Can't delete a Word file in Windows Explorer, says its open in MS Word

I have a regular MS Word file (Word 2003) that I can't delete or move when I am in Windows Explorer.  Every time I try to move or delete the file, I get an error message, saying the file can't be moved or deleted because it is open in MS Word.  However, MS Word is NOT open, nor is the file open in MS Word.

How can I delete this file?

P.S.  The author of the file is known to me and other files from this author (or ANY other Word, Excel, pdf, etc. files) can all be deleted or moved - no problem


Hi Holger-TLS,

If you close the program, but the file still won't delete, restart your computer. You can view all programs that are currently running on your computer in Task Manager.

Try this:

1. Press Ctrl+Alt+Del

2. Select Task Manager

3. Check if word.exe is running in the processes

4. If it is running, end it.
For more information refer the below link:

Azeez Nadeem - Microsoft Support

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Question Info

Last updated November 20, 2020 Views 57,166 Applies to: