Q: In Windows 7 getting error "the action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program"

I have had this problem with Windows Vista Professional, was advised it would be fixed in Windows 7, have now installed windows 7 and problem still exists.



Hey Everyone, 

We understand this issue is intermittent, I am going to re-post some successful answers in this thread and group them together. This way users having this issue will not have to dig in this thread to find them:

 Solution provided by "HowLuckyCanOneGuyBe"

 #1 – remove temp files

Start > Type in %temp% > hit enter > Delete all the files in this folder. up to this point it should already work if not try empty your trash bin too. if it is still not work move on to #2.

#2 – stop windows from caching the thumbnails
Click the Start button, click Run, then type in gpedit.msc 
Choose: user config/admin templates/windows components/windows explorer >
look for “turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files” >
right click/ edit /choose enable

#1 should already help if not #2 will do.

Another solution provided by "alanomaly"

        1) If you use Outlook and the folder contains any files that came from emails, close Outlook - it might be getting in the way trying to keep a link with the attachment

2) Empty the recycle bin

3) Disable folder thumbnails (see if you're not sure how)

4) If nothing else works, install and use Unlocker ( )

       Another solution provided by "Macintrasher"

      Open up Task Manager (ctrl+alt+del) and click on the Processes tab.  Look for 'explorer.exe', select it and end the process.  This will cause your taskbar and desktop to vanish.  Bring up Task Manager again, then click File > New Task (run).  Type explorer.exe and hit enter to restart the service.  It hasn't been a permanent fix, as the files get relocked after a short time, but it'll let you delete/rename/over-write them for a little bit.

      Because this issue is intermittent and because of the age of this thread, to avoid confusion, I am going to ask anyone who has attempted the above steps without success to create a new thread, that way the community can help them out specifically. I posted a link below, I hope this helps everyone. 

         Microsoft Answers Performance New Thread Link

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Hi michaelanthonysacco,

Welcome to Microsoft Windows 7 Answers Forum!

We would like to know more information related to this issue

·         What is the action you are trying to perform?

·         What is the extension of the file you are trying to work with?

·         Which version of operating system have you installed on your computer?


      Method 1:

      End the process from task manager and check if that helps, steps to follow

i.                       Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete buttons together and select Task manager

ii.                     End all the process running in the background

iii.                   And then try to sign in


  Method 2:

 Delete all the files under temp folder, steps to follow

i.                       Click on start

ii.                     Type in ‘%temp%’ in the search box

iii.                   Delete all the files in this folder


      Method 3:

      Remove the Temporary internet files and folders, follow the steps listed in the below link:

      How to Delete the Contents of the Temporary Internet Files Folder:


Method 4:

    Boot the computer in clean boot and try to open the program. To help troubleshoot error   messages and other issues, you can start Windows Vista by using a minimal set of drivers and startup programs. This kind of startup is known as a "clean boot." A clean boot helps eliminate software conflicts.

Steps to perform clean boot and check if you have the issue.


i.              Click Start, type msconfig in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

       If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.


ii.             On the General tab, click Selective Startup.

iii.           Under Selective Startup, click to clear the Load Startup Items check box.

iv.            Click the Services tab, click to select the Hide All Microsoft Services check box, and       then click Disable All.

v.              Click OK.

vi.           When you are prompted, click Restart.

vii.          After the computer starts, check whether the problem is resolved.


If the issue is resolved check which third party is causing the problem, referring the link given below:  


Reset the computer to start as usual

After you have finished troubleshooting, follow these steps to reset the computer to start as usual:

i.              Click Start, type msconfig.exe in the Start Search box, and then press ENTER.

ii.            If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.

iii.          On the General tab, click the Normal Startup option, and then click OK.

iv.           When you are prompted to restart the computer, click Restart.



All the best!


Thanks and Regards:

Samhrutha G S - Microsoft Support.

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Question Info

Views: 702,542 Last updated: June 22, 2018 Applies to: