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Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File is Open in System? Fix it Now!

In this article you will find out:

  • how to deal with this issue
  • how to protect your data

Are you ready? Let's read!

About this Issue

The computer may malfunction over time, causing you to see errors of various kinds on the monitor screen. Some of them are completely harmless and can be fixed by a simple reboot of the system, some of them are quite serious. This article will discuss the error "the action could not be completed because the file is open in another program." You will receive ready-made solutions to this problem right now.

The Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File is Open in System fix


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After the data is safe, you can safely solve the problem “the action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program.”

1. Clean Up the Disk

The first, fairly simple error correction option is Disk Cleanup. This can be done using the Disk Cleanup application: Disk Cleanup

Press Windows Key + S, type and select the result of Disk Cleanup.

Next, select the system drive (usually C :) and click OK.

The scanning will take some time - dependingon the size of your partition. As a result, you will see a list of options. Select Thumbnails and click OK. After that, the problem should be resolved unconditionally. If it isn’t, try deleting the Windows.old directory. To do this, you need to run Disk Cleanup and select Previous Windows Installations. After deleting the directory, restart your computer.

In addition, you can use dedicated system optimization tools to approach this issue on a larger scale.

2. Make Sure All Files are Irretrievably Deleted

If the error message “the action cannot be completed because the file is open in the system” still bothers you, you can try emptying the trash. This is the simplest action, according to users, that might solve your problem.

So, find the trash can on your desktop, right-click it and select Empty Trash.

To stop the Recycle Bin from overflowing, use the Shift + Delete keyboard shortcut to delete a file or folder.

3. Refresh Explorer's Process

  • Restart Windows Explorer (this is a temporary solution).

So, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc, open Task Manager, select Windows Explorer and click Restart.

Another option to restart Explorer:

Open Task Manager, on the Details tab, find and select explorer.exe and click the End Task button. Then open the File tab and select Run New Task.

  • Try to end the Windows Explorer process. Then use the command line to delete the file.

Once you complete the explorer process, go to File and select the Run New Task button.

Next, enter cmd and select the Create this task with administrator rights checkbox and click OK.

Find the problematic file or directory and delete / edit it using the command line.

Then, at the command prompt, type explorer.exe and start Windows Explorer again.

Some users deleted the problematic file in another way.You need to run the command line with administrator rights and use the command:

DEL / F / S / Q /AC:UsersUserNameDesktopFile.txt, press Enter.

  • Try using the Process Explorer or Handle tool if you're an advanced user.

With the Process Explorer tool, you can easily find the problematic file and close it. To do this, open the Find tab, then select Find a Descriptor or DLL and enter the name of the problem file or directory. Once the file is found, you can easily close it.

Handle is more complex than Process Explorer.

First you need to download this tool, then in the command line type Handle64.exe> output.txt and press Enter.

Open the output.txt file just created, then in a new window find the problem file and write down the hexadecimal number next to it. Then return to the command line and enter the command:

handle.exe -c your_file_id -p your_process_id

and press Enter.

4. Work with Group Policy

Try changing Group Policy if the message “action cannot be completed because the file is open in the system” still bothers you.

It's relatively easy to do:

Press Windows Key + R and type gpedit.msc, now press Enter.

In the local group policy editor, go to User Configuration, then click on Administrative Templates. Next, open Windows Components and select File Explorer. Now select the Disable thumbnail caching in hidden files thumbs.db option. and click on the Enabled button.

Save all changes by clicking on Apply and OK.

5. Change View Preferences

  • If you are using the preview pane, turn it off. To do this, open File Explorer by pressing Windows Key + E and disable the Preview Pane with Alt + P.
  • Try disabling thumbnails - this is a temporary solution, but you can use it until you find a permanent solution. So, press Windows Key + S and enter File Options, select the appropriate result. In the View tab, select the Always Show Icons, Not Thumbnails checkbox and click Apply and OK.
  • Try changing the folder view as follows: Open File Explorer, go to the View tab and select Small Icons, Details, or List from the menu.

6. Work with Registry

You can make some registry changes to get rid of the “this action can't be completed because the file is open in system” problem.

Keep in mind that these steps can be dangerous for your system if you are a novice PC user.

So, press Windows Key + R and type the word regedit and press Enter.

In the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERS SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced in the left pane, then find IconsOnly DWORD in the right pane and double click it. In the Properties window, in the Value field, enter 1 to display icons and 0 to display thumbnails, save your changes.

With Registry Editor you can also disable thumbnails: go to the left pane to the HKEY_CURRENT_USERSOFTWAREM MicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer key, find and double DWORD DisableThumbnails in the right pane. In the new window, set the Value to 0 and then click OK.

Next, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREM MicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer in the left pane, find DWORD DisableThumbnails and set it to 0.

There is another way to solve the problem using the registry editor: in the left pane, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoft Windows key and right-click Windows select Key. Enter Explorer - this will be the name of the new key.

Navigate to the new section of File Explorer, right-click an empty space in the right pane and select New. Next click on DWORD Value (32-bit), enter DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders as the name of the new DWORD. Then double-click the DWORD DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders, set the properties to 1 and click OK. Then exit the registry and restart your computer.

7. Get Rid of the TEMP

Delete folders, this usually helps to get rid of the error "Unable to complete the action because the file is open in another program error message." So, press Windows Key + R and type% temp%, press Enter.

Delete all files from the opened folder.

You can also remove temporary files from temporary folders using CCleaner.

8. Change System Settings

  • You can change the settings of the folder window so that they open as separate processes.

In the options, Explorer, go to the View tab, select the Launch Folder windows in a separate process check box, and save your changes.

  • You can turn off the homegroup on your PC.

This function is needed to exchange files between computers on the network. Disabling it may solve your problem. To do this, press Windows Key + S and select the Homegroup section. Next, click the LeaveHomegroup button, click the Finish button.

Next, you need to disable HomeGroup services :Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc; press Enter or OK.

In the next window service, find your homegroup provider and double-click it. In the Window Properties Go to Startup Type and set it to Disabled; save your changes.

Next, you need to make a few changes to the registry: as soon as you open the registry editor, in the left pane, go to Computer / HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SOFTWARE / Classes / CLSID {B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93}, then create a new DWORD in the right pane and enter System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree as the name. Now open the key you just created and set it to 0, save your changes.

  • You can turn off Windows search.

Open the Indexing Options window and click the Edit button.

Next, just turn off location indexing, save your changes.

Next, disable the Windows Search service:open the Services window as described above, find Windows Search in the list and double-click it. For the Startup type parameter, set the value to Disabled, then click the Stop button and save the changes.

  • You can use the Optimize for option for your folders.

So, open the directory where the problem folders are stored, right click on an empty space inside the folder and select Properties from the menu. Go to the Customize tab and select Optimize This Folder For and then click Also Apply This Template to All Subfolders and save the changes.

  • You can turn off inheritance for the problematic file.

Note: if you have a problem with system files, it is better not to use this method.

So, open the problematic file with the right mouse button and select Properties from the menu. Next, go to the Security tab, then select Advanced and finally click the Disable Inheritance button.

Now click on Remove All Inherited Permissions From This Object and select Enable Inheritance. Then click Add -> Select Principal -> Enter your username and click Check Names. If everything is in order, check the Full Control box and click OK. Now you can delete non-system files and folders without any problems.

  • Go to safe mode and use the command line to edit your files.

So, press the Power button, hold down the Shift key and click Restart from the menu. In the boot window, select Troubleshoot, go to Advanced Options, then click on Startup Options and finally select the Restart button. After the system restarts, select Enable Safe Mode with Command Prompt from the menu. Next, use the command line to navigate to the file and modify it. Sometimes, you don't even need to open Command Prompt, as Safe Mode allows you to find the problematic file and modify it.

  • Use a clean boot.

To do this, do the following: Press Windows Key + R and enter msconfig, in the window system configuration go to the Services tab. Select the Hide all Microsoft services check box and click the Disable all button.

On the tab Startup, click Open Task Manager, select the first task in the list and click Disable. Now repeat these steps for all tasks in the list, save your changes and restart your computer.

  • Delete the Thumbs.db file. (the file is responsible for storing the cache of thumbnails).

To do this, open Command Prompt (Admin), type del / ash / s thumbs.db and press Enter.

This will allow you to remove all thumbs.db files from your partition.

If you want to completely get rid of the error that occurred, you will most likely have to remove thumbs.db from all partitions on your computer.

  • Rename the file or directory using the command line.

Open a command prompt as administrator in any way convenient for you and change to the required directory. Type: rename problem_file.txt new name.txt and press Enter to rename the file. Exit the command prompt and restart your computer to check if the error “the action can't be completed” appears.

10. Work with Security

  • Change certain security settings.

The problematic folder may not have specific security permissions. Here's how to fix it:

Find a working system folder that does not have this problem and open its Properties. On the Security tab, examine the list of available groups and users. Now open the properties of the problem folder and compare the list of available groups with the previous folder. If any groups are missing, you need to add them manually: click the Edit button, then the Add button - enter the desired group name in the Enter Object Names field and click OK. Give this group Full Control in the Allow column and save the changes.

  • Change the security permissions for the dllhost.exe folder.

To do this, open the Task Manager, go to the Details tab and locate the dllhost.exe file. Right-click it and choose Properties from the menu.

On the tab Security, click the Modify button, select Administrators from the list and check the Full Control box, save your changes.

11. Unmount the Drives

Unmount all drives from the Magic ISO if the problem is with this particular application. So, open the Magic ISO and go to the Tools tab. Next, open Virtual CD / DVD ROM and select Unmount all drives. Save your changes and check if the problem is resolved.

12. Update OS

Install the latest version of Windows.

Usually, Windows 10 will automatically download updates, but sometimes you might miss an important update. Therefore, check for updates manually:

Press Windows Key + I, in the Settings app, go to the Update & Security section and click the Check for Updates button. If Windows finds the latest updates, it downloads them in the background when you restart your computer.

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