How To Fix “This Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File Is Open”

You’ve probably encountered the “This action cannot be completed because the file is open” error message when attempting to rename, transfer, or delete a file. Computers are built to support a lot of software simultaneously, but sometimes these programs prevent us from manipulating files. Luckily, several methods will resolve this issue and enable you to modify files easily.

How To Fix

Continue reading to learn how to bypass the “This action cannot be completed because the file is open” error.

This Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File Is Open in Windows Explorer

The Windows File Explorer operates in the background of your computer’s system, and it can get in the way of file modifications.

Restarting the File Explorer will make it more efficient so that it doesn’t interfere with your attempts to delete or rename a file. To do so:

  1. Navigate to the “Start” button and right-click.
  2. Select the “Task Manager” option.
  3. Press “Processes,” scroll to the bottom of the list, and tap “Windows Explorer.”
  4. Choose “Restart.”
  5. Wait for about a minute before attempting to manipulate the file again.

Declutter the Recycle Bin

A cluttered recycle bin can also block your Fire Explorer. To clear it out and improve the Explorer’s functioning:

  1. Find the “Recycle Bin” icon on your desktop and right-click.
  2. Choose the “Empty Recycle Bin” option. The program might ask you to confirm the decision.

When you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin, return to your file to see whether this method has resolved the issue.

Stop Background Processes

Another way to optimize the File Explorer is to ensure all background processes have been terminated. To do so:

  1. Simultaneously hold the “Windows” and “R” keys and enter “resmon.exe” into the pop-up field.
  2. This action will launch the Resource Monitor. Find the “CPU” section and open the “Associated Handles” tab.
  3. Type the name of your file or folder, and the Resource Monitor will identify the processes tied to the file.
  4. When the Monitor has finished its analysis, right-click on the identified processes and press “End Process” to terminate them.

After performing the action, you should have no difficulty renaming, moving, deleting, or modifying the file.

Clean Up Your Thumbnails

Thumbnails also hold file data that the Explorer can use to run different processes, stopping you from performing specific file actions. Disabling your thumbnails will stop those processes.

To do so with “Disk Cleanup”:

  1. Select “This PC” in File Explorer.
  2. Right-click on your primary disk and press “Properties.”
  3. Tap “Disk Cleanup.”
  4. Choose the “Thumbnails” option and click the “OK” button.

The thumbnails will be removed, allowing you to change your files without problems.

Deleting thumbnails can be done with the “Command Prompt” as well. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find the “Command Prompt” using the Windows search menu.
  2. Perform a right-click and tap “Run as administrator.”
  3. Check that the main system drive is selected. If that’s not the case, type “C:” and press the “Enter” key.
  4. Type “del /ash /s thumbs.db” into the appropriate field and hit “Enter” once more.

It might take several minutes until your thumbnail libraries are cleared. Once the process is over, try manipulating your file to ensure the problem has been resolved.

Block Thumbnail Creation

If thumbnails have been stopping you from modifying your files, then you might want to stop your PC from generating new thumbnails.

To do so, use File Explorer:

  1. Select “This PC” and press “View” in the upper portion of the program.
  2. Tap “Options” in the pop-down menu.
  3. Click “View,” go to the bottom of the window.
  4. Press “Always show icons, never thumbnails” in the “Files and Folders” tab.
  5. Hit “Apply” and tap the “OK” button to record the changes.

Your PC’s “Performance Options” are another tool for disabling thumbnail creation:

  1. Launch “This PC,” hold the cursor over the empty area beneath your disks and right-click.
  2. Select “Properties” and go to “Advanced system settings.”
  3. Navigate to the “Performance” section in the “Advanced” tab and tap “Settings.”
  4. Remove the checkmark from the “Show thumbnails instead of icons” option.
  5. Press “Apply” and click “OK” for the PC to register the changes.

The “Group Policy Editor” is an additional method to stop the PC from making thumbnails for your files. To use it:

  1. Simultaneously press the “Windows” and “R” keys and enter “gpedit.msc” into the appropriate field.
  2. Tap “OK” or “Enter.”
  3. Find “User Administration” and go into “Administrative Templates.”
  4. Select “Windows Components” and choose “File Explorer.”
  5. Press “File Explorer” to view a list of available options.
  6. Double-tap the “Turn off caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files” option.
  7. Change its setting to “Enabled.”
  8. Click “Apply” and press “OK.” The PC will now implement the changes.

Turn Off Panel Mode

Disabling your PC’s “Panel Mode” can also resolve File Explorer interference. To do so:

  1. Launch “This PC” and tap “View” at the top of the screen.
  2. Click “Preview pane” to turn off “Panel Mode.” If enabled, the option will be colored blue.

Return to your file or folder and check whether this action has enabled file modification.

Enable File Explorer to Read Files as Different Processes

The File Explorer registers all opened files as a single process which can overload the program and result in occasional errors. However, enabling the Explorer to read each file as a separate process will bypass the problem. The steps are as follows:

  1. Select “This PC” and click “View.”
  2. Choose “Options” from the drop-down bar.
  3. Press “View” in the new window and tap “Launch folder windows in a separate process.”
  4. Click “Apply” and hit the “OK” button to turn on the adjustments.

This Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File Is Open in Google Chrome

Your internet browser may also block you from manipulating certain files. If you’re using Google Chrome, there’s a relatively simple fix. To resolve the issue:

  1. Exit Google Chrome and restart your PC.
  2. Open your browser and press the “CTRL” and “Tab” keys simultaneously. The action will check whether the file is still opened.
  3. If the file is open in a new separate window, close it and restart the PC again.
  4. Once the system is up, go through your files to see if there are several copies of the same file. They have numerical markers like (1) or (2) after their name.
  5. If such copies exist, select and delete them.
  6. Restart the PC once more and try to modify the file.

Opening a copy of the file can sometimes prevent you from changing the original. Deleting the duplicate files should allow you to move or delete files smoothly.

As part of the Windows software suite, Microsoft Outlook can get in the way of remaining, moving, or deleting files and emails. To bypass the error:

This Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File Is Open in Microsoft Outlook

  1. Select the Microsoft Outlook file.
  2. Click on the file’s name and choose the “Delete” option. The file will remain open.
  3. When the error message appears, don’t close it.
  4. Close the file window and return to the message box.
  5. Press the “Try Again” button.

This method should allow you to delete an Outlook file or email successfully.

If you’re using an outdated Windows operating system, switching to the latest version will optimize Outlook’s performance. Outlook glitches can be related to OS problems, so an improved version will make all Microsoft programs run more efficiently.

This Action Cannot Be Completed Because the File Is Open in Discord

This error can prevent you from deleting the Discord folder in the local DataApp folder. But powering on the computer in “Safe Mode” will minimize software interference, so you should be able to complete the action without complications. To do so:

  1. Restart the PC.
  2. Hold down the “F8” key before the Windows logo shows up when the PC begins restarting.
  3. If you’re using several operating systems, select the one you wish to run in “Safe Mode” and press “F8.”
  4. In the “Advanced Boot Options” window, pick the “Safe Mode” option you want to work in, then hit “Enter.”
  5. Log in with an administrator account

Remember to switch the PC back to its regular settings once you’ve successfully adjusted your files.

Complete Every Action

“This action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program” message is frustrating and can stop users from fully controlling their files. However, you can solve this problem quickly by relying on one of the methods mentioned in this article.

When did you last encounter this error? Which method helped you get past it? Let us know in the comment section below.

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