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Cannot delete <file>: It is being used by another person or program.  (caused by explorer.exe)

Posted on 2004-10-24
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Last Modified: 2011-08-18
I am getting the following error when I try and delete certain files in the "My Documents" folder:

“Error Deleting File or Folder
Cannot delete <file>: It is being used by another person or program.
Close any programs that might be using the file and try again.”

I followed the advice listed in this thread posted here:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_20973218.html

The "accepted solution" allows me to delete the file, but it does not solve the overall problem.  The sysinternals tool "process explorer" tells me the process locking the file is always "explorer.exe".  Why is explorer.exe keeping these locks?

There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason as to which files it decides to hold the lock on, but it happens so frequently that it begs to be fixed.  Most of the time rebooting the system will cause the lock to disappear, but sometimes even multiple reboots do not solve the problem, and I follow the “accepted solution” in the thread I mentioned above.  I have tried disabling every startup item from the msconfig tool, but this does not solve the problem either.

My system stats:
Microsoft Windows XP Professional version 2002 Service Pack 2
AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2600+
1.92 GHz, 512 MB of RAM

The worse part about this problem is it is intermittent, so I have no idea how to track it down and diagnose it, or how someone could assist in tracking down and diagnosing the problem…
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Question by:kennethburgener
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    Hello kennethburgener =)

    Run Disk Cleanup, Chkdsk /f /r and Defrag on ur hard drive in safemode !!
    check if any improvement ??
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    Also im sure it happens in safmeode also.... coz in safemode explorer is running,,, right ?? :)
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    and one more question,,,,(plzz dont mind)

    U said while deleting files from My Documets
    is it only happens with My Documents folder or will all other ffolders ??

    coz if its only My Documents folder, then may be there is some problem with ur user profile, do this, from Control Panel>User Accounts create a new user(administrative rights) and restart, login with the new user, and now try to delete some files from its My Documents folder..... same problem ??
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    by:PaulADavis
    because you've stated that it happens somewhat often...it leads me to believe that something is not quite right with the OS. was there a point in time when it never happened?

    In either case, consider doing a repair installation...that will reinstall system files while leaving your porgrams and files intact. great way to get rid of SP2 if you were thinking about doing that.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/tips/doug92.mspx
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    by:PaulADavis
    good luck kennethburgener.... with guys like sheharyaarsaahill on the case i'm sure you'll have it fixed in no time :-)
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    by:sunray_2003
    Hi kennethburgener,
    > I am getting the following error when I try and delete certain files
    > in the "My Documents" folder:

    Did you see a pattern in the files that you cannot delete or any random file is not being able to be deleted ?

    If there is a pattern then check the applications that use those files. Reinstalling those applications will be a worthy suggestion to execute.

    If you create a file and not able to delete it , check the ownership of those

    HOW TO: Take Ownership of a File or Folder in Windows XP
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308421&sd=tech

    HOW TO: Set, View, Change, or Remove File and Folder Permissions in Windows XP
    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;308418

    Try to create a new user and check if the problem ever occurs in that..  

    SR..
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    Paul.... do u really think so ;-)
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    by:kennethburgener
    In reference to: "U said while deleting files from My Documets is it only happens with My Documents folder or will all other ffolders ??"

    I have had this problem happen in all sorts of places, but this problem happens most in the "My Documents" folder, as this is where most of my active files are.
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    ok plzz try the suggestions of disk clean etc etc
    and then post back the results from the new user test ?? :)
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    by:PaulADavis
    of course i think so :-) your record shows that you're a bad mamajama... you and sunray...lol
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    by:sunray_2003
    PaulADavis,

    Thanks for the praising.. It is good to hear that..
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    >> you're a bad mamajama

    lolzzzz..... that's a cool name indeed..... "mamajama" :D
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    by:kennethburgener
    In reference to: "Did you see a pattern in the files that you cannot delete or any random file is not being able to be deleted ?"

    There has been no pattern to which I can tell.  Some examples are:

    -A downloaded a game patch.  I think called "Desert_seige.exe" in the "My Documents" folder.

    -A folder called "rchecks" on my D: drive.

    One pattern does seem to be recently downloaded files have a higher chance of being one of the files that is "undeleteable".  And all my new files are downloaded to the "My Documents" folder.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In reference to: "Run Disk Cleanup, Chkdsk /f /r and Defrag on ur hard drive in safemode !!
    check if any improvement ??"

    <rant>
    Booting to safemode was a very slow process.  Safemode just isn't what it used to be.  In Windows 95/98 it took seconds to boot into safe mode, fix any problems, and you were done.  I don't know why safemode in 2000/XP takes 3 to 4 times longer then a regular boot.  Anyway, sorry that is offtopic.
    </rant>

    I ran the check disk tool, and it returned no errors.

    I am going follow the next suggestion and delete my profile, and then recreate it.  I was really hoping to hear that there were other people with similar problems.  If it is simply an isolated issue with my system, then a clean install maybe my best option.


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    by:sunray_2003
    kennethburgener,
    > I am going follow the next suggestion and delete my profile, and then
    > recreate it.

    Create a new user and check first..

    then if that works , copy your profile to a new one ..

    http://www.winbookcorp.com/_technote/WBTA09000815.htm
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    >> I am going follow the next suggestion and delete my profile, and then recreate it

    nopes u dont need to delete ur one,,,,, just create a new one and check there for the problem :)
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    >> I ran the check disk tool, and it returned no errors.

    did u run Defrag also ?? :)
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    by:bmhydro420
    you should be able to run the recovery console and remove the files from the dos prompt it provides.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In reference to: "you should be able to run the recovery console and remove the files from the dos prompt it provides."

    My problem is not the ability to delete files.  The link to the thread in my original post points to the article that describes how to delete the files works great.  My problem is that it keeps happening.  And I was hoping it was a more common problem, but I cannot find any articles on Microsofts Knowledgebase that describes this problem, only what to do if a file does get locked.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In reference to: "did u run Defrag also ?? :)"

    I have tried running defrag, but it tells me I have 5% free and defrag really should be run with 15% free.  This seems silly to me as 5% of 80GB is 4GB, which should be enough to run anything, but I will take the advice and free up 10GB, and then I will run defrag.
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    yeah sure.... and what are the new user account results :)
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    by:Qlemo
    ERxplorer tends to hold files open if either:
    * they're very big - just to read version info, pics or alternative file streams of a file
    * it is  one of  "Recent Docs"
    * you've an Explorer Window open showing the corresponding folder in Thumbnail  or detail view
    and so on

    I often saw explorer complaining about  not being able to delete a file just because it is reading the file info at the moment you selected this file ...

    At Defraf: 4GB is enough for defrag in most cases. You might use contig (www.sysinternals.com) to perform a single file defrag, especially on big files, or the free O&O Defragger.
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    by:kennethburgener
    I have now run defrag, and have created a new user profile, which I will use.  Now the problem is seeing if the problem will happen again.  As I originally mentioned, the problem is intermittent.  I will watch over the next week to see if this solution will fix the problem.
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    ok no problem,,,,, u test it and post back if it comes again :)
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    by:kennethburgener
    Will do.  I am going to test it for a week, and hopefully all goes well.  Thank you very much for your help.  (I should then divy out the points, eh?)
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    sure :)
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    by:mluckham
    I have had this problem for months (XP Pro SP1 and SP2) - noticed it first when using a USB key to save files, and I could never "STOP" the device to safely remove it.

    Looking at the Process Explorer today, explorer.exe has a whole bunch of open file handles, and for multiple user profiles (there are two active right now).

    If I'm not wrong, they all seem to be folders. Looking at the Properties for the folders in question, the Read Only flag is in that halfway state (between checked and unchecked).  Opening the folder, I can delete individual files in it - but not other folders.
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    by:mluckham
    Clearing the Read Only flag seemed to work, but I still could not delete the folder ... and the Read Only state observed previously came back!
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    by:mluckham
    Some of the folders held open by Explorer are repeated many times ... many handles to the same folder.

    Also, I logged out one user and some of the open handles went away - but not all.  In particular, explorer.exe is holding open handles for ALL users on the machine (even the ones logged out, but have logged in at one time or other since the machine was last booted).  These handles include:

    C:\Documents and Settings\<user>
    C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\My Documents

    Hmmm ... I wonder if this can be related to the "Fast User Switching" option.  I will try.
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    by:mluckham
    it does seem to be not related to Fast User Switching.  I logged off all users (which of course terminated all the explorer.exe processes and released the open folder handles) and tried several tests - creating and deleting folders on the Desktop(s) while switching between users, and deleting the folders later - all deleted okay.  The behaviour of the Read Only Flag observed before was the same ... you can clear the flag, but it comes back.
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    by:Qlemo
    Halfway state on folder attribute doesn't mean anything. It's only saying "I don't know, I didn't have a look on this"
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    by:bmhydro420
    To guarentee it is not teh drive you should get a copy of ghost or any hard driev cloning software and copy the drive to another drive and then see if same problems exist.  If it cannot finish a clone then perhaps there are unrecoverable sectors or even clusters
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "If I'm not wrong, they all seem to be folders."

    Yes, 90% of the time it is folders that I am unable to delete.
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    kennet...... means the problem has started with the new user also ??
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    by:kennethburgener
    Update to the problem.  Last night I downloaded some digital pictures from my digital camera into a folder named "Halloween" in the "My Documents" folder.  This morning I went to rename the folder and I get the error:

    "Error Renaming File or Folder
    Cannot rename Halloween: It is being used by another person or program.
    Close any programs that might be using the file and try again."

    Guess which process has a lock on it... explorer.exe.

    Looks like the problem has not been fixed.

    I tried a different approach to testing this problem.  I figured I did not need to wait for the error to arise, I could simply look at the explorer.exe process to see which folders it has a handle on, and test out renaming/deleting those folders.  The first folder I found that explorer.exe had a handle on I was able to rename with no problems.  As I renamed it process expolorer simply flashed and showed that explorer.exe no longer had a handle on it.  The second folder I hunted down gave me the error above (Error Renaming File or Folder).  Both of these folders are located on my D: drive which is just a data drive where I store all my files.  There are no system files there, and therefore the system should not have a lock on those folders.  They are folders that I have accessed though, but these locks should have vanished yesterday, not stayed till today.




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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: " kennet...... means the problem has started with the new user also ??".

    Yes.  This was using the new user I created called "Test".  I have given the test user "Administrative" privilages, so it should not be a problem of privilages.

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    by:PaulADavis
    kennethburgener did you try the repair installation yet?

    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/helpandsupport/learnmore/tips/doug92.mspx
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    by:bmhydro420
    I never noticed your earlier post about not being able to stop a usb cd key maybe you are having as problem with write behind caching and your drives onboard cache.  The usb drive issue should be fixable by going into its properties and disabling write behind caching if possible mine wiont let me stop it either if its on its reported in tis documentation.  You may also want to try doing the same on the hard drive under its properties in device manager.  I think you should also try running a chkdsk and a defrag and if that doesnt work try doing a hard drive test.
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    by:SheharyaarSaahil
    >> Both of these folders are located on my D: drive which is just a data drive where I store all my files.

    Seems Explorer has problems with this drive only.... but u have not connected this drive recently.... u are using it from quite a long time..... right ??
    Then how come this problem just started one day... :-?
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "I never noticed your earlier post about not being able to stop a usb cd key maybe you are having as problem with write behind caching and your drives onboard cache."

    This was another posters comment.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "Seems Explorer has problems with this drive only.... but u have not connected this drive recently.... u are using it from quite a long time..... right ??"

    No, the D: drive is where I store my files long term.  The "My Documents" folder is located on the C: drive.

    I have several computers all running XP.  I am going to go around to each and run the process explorer to see if I can hunt down another example of this problem on another system.  Just to make sure it is an isolated problem.  If it ends up being isolated to my main system only, then I will move forward with the reinstall for that system.



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    by:bmhydro420
    A reload may not be necessary try a repair load.  Also you should run a manufacturers drive diagnostic to rule out a bad drive.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "Also you should run a manufacturers drive diagnostic to rule out a bad drive."

    Two bad drives?  The files with in the folders have no problem.  It just seems to be a lock on the folder only.

    Although there has been an occasion or two where it was a specific file that had a lock and not a folder, but it doesn't seem to be specific to any drive.

    Is the "Repair load" that you are refering to the same as the "in place upgrade"?  Will it wipe out Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2?  In the past this has lead the system instability, and usually ends with me having to do a clean install anyway...
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    by:bmhydro420
    I work as a technichian and I have about an 85 % succes rate with in place upgrades and most of the other 15 % are simple problems to solve.  And yes you will have to reinstall any service packs that were not slipsteramed into your original windows cd.  If the drives are both on teh same ide cable also try switching the cable or moving each drive to its own channel
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    by:mluckham
    My comment about the USB key still holds.  And, the USB drive is set with write-behind caching off (it is set to ... permit USB key to be removed without "stopping" it).
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "85 % succes rate with in place upgrades"

    If you think that it would be worth the try, I would be willing to try an "in place upgrade" to see if that solves the problem.  I will need to get my files arranged so I don't lose data.  If I remember right, the "in place upgrade" wipes out the "My Documents" folders.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to my comment of: " I am going to go around to each and run the process explorer to see if I can hunt down another example of this problem on another system."

    I looked at my 4 other systems, and none of them had any regular files locked.  These systems usually are not reset, so if there were to be one of these random file lockings, it should still be listed.  I am thinking this is an isolated problem with my system.
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    by:PaulADavis
    while it's always a good idea to back up your documents before you perform a repair installation, it's not absolutely neccesary. A repair installation reinstalls system files only, all personal documents and programs will be untouched; it does not replace the my documents folder. So....yes, it will remove sp1 and sp2 provided that these sp's are not integrated with the installation CD.
     But...it's still a good idea to back up you documents before you perform the operation.

    I only recommend trying this procedure because there is a good chance that this will fix the problem while saving you the headache of trying different procedures with no success. The drawback is that it might not fix the problem and you will have to reinstall all patches and sp's...

    but worth a try first unless you are specifically interested in finding a specific fix for this problem.
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    by:RJSherin
    A handy tool for deleting such locked files is the freeware program MoveOnBoot v1.95 (Igor Artemov, Gibin Software House) currently downloadable from http://www.softpedia.com/public/cat/13/4/13-4-17.shtml.  The installation .exe file is 610,232 bytes long.

    This neat and easy-to-use program adds an item to the context menu which allows one to queue any number of such locked files for deletion upon next boot.

    No, this does not answer your question as to how to diagnose the cause of your intermittent file lock.
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    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "but worth a try first unless you are specifically interested in finding a specific fix for this problem."

    I am interested in finding a specific fix for this problem, but if it is an isolated case to just my machine, then it may not be worth the effort.
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    by:bmhydro420
    You may want to back stuff up anyways but the only folder affected by an inplace upgrad is the windows directory and its subdirectories.  Good luck!
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    by:JMarchesoni
    I have this problem too!  I was just looking for a solution and came across the previous post where you, kennethburgener, originally asked about it, and kept reading!  I am running WXPPro currently, but I have had the problem on W2K Advanced Server, W98, and WME!  I like to think of myself as pretty advanced in using Windows, but this is one problem that has always had me stumped.  Just wanted you to know that its not just you, and maybe find the solution as well!
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    by:kennethburgener
    Well the more I have watched my systems, the more I see the same problem on all of them.  It just seems to be that I notice it the most on my main system, because that is the system I use most.
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    by:mluckham
    It doesn't seem the type of problem that will be fixed by reinstalling XP or service packs, or a bad drive ;)
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    by:mluckham
    I suspect the problem begins when writing to the CD.  At least, many of the folders from which files "Send To" the CD now have multiple handles when viewed with Process Explorer.  None of these folders can be deleted (the "being used by another person or program" error).   Deleting a file INSIDE one of these folders and then undeleting the file results in an ADDITIONAL locked handle for the FOLDER.

    Here's more.  I have a test folder on the desktop with files inside.  I did a "Send To" of the folder to the CD, then tried deleting the original folder - no problem, and no locked handles.  I restored the folder, then opened it and deleted a file inside.  I undeleted the file and went up a level to try to delete the original folder ... no dice!  Got the "being used by..." error!

    Wondering if it really has anything to with "Send To", I created a new folder on the desktop and a file inside it.  Tried deleting the folder (ok) and restored it, then deleted the file inside (ok) and restored it.  Back up a level to try to delete the new folder - now I can't!  No "Send To" involved this time either.

    Theory:  using the CD Writer or "Send To" causes the problem to begin with.  Once it has started, every time you do certain operations on files inside a folder cause that FOLDER to be subsequently locked.  

    The problem seems to be restricted to explorer.exe, because all of the multiple locked handles are associated with it ... not with any child process of explorer.exe.  Right-clicking on the file for Properties on each of the handles, it says there is 1 Reference to the handle --- explorer.exe simply isn't letting go!

    I am going to logout to clear the locked handles, and try this again.  Also wondering if IE is involved (I am using Mozilla browser most of the time, and I had purposefully used IE to download some files used in the testing ... specifically, I uninstalled and reinstalled Acrobat 6.
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    by:mluckham
    It's not the CD Writing - I did a fresh boot with no files pending to be written to the CD.  Then repeated the test before ... deleting a file inside a folder, close the folder window, then trying to delete the folder ... it was locked, with a leftover handle.

    I tried turning off the Indexing Service for the folder and nested folders - made no difference.

    The ACCESS column for the folder handle (in Process Explorer) shows 0x00100001
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    by:kennethburgener
    For me, it seems that I get my locks most often when I download files from my camera to a folder.  That folder then gets the folder locks.  That is the most common cause, but it not the only example of when it happens to me.

    Currently I have two folders "camera" and "elias" which had pictures (downloaded from my digital camera) in them at one time, but the folder has since been emptied, but explorer.exe still has locks on these two folders.

    I will refrain from rebooting so that if someone has an idea they would like me to test, I will have two good examples of these perpetual folder locks.
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    by:kennethburgener
    Here are the stats for this example folder:

    Folder: C:\Documents and Settings\kburgener\My Documents\Camera
    Location: C:\Documents and Settings\kburgener\My Documents
    Size: 0 bytes
    Size on disk: 0 bytes
    Contains: 0 Files, 0 Folders
    Created: Sunday, November 07, 2004, 2:10:10 PM
    Attributes: Read-only checked
    Security: My user has Full Control

    Process Explorer Information
    ---------------------------------

    Process info:
    Process: explorer.exe
    PID: 964

    Handle info:
    Type: File
    Name: C:\Documents and Settings\kburgener\My Documents\Camera
    Handle: 0xA0C
    Access: 0x00100001


    Hopefully this is helpful information.
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    by:mluckham
    The problem is easily reproduced, on my system (XP Pro SP2) - I will recap the steps here:

    - Chkdsk the system drive, to fix any file system errors
    - Fresh boot
    - Login a user (mine is designated as Computer Administrator)
    - Create (or navigate to) any folder - on desktop or C:\Temp ... it doesn't matter as long as it's a folder that can be deleted as part of the test.
    - Open the folder
    - Create a file
    - Delete the file
    - Go back up a level, and try to delete the folder
    - cannot ... "Error Deleting File or Folder" -- "Cannot delete <foldername>:  It is being used by another person or program.  Close any programs that might be using the file and try again."
    - fire up Process Explorer, select explorer.exe, and look at the file handles.  <foldername> is there ... explorer.exe itself is keeping the file open!  Access bits are 0x00100001.  Security tab:  "Unable to display security information."

    If you repeat tests, the additional folders involved get their handles locked as well.  You might see a number of handles for the same folder.  Clearly, something is "broken" here!

    Microsoft article 320081 entitled "You cannot delete a file or a folder on an NTFS file system volume" may be relevant.
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    by:kennethburgener
    Wow.  Your situation is worse then mine.  I tried that and it didn't do it consistently, but that does seem to cause it occasionally.  Thinking about the pictures I download from my camera, I download them to a folder in "My Documents" and then I move them to their permanent location on my D: drive.  But this causes the same basic example you describe.  "Create folder, place pictures in, move them/delete them, try and delete the created folder."
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    In reference to "Microsoft article 320081 entitled", yes that article describes the problem exactly when it says "Cause 2: The file is being used", but that doesn't explain why explorer.exe is using an empty folder indefinitely.
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    by:mluckham
    indeed
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    by:gmulhern
    The people suggesting you check file ownership/permissions have no grasp of the problem (not to mention questionable Windows knowledge). This is *not* an ownership/permissions problem. This is a file lock problem. Permissions problems produce an entirely different error message.

    I finally decided to install to SP2 tonight and within minutes of my "all finished" reboot I started having this problem. I had three .EXE files downloaded to a subdirectory within my "My Documents" folder and all three REFUSED to delete from Explorer. Any attempt to do so resulted in this "file in use" error. A quick check with OH.EXE shows Explorer.exe holding the lock on the file. A second attempt to delete (from Explorer) results in a second open handle on the file (for Explorer.exe). And a third attempt = third open handle. I can close the Explorer process and delete from a command session but, as kenneth stated so well, this is a BANDAID for a problem in Windows produced by SP2. This never happened (to me) prior to SP2. And it is *not* "something not quite right with the OS" or a "bad drive". Those are ridiculous suggestions.

    So far this problem has been limited to only those three files. The only connection I can come up with is I downloaded those files after SP2 finished installing but before I performed a shutdown/restart. I was doing some searching for a modBIOS for a ST6-RAID motherboard in one of my older systems (something with a Highpoint BIOS newer than the 2.0.1024 offered in Abit's 9P release) and I had downloaded a few files before letting the machine restart to apply SP2. After the restart it was ALL of the .EXE files I had downloaded, during that period, that would NOT delete. I tested the .ZIPs (also downloaded during that time) and they deleted okay. I tested other (pre-existing) .EXE files in the same directory and they deleted okay. I even downloaded a new .EXE file (post-restart) and it deleted okay. The problem hasn't resurfaced, so I'm going on hope that it was just an oddity with those .EXEs I downloaded during that short window of time. But if it becomes a frequent problem I may just break out the SP2-slipstream CD and redo this system from scratch. I have other SP2 systems I've built (using SP2-slipstreamed install) that have not exhibited this problem.

    I know this doesn't really help the issue (kenneth) because your issue is re-occuring and not limited to a few files you downloaded during SP2 installation, but the crud (comments) accumulating on this thread was unbearable. I wanted to throw in that I firmly believe it is SP2. It may not affect everyone but it *is* SP2. Kenneth, you said it may have happened (albeit much less frequently) prior to SP2. I believe this was probably your encounter with an occassional legitimate lock on a file and not any real problem (like that produced by SP2) in an earlier version. Certain actions and applications will produce a lock/open handle on a file or directory which will result in this "in use" message. And Explorer can even open a file handle (and make deleting impossible) on certain multimedia files and Office documents if Web View is enabled (in Windows 2000).
    0
     
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    by:PaulADavis
    gmulhern you piss me off... let me just say that from the get go... WTF!!!! you join the thread by insulting other people's attempt to help a problem... WTF!?!?

    If you think that there is another solution then just post that A-- !

    And after such a wonderfull start, your suggestion as to what the problem is:
    "The problem hasn't resurfaced, so I'm going on hope that it was just an oddity with those .EXEs"
    If you want to talk about unbearable comments, let's take a look at that one first.

    yet still... your proposed solution for your problem is :
    "But if it becomes a frequent problem I may just break out the SP2-slipstream CD and redo this system from scratch"
    if you noticed my first comment, i suggested a repair installation as a solution, which would rid him of SP2... kenneth already reasoned that it would not solve the problem.

    I have no problem with you making suggestions of your own, but i do have a problem with you insulting other people's attempts to help!!! One of the things that makes EE great is that you can get many ideas from many people....the asker is free to choose what solutions to try or dismiss...that's NOT YOUR ROLE WHEN POSTING A COMMENT!!!!

    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:gmulhern
    There's nothing wrong with a "repair installation" if you want to roll the system back to pre-SP2. I just don't consider that a fix. He probably applied SP2 for a reason. That's different than a SP2-slipstreamed install anyway. My point is this seems to be a problem occurring with SP2 updates, not systems using SP2 from the get-go.

    I'm sorry if this pisses you off, you obviously have a far too personal attachment to this thread (or internet message boards in general). What makes this great is "experts" not 50 people flinging darts at a problem to see which one sticks.

    Really now, would anyone receive "in use" messages if it were a permissions problem or failing HD? And, for "something not quite right with the OS", thank you captain obvious, it's called SP2.

    I have determined (in my case anyway) it is limited to non-PE executables and it is not just those first few EXEs downloaded. I can reproduce it anytime now. Nor is it tied to the download location. But since this is so divergent with kenneth's problem, and I'm not providing any help either, I don't see a reason to stick around. Good luck kenneth but I still point the finger at SP2, maybe Microsoft will finally address this at some point.

    I have found another person experiencing the exact same problem as mine, but they also have no solution...

    http://www.alegsa.com.ar/Visitas/index18/Unable%20to%20delete%20exe%20files%20even%20my%20own.php
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    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    by:PaulADavis
    my problem is with gmulhern's comments that attack other people's comments...unless someone posts info that could/can cause damage, there is no need to address someone else's comments negatively.... all you need to do is post a suggested solution.

    ok, we can go by the "experts" criteria...well in that case, gmulhern shouldn't have posted anything at all.

    I would like to see a solution found, and it could even be gmulhern's suggestions....even if he has the right answer, there is still no need to dismiss other people's ideas.

    maybe just one of my pet peeves....but i think justified.

    "THE END"
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    Expert Comment

    by:JMarchesoni
    I know for a fact that my problem, and kenneth's as far as I can tell, is not specific to SP2, because I have had it happen on my XP, 2K Advanced Server, AND 98SE installations, on many different computers.  I still cannot figure out why Windows Explorer.exe feels the need to hang on to processes after you have finished working with them and closed out all windows working with them, but it is very frustrating.
    Perhaps the problem is within the RAM of the computer.  I just thought of this, but what if the reason Explorer.exe still has a handle on the folder or file is because it was put into RAM and just ended up stuck there, buried under other processes?  Windows has always had problems with memory leaks and whatnot, maybe this is linked to that issue?  Does anyone know of any good utilities to view the contents of RAM?
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    I know this is not going to help, but I thought I'd just add this.

