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Cannot delete folders with .mp3 files in them; Explorer says the folder is in use.

Posted on 2005-04-10
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
Whenever I try to delete a folder with mp3 files in them I get the standard "this file is in use by another program error". When I try cutting the file and pasting it elsewhere, it moves the files but cannot delete the old folder. When I shut down explorer and restart using the task manager I can delete that empty fold now, but other folders which aren't empty I still get the error.

Any ideas?
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Question by:mr_slayer
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Expert Comment

by:dxf224
ID: 13747961
try it in safe mode
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13748042
I know it'll delete in safe mode, but I don't want to have to reboot every time I need to delete a folder with mp3s in them.
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Expert Comment

by:dxf224
ID: 13748051
...and see what's going on in msconfig ... small tutorial here ... re what to check for and what to turn on/off
..http://netsquirrel.com/msconfig/
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Expert Comment

by:sweatbeast
ID: 13748066
is windows media player running? If so kill it and retry
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by:dxf224
ID: 13748070
List of programs that run in msconfig .....http://www.sysinfo.org/startuplist.php
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13748080
I don't think it has anything to do with any startup programs. It has something to do with explorer itself. Thanks anyways.
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Expert Comment

by:sweatbeast
ID: 13748087
what about the media player? Or any other progs which might play MP3's.
My thought is that something could be monitoring MP3s for changes and so creating a lock.
Media Player can be set to monitor music files for changes and automaticaly notify you.
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Expert Comment

by:2hype
ID: 13748506
I would Control Alt Delete and see if there are any running programs that access your MP3's.  Check your Icon's in the Bottom right had corner to see if there are any music programs running (Realplayer, Winamp, Windows Media etc...) that could be access these's files.

If there are try closing these programs down and checking to see if you can then delete the files.  It sould like there is a running program of some sort at are using these files.  You will have to find out what program is running and shut that application down.

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Expert Comment

by:Leandro Iacono
ID: 13748528
Perhaps its the windows media preview which is taking too long to preview the file, thus not allowing you to delete the file until it finishes loading up the file.

In Windows XP: (http://www.techzonez.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-11748.html)

Simply do the following steps:
1) Open a command window (Start->Run, type in 'cmd' hit enter)
2) To remove media preview, type and hit enter regsvr32 /u shmedia.dll
3) To readd media preview, type and hit enter regsvr32 shmedia.dll

In Windows 2000:

1. go to C:\WINNT\Web
2. find the hidden/system file called folder.htt
3. make a backup of this file in case you want to change it back (call it folderold.htt or someting) 4. Open folder.htt with notepad
5. Delete the line "span id=MediaPlayerSpan"(there is no quotes in the sentence)
6. also delete the "/span" line after it
7. Save your changes and close the file

I am really not sure of it's this, but what is for sure is that you must have a program accessing the file once you click the file for a delete, such as when windows media player previews the file, on the left hand side of the screen, everytime you click on a media file. My guess is WMP is taking to long to open up the file, and isn't allowing you to delete the file since the file is being "read" by WMP.

Try disabiling WMP preview. If you can then succesfully delete the file without hassle, then you know its WMP and you can either leave it disabled or try updating/reinstalling it so it works properly.

If its not WMP you can always re-enable it, and we can then search for the program casuing the problem.
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Expert Comment

by:sweatbeast
ID: 13748923
Kill media player to prove the above
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Expert Comment

by:Leandro Iacono
ID: 13748995
If you uninstall WMP9 ... your old Media player remains ... I think.
I would rather disable, and test. Instead of uninstalling...
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13749241
I don't think it's WMP because this just started doing this in the past day or so. I thought it might be itunes, which I installed last tuesday but when I uninstalled it, it was still not allowing me to delete the folder. And those music files I was trying to move or delete were not in the itunes  playlist.
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Expert Comment

by:Leandro Iacono
ID: 13749388
Just becuase is started recently does not discard the posibility of it being WMP.
WMP could of got corrupt, and so it's failing. I dunno mate. Really up to you.

Whats for sure is that it's a program running in the background accessing your mp3/media files once you right click them.

Can you succesfully delete them from command prompt? (Without clicking or selecting them) ...
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Expert Comment

by:Pauli150
ID: 13749413
Something IS using them.

Please Ctrl-alt-delete and click the processes tab

List them off here for me. I know there are alot but some service IS using them. I highly doubt its an explorer problem.
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13749427
Ok, this is odd.

I went into the Downloads folder where I have the folders with the mp3s in them and I closed down explorer and typed this in a command prompt in the Downloads folder:

attrib -r -s -h /s

And now, for some reason all the folders with mp3s in them can be modified. I don't know how this effected other folders outside the one i was working in but... Weird.
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by:sweatbeast
ID: 13749434
not sure how relevant that is....

The simplist way to trace this is to kill a process at a time until the files can be deleted.
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Expert Comment

by:binary_1001010
ID: 13751560
are you running napster or any file sharing program? p2p?
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13752461
I don't know what it was that was causing the problem but it's fixed now.
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertTurner
ID: 13756106
*smiling* Well, I'm glad your problem has disappeared. Most of the comments have some merit about the cause; i.e., the Operating Syetem (XP in this case) is aware that some process is accessing (has open for either read or write) one of the MP3 files in the folder you are trying to delete; it won't allow that (as you discovered). The likelyhood that it is a non-native process (that is, not a part of XP) is high; probably one of the programs mentioned; using the XP task manager is one way to find out who the culprit is. Kazaa is a nasty fellow that might well have been the source of your problem; iTunes isn't particularly nasty, but it might very well open music files, and forget to tell the OS it has lost interest in the file. Anyway, those are the sort of third-party things that you should focus on, should the problem reëmerge. -Albert
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by:Leandro Iacono
ID: 13756667
Well, I'm glad you could sort it out mate.

Cheers.
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13756815
The only problem was when I used the task manager, I eliminated every task under my login name and a couple that were set as system that I knew I could shut down and I still couldn't move, edit, rename or delete any folder with mp3s in them. I think it had something to do with the folders becoming read-only for some reason and when I performed the attribute command in a command prompt on one folder all of a sudden all the folders with mp3s in them could be edited.

Like I said, it was really weird and I've never seen this happen before.
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertTurner
ID: 13756933
Hmmm... Well, this is true: when you copy a file from a CD or a DVD, it is written with the read-only attribute set (since all files on CD's and DVD's are read-only). ... If you execute "DIR [directory_name] /A", you will see that. So, possibly using "ATTRIB -R /D /S directory_name/*.*" will indeed resolve the problem. Perhaps making it, "ATTRIB -R -H -S /D /S [drive:][path]*.*" would be insistant that you want the freedom to do what you will with the files! *laughing* -Albert
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 13757224
But all of these files were downloaded from different websites, I don't see the possibility of them all being read-only. And when I went and unchecked the read-only from the folder and had it change all the files and sub-folders, I still couldn't edit them. But after closing explorer and using a command prompt to change the read-only attributes did it finally work out.

Score one more point to the annoying and frusting aspects of Windows.
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertTurner
ID: 13757465
Having the Explorer with the the directory open may very well have frustrated the OS. And the likelyhood that MP3 files were written as read-only is very high, since most come from some CD somewhere. -Albert
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertTurner
ID: 13757494
And, *laughing* as an OS R&D engineer for many years, I can suggest that annoyances and frustrations are a feature of computers, and not usually the OS. *smiling* -Albert
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Expert Comment

by:AlbertTurner
ID: 13757517
*laughing* Actually, that isn't exactly true, the engineers and systems folks do come up with insanities. A good example is PERL, a write-once, read-never language!
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Accepted Solution

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BLackCrypToN earned 250 total points
ID: 13797000
try Process Explorer

http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/procexp.shtml

simply install, run then copy the name of the folder or file that is in use,

then up top in Process Explorer, goto Find > Handle

Paste in the folder/file name yo copied and find it, once you find hits, click on it to highlight it, then down below on the process location that it shows you, right click and choose Close Handle, after you close any open handles on those files/folders then try to delete the folder, should work np.
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Expert Comment

by:BLackCrypToN
ID: 14057249
One of the options other users as well as myself should solve the problem. If it is in use by a running process, finding and closing the handle should solve it. Or as stated by closing explorer.exe.

I still strongly believe that Process Explorer should take care of the prob. Even if you empty out everything in the Task Manager, TM does not let you see the handles that are created and holding a file open. From experience I have  not found any file I was not able to delete using PE

some executable files become active and have handles opened when you right click on them, these type of file you will need to close the handles for them and use a batch file or delete in Dos/Command Promt without right clicking the file again.

Anyways, I hope the origional poster decides to enlighten us to whether or not the problem was resolved.
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Expert Comment

by:Leandro Iacono
ID: 14060346
I agree with black ..
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Author Comment

by:mr_slayer
ID: 14060857
The problem is resolved.

It had something to do with all mp3 files being made read-only. When I tried removing the read-only attribute in explorer, it wouldn't work, so I had to close the explorer.exe process and use a command prompt to set the folder's read-only attribute to none. Now everything's fine. I don't quite understand how one folder could effect all of them, but ok.
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Expert Comment

by:BLackCrypToN
ID: 14061503
Good to hear you have resolved it. If you have your collection on a LAN shared it is possible that the folder attribute was set to read only when you specified the share. This is to protect the files being shared from accidental deletion by another user, even though you may be the only user. If that makes sense. Likewise when the MP3's are placed in My Documents folder in My Music, it will usually read only the files to help prevent them from being deleted by accident.
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