How to Unlock and Delete Stubborn Files or Folders on Windows 11/10?

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How do I delete a file that won’t delete? How do I force a corrupted file to delete? If you are experiencing issues where you cannot delete a file or folder, this gearupwindows article will help you. For example, due to improper shutdown of PC or a virus attack, a few files may get corrupted and can not be deleted. In addition, a program or a service may also be using the file you want to delete, and you do not figure out which program or service is using them. Here, a freeware application may play a handy role.

You can also delete a stubborn file without a third party, but you have to do many tasks. First, reboot your computer in safe mode, and then you can try to delete those files that are unable to delete in normal mode. It is a time-consuming process, and in this busy era, no one has such times. Everyone wants to do his/her job quickly.

A few good tools help in deleting stubborn files that you can not delete through the normal procedures.

IObit Unlocker

IObit Unlocker is a free program and plays a vital role when you face problems in deleting a file. It solves errors like “cannot delete files,” “access is denied,” “The file is in use by another program or user,” or “There has been a sharing violation” problems. This tiny application lets you manage all your files the way you want.

With “Unlock & Delete,” “Unlock & Rename,” “Unlock & Move,” and “Unlock & Copy,” IObit Unlocker allows easier ways to unlock and manage the files and folders to keep them safe and available. Once you find “cannot delete files,” simply drag or drop them to IObit Unlocker. Then you can quickly unlock, rename, copy or move them as you wish. No complex operation is needed.

The program also comes with a “Forced Mode,” which is helpful when the unlocker app will be unable to unlock and delete in normal mode; it will delete those files when you reboot your PC. After installing the application, it also merges itself with right-click context menu that makes deleting files/folders much easier. Simply right-click on the file that you cannot delete or remove, and select the “IObit Unlocker” option from the context menu. The unlocker program will open, select the option “Unlock & Delete” to get your job done.

Download IObit Unlocker

The IObit Unlocker software is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, and 11. You can download the latest version of this tool from its official website.


Unlocker is another free application that exists in the market for a long time. We personally prefer to use this program because of its tiny size and limited options. After installing the tool, it also integrates into right-click context menu that makes the task easy.

Unlocker helps you to delete files even if they are in use, protected, or blocked. If you ever tried to delete a file, but you not able to delete it because of an alert like “The source or destination file may be in use” or “The file is in use by another program or user.” Unlocker is a perfect solution for you. If the file is really protected, it will show a protection window. Select “Unlock All,” and the rest will be done by this tool for you. If the file is not protected, you will be able to delete it at that moment, rename it or move it to another folder.

Once you are unable to delete a file/folder, perform a right-click on that and select Unlocker from the context menu.

Now, the Unlocker app will open. Select the desired action and click the OK button.

Download Unlocker

Unlocker program is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, and 11. You can download this program from here.

Wise Force Deleter

Wise Force Deleter is another nice application that helps you to delete stubborn locked files/folders. When your PC refuses to delete a file, Force Deleter will help you. Files get corrupt due to several reasons like file/folder corrupted or affected with virus/malware, and another process uses the file, etc. When you try to delete a file, it may refuse with the error message such as cannot delete file: Access is denied, there has been a sharing violation, the source or destination file may be in use, the file is in use by another program or user, and make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use.

Wise Force Deleter is an all-in-one solution for all these errors. After installation, it integrates itself in the right-click context menu. That means you can easily delete a file using Wise Force Deleter by right-clicking on the file and selecting the “Force Delete” option.

It is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit versions, including Win 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista & Win XP.


FileAssassin is a free program that helps you delete a file or folder that you cannot delete due to malware or spyware attack on your PC. It helps you terminate the process, unload modules, and close remote handles. It is also beneficial to eliminate suspected malware files from your PC that you can’t. Its easy-to-use user interface allows you to delete any files or folders with a click quickly.

Once you launch this tool, click on three dots (…) on the program to select a file or folder that you want to delete, and then click on the Execute button. This program also supports the drag and drop feature that means drag the file to its text box area that you want to delete and then click the Execute button to complete the deleting. The app will kill all processes which are locking the file/folder, and the selected file or folder is completely removed from your PC.

NoVirusThanks File Governor

NoVirusThanks File Governor is an advanced file removal tool that is available for the Windows operating system. Its user interface is well organized and looks clean. Apart from unlocking and deleting files/folders that are locked by any windows process, it also shows some additional information on the file that you want to delete, like if the program is currently used or not, the source or destination file is in use, etc.

There are separate options for files and folders that you want to delete. This tool helps you unlock files and folders used by other programs that can’t be deleted traditionally. It allows you to delete files that cause the following errors: “The source or destination file may be in use,” “Cannot delete file: Access is denied,” “The file is in use by another program or user.” This application safely closes all the opened handles of the locked objects so you can delete the locked files and folders. Once you download and install it on your PC, it integrates itself to the right-click context menu with the default configuration. So that you can easily unlock a file or folder by right-clicking on them and selecting “Unlock with File Governor.”

File Governor Features

  • Unlock Locked Files: It allows you to safely unlock files that cannot be deleted or are in use by other programs.
  • Unlock Locked Folders: You can safely unlock all files inside a folder so that you can delete the folder with ease.
  • Search Locked Files: Scan files and folders for locked files from the program interface.
  • Terminate Processes: This allows you to terminate processes that are using the locked file or folder.
  • Close Open Handles: This program safely closes all opened handles and unloads loaded DLL modules.
  • One-Click Unlock All: This allows you to unlock all locked objects with a single mouse click.
  • Explorer Context Menu: After installation, it integrates with the File/Windows Explorer context menu, allowing you to scan files and folders easily through right-clicking.
  • Remove Malware: You can use this tool to unlock dangerous malware that locks their files to prevent deletion.
  • Tiny in Size: It is less than 2MB in size.
  • No Spyware\Adware: The program is free from spyware, adware, or other pests; nothing extra is installed.
  • Free to Use: This software is completely free for personal as well as professional uses.
  • Compatibility: It is compatible with all versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10, and 11 (both 32-bit and 64-bit).

Download NoVirusThanks File Governor

You can download NoVirusThanks File Governor’s free utility from its official website.


EMCO UnLock IT is a neat and clean application that helps you to unlock files and folders. This utility allows you to take full control of resources locked by a system, applications, and services. The application detects a list of locking processes for a locked resource and allows you to unlock the resource by closing file and library handles or terminating locking processes. The application also integrates itself to the Windows Explorer, making possible folders and files unlocking with just a single click in the context menu.

Are you struggling with the Windows message that says access to the resource is denied, or it’s in use by another program when you try to modify, rename, move or delete a file or folder? In most cases, this message warns that a file or folder is locked, but it’s not really clear what to do without any assistance. EMCO UnLock IT assist you to unlock such file or folder.

EMCO UnLock IT detects different types of locks that block resource management. If a resource is blocked by running processes and services, the program detects open files and library handles that block the resource and the processes that hold the locks. This program helps you to unlock such processes and lets you delete a locked file or folder. The program first tried to unlock and delete in normal mode; if not possible, it would be deleted on the next boot. If insufficient permissions cause the problem, the program grants the required permissions.

Download EMCO UnLock IT

It is completely free for personal as well as professional use. You can download EMCO UnLock IT from its official webpage.


LockHunter is another foolproof file unlocker that takes place in the article. It is also a completely free-to-use tool and helps you delete files blocked by something you do not know. LockHunter is useful for fighting against malware and other programs that are blocking files without reason. Unlike other similar unlocker tools, it deletes files into the recycle bin, so you may restore them if deleted by mistake.

LockHunter Features

  • It shows processes that are locking a file or folder.
  • It gives you detailed information on the process.
  • Allows to unlock, delete, copy or rename a locked file.
  • Can delete a file at the next OS restart, if not possible in the current session.
  • Allows you to kill the locking process.
  • Allows removing locking processes from the hard drive.
  • Can unload DLLs from processes.
  • Integrates into File Explorer menu to easily delete a file or folder.
  • It deletes files into the recycle bin, so you may restore them if deleted by mistake.
  • .Supports both 32 and 64 bit Windows, including Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, Server 2003, and XP.
  • Completely free for personal and professional use.

Download LockHunter

LockHunter is available to download from its homepage.


WipeFile is a freeware unlocker tool that has limited options. It allows you to unlock and delete a file or folder by just drag and drop. If you are unable to delete a file or folder through a regular method, simply drag them to the text area of the WipeFile application and click on the Wipe button. This software will unlock them and eliminate them from your PC.

Unlike the other unlocker program, WipeFile overwrites the information completely, so there is no way to restore the files or reconstruct the file content later. According to the developer of WipeFile, it supports 14 different wipe methods, e.g., two US Navy standards, the standard of the US Department of Defense, US Air Force, and NATO.

Download WipeFile

You can download WipeFile from here. It is compatible with Windows XP to Windows 11 (both 32-bit and 64-bit).

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