    I have been having this problem for YEARS (in fact I posted this exact question about 1 yr ago, and got no solution).   It occured with Windows 2K Pro, and now with Win XP Pro.  There are folders I cant delete because explorer.exe has left an open handle.  If I close explorer.exe, or dismount the drive and remount (effectly closing all open handles on the drive) then I can delete.  As  kennethburgener  has already said, the posted suggestions are simply a bandaid solution.

    I would really love to see a fix for this, and to be honest, I am surprised that more people have not run into this yet.

    I know that was entirely not helpful, but I guess I just wanted to re-inforce that the problem is not a permissions one (as has been suggested to me ad naseum) or a faulty drive or anything else.  Its explorer.exe.
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    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    Using the FILEMON program from systeminternals.com, I have captured the Windows file events related to my version of this issue.  I would post it here, but am not sure of the etiquette - it is quite long (282K) and in an Excel file.  Can I post an attachment?  Or have someone contact me directly for a copy?

    From what I can tell, it is the act of COPYING (right-click and Copy is sufficient) that prevents the containing folder from being deleted.  Clearing the clipboard (using clipbrd.exe) does not help.
    0
     
    LVL 67

    Expert Comment

    by:Qlemo
    This seems to be straightforward, explorer has to remember the file until you paste it somewhere. Since than a link to the file (handle) is held in memory (not using clipboard). Clearing the clipboard will not help for that reason.
    0
     
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    It isn't the copying, it is the right-click pop-up menu!  

    Using Process Explorer I see an *extra handle for the containing folder* being created, when right-clicking a file in the folder.  No need to select anything in the popup.  Right-clicking multiple times to repeatedly bring up the popup creates another handle for the containing folder each time!  

    After doing only this - trying to delete the containing folder gives us our friendly error message.

    For further proof, I copied and pasted a file in a new folder without using the right-click (selecting with mouse drag, and copy/paste with the File menu).  No extra file handles were created, and I could delete the containing folder without problem.  
    Which explains why XP is functioning at all :)

    So what is it about the right-click popup menu?

    Since it is small, here is the Filemon trace (.CSV) for a right-click event. I added a column to count the file-opens, and you can see that the original C:\Temp open is never closed.

    <<<<
    "right-click on a file, which results in an extra handle being created for the containing folder",,,,,,,
    and locks the folder forever (until explorer.exe is restarted),,,,,,,

    ,,,,Open Count,,,
    1,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    2,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    3,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    4,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    5,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    6,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    7,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    8,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    9,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    10,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    11,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    12,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    13,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    14,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    15,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    16,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    17,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    18,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    19,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    20,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    21,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    22,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    23,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    24,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    25,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    26,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    27,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    28,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    29,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    30,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    31,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,Options: Open Directory  Access: All
    32,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,DIRECTORY,1,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,FileBothDirectoryInformation: Filemon_NewFolder.LOG
    33,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    34,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    35,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    36,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,2,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,Options: Open Directory  Access: All
    37,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,DIRECTORY,2,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,FileBothDirectoryInformation: Filemon_NewFolder.LOG
    38,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,1,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,
    39,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,2,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,Options: Open Directory  Access: All
    40,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,DIRECTORY,2,C:\Temp\,NO SUCH FILE,FileBothDirectoryInformation: C$$Temp$FILEMO~1$LOG.cv
    41,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,1,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,
    42,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    43,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    44,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    45,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    46,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    47,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    48,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,2,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,Options: Open Directory  Access: All
    49,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,DIRECTORY,2,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,FileBothDirectoryInformation: Filemon_NewFolder.LOG
    50,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,1,C:\Temp\,SUCCESS,
    51,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,OPEN,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    52,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,QUERY INFORMATION,1,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,Attributes: A
    53,11:31:51 AM,explorer.exe:2076,CLOSE,0,C:\Temp\Filemon_NewFolder.LOG,SUCCESS,
    54,11:31:51 AM,procexp.exe:2644,OPEN,2,C:\Temp,SUCCESS,Options: Open  Access: All
    55,11:31:51 AM,procexp.exe:2644,QUERY INFORMATION,2,C:\Temp,SUCCESS,Attributes: D
    56,11:31:51 AM,procexp.exe:2644,CLOSE,1,C:\Temp,SUCCESS,
    >>>>>>


    I'm curious too about why there are so many apparently-redundant opens of the same things?  Looking at Process Explorer while doing this, I didn't see any extra processes coming and going.

    Here is what is running on my system:

    <<<<<<<
    Process,PID,CPU,Description,Company Name,Path,Handles,User Name,Window Title,Session ID
    ati2evxx.exe,884,,,,C:\WINDOWS\system32\ati2evxx.exe,48,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
    explorer.exe,2076,,Windows Explorer,Microsoft Corporation,C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe,523,SUNRISE2003\Mike,Temp,0
     mixer.exe,2808,,Mixer,C-Media Electronic Inc. (www.cmedia.com.tw),C:\WINDOWS\mixer.exe,103,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     atiptaxx.exe,2820,,ATI Desktop Control Panel,"ATI Technologies, Inc.",C:\WINDOWS\system32\atiptaxx.exe,61,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     Desk98.exe,2828,,Desk98,ATI Technologies Inc.,C:\WINDOWS\system32\Desk98.exe,54,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     fpdisp5a.exe,2844,,FinePrint,"FinePrint Software, LLC",C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3\fpdisp5a.exe,119,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     fppdis1.exe,2856,,FinePrint pdfFactory,"FinePrint Software, LLC",C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\w32x86\3\fppdis1.exe,119,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     LVComS.exe,2872,,LVCom Server,Labtec,C:\Program Files\Common Files\Logitech\QCDriver\LVComS.exe,104,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     realsched.exe,2888,,RealNetworks Scheduler,"RealNetworks, Inc.",C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\realsched.exe,50,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
      rnathchk.exe,2220,,RealNetworks ATH Check App,"RealNetworks, Inc.",C:\Program Files\Common Files\Real\Update_OB\rnathchk.exe,29,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     CCAPP.EXE,2896,,Common Client User Session,Symantec Corporation,C:\Program Files\Common Files\Symantec Shared\CCAPP.EXE,349,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     qttask.exe,2920,,,"Apple Computer, Inc.",C:\Program Files\QuickTime\qttask.exe,188,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     jusched.exe,2940,,,,C:\Program Files\Java\j2re1.4.2_05\bin\jusched.exe,24,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     QOELoader.exe,2956,,QOELoader Application,"Qurb, Inc.",C:\Program Files\Qurb\QSP-2.1.213.3\QOELoader.exe,24,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     StatusClient.exe,2964,,Hewlett-Packard T-TR Status Client,Hewlett-Packard,C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\Toolbox\StatusClient\StatusClient.exe,87,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     hpwuSchd.exe,2992,,,,C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\HP Software Update\hpwuSchd.exe,25,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     msnmsgr.exe,3036,,MSN Messenger,Microsoft Corporation,C:\Program Files\MSN Messenger\msnmsgr.exe,211,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     ctfmon.exe,3052,,CTF Loader,Microsoft Corporation,C:\WINDOWS\system32\ctfmon.exe,109,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     MSBNTray.exe,3076,,Microsoft Broadband Networking Tray Application,Microsoft Corporation,C:\Program Files\Microsoft Broadband Networking\MSBNTray.exe,128,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     SafeCfg.exe,3100,,Secure VPN Client,SafeNet,C:\Program Files\NETGEAR\NETGEAR ProSafe VPN Client\SafeCfg.exe,30,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
     OUTLOOK.EXE,3208,,Microsoft Outlook,Microsoft Corporation,C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\OUTLOOK.EXE,608,SUNRISE2003\Mike,Inbox - Microsoft Outlook,0
      firefox.exe,3404,,Firefox,Mozilla,C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe,182,SUNRISE2003\Mike,Windows XP: Cannot delete <file>: It is being used by another person or program.  (caused by explorer.exe) - Mozilla Firefox,0
     procexp.exe,996,6,Sysinternals Process Explorer,Sysinternals,C:\Program Files\SystemInternals\procexp.exe,317,SUNRISE2003\Mike,Process Explorer - Sysinternals: www.sysinternals.com,0
    PQV2iSvc.exe,2176,,V2i Protector Service Module,PowerQuest Corporation,C:\Program Files\PowerQuest\Drive Image 7.0\Agent\PQV2iSvc.exe,183,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
    javaw.exe,3228,,,,C:\Program Files\Hewlett-Packard\Toolbox\jre\bin\javaw.exe,501,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0
    msmsgs.exe,3892,,Windows Messenger,Microsoft Corporation,C:\Program Files\Messenger\msmsgs.exe,173,SUNRISE2003\Mike,,0

    Process: Procexp Pid: -2,,,,,,,,,

    Type,Name,Handle,Access,,,,,,
    >>>>>>>
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    You may be on to something here.  I can consistently cause the problem by doing the following:

    1.      I have a .jpg photo in the “My Documents” folder.
    2.      I create a new sub-folder. (right click menu)
    3.      I copy the .jpg photo into the new sub-folder.
    4.      I enter the new sub-folder.
    5.      I select the file, copy the file (with CTRL+C) and paste a new file in the same folder (CTRL+V)
    6.      I move back to the “My Documents” folder.
    7.      When I try to delete this new folder I get the error.
    0
     
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    Yes, same here.  The CTRL+C creates the second/extra handle for the containing folder.

    So maybe it's not the popup, but the act of selecting?  Or both?

    Here's another twist - create new folder, create TWO files in it, select both.  No extra handles created yet ... until you hit the DELETE key and get the dialog box "okay to delete these two files?" and suddenly (while the message box is still sitting there) there appear THREE handles on the containing folder where there were none before.  Clearly something sick here.

    Is there someone out there that DOESN'T have this problem so we can compare notes?  You will need to download Process Explorer from www.systeminternals.com.

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    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    Well.... again, at least I can confirm that the above is true as well on my system.  I had not thought to compare my two systems (i.e. the one I am on does not have the problem).   I will run parallel processes tonite and report my findings soon.

    What I can tell you, is that any operation within a newly created directory leaves that open handle for me, no matter how its done (right click, keyboard etc) but NOT if its done by some other process.  Which is curious (i.e. if another program creates a temp directory and adds and deletes files from it, I can still delete it as per usual).  But if I do the EXACT same thing, ie. make a folder, add some files and then try to delete them again, the FOLDER has an open left to it, and I get the dreaded error we all now hate seeing.

    But as I said, I will give it a go with both systems (running XP Pro) and get back to you.
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    Welll... nothing interesting came up.

    Running processexplorer side by side with windows explorer...

    The BAD machine : During creates and deletes, the handles stay open, depsite the fact that the operation was completed.
    The GOOD machine : The handles close normally as they should open leaving the folder.

    So that doesn't shed too much light I dont think.

    Anyone else ?
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:JMarchesoni
    p_hooky, is there any way you could give us the stats of both of your systems (i.e. Processor, hard drive, ram, OS and service packs)?
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    The bad machine : AMD XP 2600+, ASUS A7V333, 2 GB 333MhzDDR, Multiple HDs (Maxtor x3, WD x3 - Total Space 880 GB), Win XP Pro, SP2

    The good machine : Acer Ferrari 3200 (AMD64 3200, 768 MB Ram, 80GB HD), Win Xp Pro, SP2

    Does that help you any ?
    0
     
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    Thanks p_hooky - since you have both a working and a non-working machines, "all we need to do" is find what is different ;)

    I bet there is a version mismatch between explorer.exe and supporting DLLs - which are part of Windows and also part of Internet Explorer.

    Two ways to do this would be:
    - Accessories | System Tools | System Information | Software Environment | Loaded Modules - unfortunately there is tons of information and not much description.
    - Process Explorer is simpler - select explorer.exe and then View | Lower Pane | DLLs

    Here are all of my DLLs which Process Explorer reports as having the word "shell" in their function:

    Name,Description,Company Name,Version
    CfShellFtpRds.dll,CfShellFtpRds Module,Allaire Corp.,4.05.0000.0000
    CdrIco91.dll,"IconHandler Shell Extension for CDR,CPT and CMF files.",Corel Corporation,9.148.0000.0000
    browselc.dll,Shell Browser UI Library,Microsoft Corporation,6.00.2900.2180
    browseui.dll,Shell Browser UI Library,Microsoft Corporation,6.00.2900.2518
    shdoclc.dll,Shell Doc Object and Control Library,Microsoft Corporation,6.00.2900.2180
    shdocvw.dll,Shell Doc Object and Control Library,Microsoft Corporation,6.00.2900.2518
    ntshrui.dll,Shell extensions for sharing,Microsoft Corporation,5.01.2600.2180
    shlwapi.dll,Shell Light-weight Utility Library,Microsoft Corporation,6.00.2900.2180
    stobject.dll,Systray shell service object,Microsoft Corporation,5.01.2600.2180
    shell32.dll,Windows Shell Common Dll,Microsoft Corporation,6.00.2900.2180
    shellstyle.dll,Windows Shell Style Resource Dll,Microsoft Corporation,5.01.2600.0000
    NAVShExt.dll,Norton AntiVirusNAVShellExt Module,Symantec Corporation,11.00.0002.0004
    WZSHLSTB.DLL,WinZip Shell Extension DLL,"WinZip Computing, Inc.",4.01.0000.0000

    Hmmm ... p_hooky, do you have Winzip on both your systems?


