to do is open the Task Manager, find the process and end it using the button on the bottom right. 

Try re-accessing the file, and the File is open in another program error should be resolved.

Also read: How to fix System Service Exception in Windows 10?

Check your network

If the file is being accessed on another computer over a LAN or internet, you will not access it locally. To quickly free up any such files, follow these steps.

Step 1: Open the Start menu and search for Computer Management. Click the corresponding search result to open the program.

Step 2: Once open, navigate to Shared Folders > Open Files, right-click in the middle and select Disconnect All Open Files.

You should be able to access your files just fine now. 

Check for corrupt files

Corrupt files are the number one reason why your PC might be behaving weirdly. Here’s how you can get rid of them and potentially resolve your issue. 

Step 1: Press Windows Key + S to bring up the Cortana/Search box and search for Powershell. Open Windows Powershell from the search results.

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Step 2: Type sfc /scannow to scan your system for issues. 

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Step 3: If the SFC scan finds any problem, use the following command to resolve them. 

DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
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Restart your PC, and the File is open in another program error should’ve been resolved. 

Delete temporary files

Deleting temporary files can also help free up any held up resources or files.

Step 1: Type Windows key + R from the keyboard.Step 2: In the Run window, type %temp% and select Ok, or press Enter.Step 3: Now, select all the files (Ctrl + A) and delete the files. Either right-click on the selected files to delete the data and then click on Delete or Shift + Delete.

Also read: Windows 11: 5 Pros and Cons to help you decide if you should upgrade


Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: