The action can’t be completed because the file is open in another program

If you open the Windows Task Manager and go to the Performance tab, you can observe operations and activities the computer is carrying out. Sometimes Windows has a lot of tasks to complete, and hence it may not reflect the exact progress of a specific operation. For example, you may keep seeing following error even if the file opened in some program was closed:

File In Use. The action can’t be completed because the file is open in another program

The action can't be completed because the file is open in another program

You may receive this error in terms of the folder as well. You might find this quite annoying because you have to restart Windows or File Explorer to suppress this warning. And sometimes even restarting Explorer doesn’t help and you might have to reboot the machine.

In this article, we’ll suggest ways you can solve this issue:

File in Use, The action can’t be completed because the file is open in another program

1] Restart Computer and try

Restart your Windows computer and try to carry out the desired operation on the file.

2] Perform a Clean Boot

Boot your computer in Clean Boot State and then try to manually troubleshoot the issue. You will have to find the offending process manually. Clean-boot troubleshooting is designed to isolate a performance problem.

3] Launch folder in a new window

1. Whenever you face this issue, just press the Windows Key + E combination on the keyboard. This will launch File Explorer, in the ribbon, click View tab. Then click Options -> Change folder and search options.

The-action-cant-be-completed-1

2. Moving on, in the Folder Options windows so opened, scroll down and found the Launch folder windows in a separate process option under Advanced settings. Since you’re facing this issue, you would find this option enabled, hence disable it.

The-action-cant-be-completed-2

Click Apply followed by OK. You can now close all the instances of File Explorer via Task Manager or reboot the machine if the setting is not applied immediately.

If the above method doesn’t help you, try removing the Preview Pane and see if that helps. Thanks to our reader BBBBB for this.

That’s it!

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An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP and a Microsoft Content Creator. Please read the entire post & the comments first & create a system restore point before making any changes to your system.