Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


How to Stop Windows Explorer from locking Files

  1. #1


    Posts : 3
    WIN 8.1 Enterprise

    How to Stop Windows Explorer from locking Files


    I am running Win 8.1 Enterprise, recently repair refreshed. When I am cleaning up my desktop and internal files, I frequently (+80% of the time) cannot move a file or folder from one directory to another without getting and error message saying that it cannot be moved because it is open in another program.

    Click image for larger version

    Of that 80% of the time, 99% is because Windows Explorer is using it. Seems like, of course it is being accessed by Windows explorer since I am using that utility of Windows to move the file. Duh!?! But this happens even with files\folders that have not been accessed for months. It is so frequent that I just go ahead and check and unblock every file\folder I want to move with a program called 'Lock Hunter' before I try to move the file(s).

    Click image for larger version

    This is the same for renaming files\folders and any directory type action. This seems crazy. I would think Win Explorer is there to help us move things around instead of preventing it all the time. I don't recall Win 7 ever doing this. It all seems to have started with Windows 8.

    Does anyone have any idea how to stop Windows from doing this?

    Thanks in advance,
    RD Wirr

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 328
    Windows 8.1 (x64)


    Your problem might come from Explorer building thumbnails. This process can be rather slow, depending on the file type. When moving folders, explorer will also try to access the thumbnails cache of this folder, so you might be better off clearing it (or manually deleting the hidden Thumbs.db beforehand).
    Check this and see if it solves your problem :
    Thumbnail Previews - Enable or Disable - Windows 7 Help Forums
    Thumbnail Cache - Clear and Reset - Windows 7 Help Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 1,720
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Looks like a music file.
    Could it be running in a player? Or, syncing to a cloud application of some sort? Or, tied to a file sharing application? Is it in the process of being backup?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 3
    WIN 8.1 Enterprise


    You might be onto something Oneeyed. I just tried this and the folder was not movable for the usual reason. So I tried moving the actual files inside to another folder and no problem but the thumbs.db was open and preventing the folder from being moved. I couldn't delete the thumbs.db file straight away because, as you suggested, it was open in Win Explorer. This folder and the thumbs.db file inside have not been accessed in months so "slow" may have a new definition. Basically though, the result is still the same. I have to unlock the thumbs.db file before I can move the folder. Can you tell me how I can get the system to hurry up and be done with the thumbs.db file or suppress the thumbs altogether?

    Thanks,
    RDW
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 3
    WIN 8.1 Enterprise


    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin View Post
    Looks like a music file.
    Could it be running in a player? Or, syncing to a cloud application of some sort? Or, tied to a file sharing application? Is it in the process of being backup?
    Hi Edwin,
    In the test case it was a music file but it also happens with other types. The thing is, I always have to unlock it using Lock Hunter and it almost always indicates that the locking program is Windows Explorer.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

How to Stop Windows Explorer from locking Files
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