    PS - By the way, although I thought it unlikely I wondered if antivirus programs (or similar filter utilities) were a factor.  I was able to try the tests with no antivirus (uninstalled Norton 2004, did the test, installed Panda, did the test, uninstalled Panda, installed Norton 2005, did the test) ... every test resulted in the folder handle being locked.
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    I don't know if it is a coincidence, but my machine is an "AMD XP 2600+"
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    I think the AMD thing has nothing to do with it.   I have 4 other systems here running Windows 2K Adv Server, all of which are also fine, and all of which are AMDs as well.  

    I do have WinZip on the BAD machine, and not on the GOOD one.  Why do you ask ?

    Here's all the shelll DLLs on the BAD system from proexp :

    Name      Description      Company Name      Version
    browselc.dll      Shell Browser UI Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    browseui.dll      Shell Browser UI Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2518
    docprop2.dll      Microsoft DocProp Shell Ext      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    netshell.dll      Network Connections Shell      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    ntshrui.dll      Shell extensions for sharing      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    shdoclc.dll      Shell Doc Object and Control Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    shdocvw.dll      Shell Doc Object and Control Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2518
    shell32.dll      Windows Shell Common Dll      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    shlwapi.dll      Shell Light-weight Utility Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180      
    stobject.dll      Systray shell service object      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    TRshell.dll      Tag&Rename shell extension      Softpointer Inc      3.00.0001.0000
    WZSHLSTB.DLL      WinZip Shell Extension DLL      WinZip Computing, Inc.      4.01.0000.0000

    Hmmmm....
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    Here are all of my DLLs which Process Explorer reports as having the word "shell" in their function:

    Name      Description      Company Name      Version
    browselc.dll      Shell Browser UI Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    browseui.dll      Shell Browser UI Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2518
    MLSHEXT.DLL      Microsoft Shell Extension Library      Microsoft Corporation      8.02.2726.0000
    NAVSHEXT.DLL      Norton AntiVirusNAVShellExt Module      Symantec Corporation      9.05.0000.0015
    netshell.dll      Network Connections Shell      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    ntshrui.dll      Shell extensions for sharing      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    PGPmn.dll      PGP Shell Menu Extensions      PGP Corporation      8.00.0003.0000
    shdoclc.dll      Shell Doc Object and Control Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    shdocvw.dll      Shell Doc Object and Control Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2518
    shell32.dll      Windows Shell Common Dll      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    shlwapi.dll      Shell Light-weight Utility Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    smarthook.dll      SmartFTP Shell Extension      SmartFTP      1.00.0002.0001
    stobject.dll      Systray shell service object      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    WZSHLSTB.DLL      WinZip Shell Extension DLL      WinZip Computing, Inc.      4.01.0000.0000
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    I also have a second machine, which does not appear to be having this problem.  It is a WinXP Pro SP2 with a Pentium chip in it.

     Here are all of my DLLs which Process Explorer reports as having the word "shell" in their function:

    Name      Description      Company Name      Version
    browselc.dll      Shell Browser UI Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    browseui.dll      Shell Browser UI Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2518
    NAVSHEXT.DLL      Norton AntiVirusNAVShellExt Module      Symantec Corporation      9.05.0000.0015
    netshell.dll      Network Connections Shell      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    ntshrui.dll      Shell extensions for sharing      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    shdoclc.dll      Shell Doc Object and Control Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    shdocvw.dll      Shell Doc Object and Control Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2518
    shell32.dll      Windows Shell Common Dll      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    shellstyle.dll      Windows Shell Style Resource Dll      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.0000
    shlwapi.dll      Shell Light-weight Utility Library      Microsoft Corporation      6.00.2900.2180
    smarthook.dll      SmartFTP Shell Extension      SmartFTP      1.00.0002.0001
    stobject.dll      Systray shell service object      Microsoft Corporation      5.01.2600.2180
    WZSHLSTB.DLL      WinZip Shell Extension DLL      WinZip Computing, Inc.      4.01.0000.0000
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    Expert Comment

    by:JMarchesoni
    Yes, thank you p_hooky.  I am running a notebook with a P4 2.8Ghz with HyperThreading, 1GB of RAM (2 512MB sticks), a 60GB harddrive with 3 partitions:  OS partition 25GB, others each approx 15GB.  I am running WXP SP1.  I'm not sure of the motherboard or RAM speed.

    I do have winzip installed.

    I am not quite sure how to filter for 'shell' in the dll list...
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    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    So much for the WinZip thought.  O well.... I doubted it was that anyways, but at this point I will try anything.

    Do those lists help anyone ?

    They sure dont help me.

    As far as "filtering" goes... i just manully searched and edited the file. Perhaps there is an easier way.
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    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    I thought it was worth a try (still do) to see if there were differences.  The extra handle almost certainly is a bug in explorer.exe or something hooked to it (which was why I asked about Winzip, and checked the antivirus).  Comparing all the DLL versions you guys have provided (thanks!) the three 'bad' and one 'good' system seem to be the same including the Winzip DLL.  And I see that SP1 is implicated too - thanks JMarchesoni.

    Here is a link to MSDN info about the Windows shell <a href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/shellcc/platform/shell/programmersguide/versions.asp ">here</a>

    It says "All but a handful of the programming elements discussed in the Shell and common controls documentation are contained in three DLLs: Comctl32.dll, Shell32.dll, and Shlwapi.dll."

    The 'shell' DLLs we have already listed, here are the others from my system:

    comctl32.dll 5.82.2900.2180
    explorer.exe 6.00.2900.2180 (xpsp_sp2_rtm.040803-2158)

    PLEASE POST YOUR VERSIONS OF THESE TWO MODULES.  For explorer.exe, find it in C:\Windows and check the Version tab in the Properties for the file.


    Recently-opened documents (whose handles presumably are cached in memory) have also been mentioned in this topic.  But MSDN says at <a href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/shellcc/platform/shell/programmersguide/shell_basics/shell_basics_programming/manage.asp:">here</a>

    "The Shell maintains a list of recently added or modified documents for each user. The user can display a list of links to these files by clicking Documents on the Start menu. As with My Documents, each user has a file system directory to hold the actual links."

    C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My Recent Documents is this special system directory.  I presume this is not a pseudo-directory existing only in memory for the duration of an explorer.exe instance, but a real one on the hard drive.

    On my system, although there are multiple handles listed in Process Explorer for the containing folder after a create/copy/paste operation, there is nothing listed in the My Recent Documents for any of the files or folders involved.

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    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    by:
    I think I got it.

    I was looking at MSDN Creating Context Menu Handlers at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/shellcc/platform/shell/programmersguide/shell_int/shell_int_extending/extensionhandlers/contextmenuhandlers.asp and started looking at the Registry entries for this.  Context Menu Handlers are the way that items (like Winzip) get added to the right-click context menu.  But wow, way too many entries to look at.

    I Googled for "utility list shell context menu handlers" and came up with a utility called ShellExView, mentioned at http://windowsxp.mvps.org/slowrightclick.htm.  

    Downloaded the utility from http://www.snapfiles.com/get/shellexview.html and ran ShellExView.  It lists all the extensions to the shell - 227 on my system!  I sorted on the Type column and looked at the Context Menu entries.  The second extension handler I disabled (Corel Version) stopped the duplicated folder handle from being created!

    Anyone want to try this approach to their problem?

    Meanwhile, I will explore this further on my own system - after a reboot.

    0
     
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    After reboot, checked with ShellExView and the Corel Version was still disabled.

    Then repeated my test, of creating a folder with a file in it, right-click copy, right-click paste, up a level, try to delete folder - and it worked!

    Also with Process Explorer, no additional handles for the parent folder got created.

    Re-enabled the Corel Version and repeated the test - couldn't delete the folder (had an extra handle).

    The only Corel software on my system is Corel Draw.

    I can't test whether this fixed my problem stopping the USB key yet - have misplaced the dratted thing.
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    I think you might be onto something.  I disabled ALL "Context Menu" items and I was able to delete a folder created using the steps I listed above.  Now I need to narrow down which item could be causing the lock with explorer.
    0
     

    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    I seem to have narrowed it down to this item below.  If I enable it I get folder locks.  If I disable it, new folders can be deleted, but it doesn't free up the locks that were there when it was enabled.  Any idea what this is?  Is it on anyone else's system that is having this problem?  I used the http://www.snapfiles.com/get/shellexview.html program to disable the items.


    ==================================================
    Extension Name    :
    Disabled          : No
    Type              : Context Menu
    Description       :
    Version           :
    Product Name      :
    Company           :
    My Computer       : No
    Desktop           : No
    Control Panel     : No
    Filename          : C:\Program Files\DX90SDK\Utilities\txview.dll
    CLSID             : {9f95ca1a-e80e-4c0f-acd1-4c9b7900b982}
    File Created Time : 9/9/2003 7:55:58 AM
    CLSID Modified Time: 9/7/2004 9:17:29 AM
    Microsoft         : No
    ==================================================
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    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    Great!  So to recap, our problem doesn't come from Microsoft but from buggy shell extensions written by others - which are permitted to exist thanks to Microsoft ;)  Perhaps Microsoft could add some bug checking to detect the extra folder handles, but I'm sure the problem is more complex than that.

    Thanks - to the author of ShellExView!

    Disabling the add-ins won't make the extra handles won't go away because shell extensions aren't running programs, they are just mini-programs that run when the right-click menu appears.  You will have to restart explorer.exe or reboot to clear the extra handles, but with the offending extensions disabled or removed the problem should not return (until next time some buggy code is installed).

    DX90SDK is Microsoft DirectX SDK for developing games.  Can't find specifically what txview.dll does - perhaps it is part of a game and not the SDK?  Look at the Properties for txview.dll to see who is the author/company.

    Mike
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:JMarchesoni
    What about if I am only using the Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V to copy and move files?  I just tried doing every operation using only the keyboard, and no dice...I still get the error!  I did have to use the File>New>Folder menu command to make a new folder...maybe that creates the handles too?  The menus arent context menus, but they do have to be somewhat file-specific.
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    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    In response to: "our problem doesn't come from Microsoft but from buggy shell extensions written by others," correct me if I am wrong, but this is the *Microsoft* DirectX SDK, so the problem does come from Microsoft.

    I am still testing my system to see if I will get any more errors.  So far no problems.  This may be the solution to the problem.

    I am curious if this is the same module that is causing problems on other peoples computers, or if the problem is caused by random corrupted modules.  Has anyone else had a chance to check to see if this solution fixes this problem?  If so we may have finally found the solution to this problem (thanks to mluckham).

    0
     

    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    In response to "I still get the error!  I did have to use the File>New>Folder menu command to make a new folder...maybe that creates the handles too?".

    I think it is when you use the menu to create a new "New Folder" that the problem begins, but it doesn't seem to become concrete until the folder is used.
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    Expert Comment

    by:JMarchesoni
    Ok, I just tried disabling a few of the context menu items, and there is one program in particular that I install that I disabled, and viola! no more nasty error message!  Now, its a toss-up between wanting to keep the ever-useful program and not seeing that message...
    0
     

    Author Comment

    by:kennethburgener
    By disabling the context menu, that shouldn't disable your program, just the context menu.

    But now that three people have verified that this solution fixes the problem, I am going to set it as the solution to this thread.
    0
     
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:mluckham
    Thanks kennethburgener and to all that have contributed to investigating this problem - it has been a real annoyance for me and I'm glad the source of it is now understood.  Unfortunately, there is not a single cause - but at least it is narrowed down to the Windows shell extension mechanism, and ShellExView is a really helpful tool to identify the culprit(s) in each case.



    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    mluckham is a genius.  ;)

    It never occured to me to wrap my head around the problem in that way.  I guess I just wasn't following you when you were asking about the shell extensions etc, but it all makes sense now.  I had a bunch of Corel shell extensions running, and when I think about it, that is one of the few programs that is unique to this machine.  So I disabled them in ShellExView and TADA !   No more problems.

    Thanks again to all those who posted in this thread.  I feel soooo much better now.  Its like a HUGE weight has been lifted from my shoulders after years of banging my head on the wall !

    Cheers guys !

    HooKs
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:JMarchesoni
    Yes, I am so very grateful to everyone who helped, especially mluckham.  The thing about the program I use that causes the problem, sadly, is that it is only a context menu extension program...Thats all its for!
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:matd_
    Hi,

    I'm also having the same problem. I have tried removing any excess shell extensions and used Process Explorer but i still have this problem where i can copy a file on a network share, then if i try and delete it or modify it it tells me the file is in use by another person or program.

    This is the thread i started here :

    http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21236302.html

    Its driving me nuts!

    I've gone through most of the suggestions that others have posted here but i still have the problem affecting me with any file i even so much as click on in a network share unless i go and kill the mulitple handles that get spawned for just 1 file that i click on!

    HELP ME PLEASE BEFORE I GO INSANE!!!! ;-)
    0
     

    Expert Comment

    by:p_hooky
    Are the open handles left by explorer.exe ?

    And have you killed ALL the shell extensions, then rebooted and tried it ?

    I imagine you have, but mine didn't fix until I killed them all and added back one by one.  I'll read your other thread to get the details.
    0
     
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    by:jamielsmith
    In regards to the network share issue, I just paid the $259 to speak with a Microsoft technician and he had me add a registry key for OpLocks; here's the article:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/296264

     I'm simply posting this because this issue has been driving me crazy, no rhyme or reason behind which files it would happen to.

    This resolved my problem immediately after a reboot on all files affected!
    0

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