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 see how to solve this issue easily:

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

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!

Read this post if you receive Access Denied, Error Deleting File or Folder problem in Windows.

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An Electrical Engineer by profession, Kapil is a Microsoft MVP in Windows Experience expertise 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.