Cannot delete ###  It is in use by another person or program

Posted on 2009-12-31
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
I  have a user that is storing her Office 2003 data files on a Windows 2000 server (SP4) folder she created inside a network share.  When she attempts to delete certain, not all, excel files (not sure of other file types), she receives Cannot delete file *.*  - It is being used by another person or program. She has been having this issue for some time, couple of months at least.
She is using XP SP2 on her workstation (Dell Optiplex 745) and is the Owner, with Full Control of her folder and its subfolders and files.  The main Share folder users are Domain\Admins and Domain\Users with full rights and Domain\Admin as the owner.  We have McAfee OAS installed on all computers.
When I navigate to a file in question from my workstation or VNC into the server, I cannot delete the file, receiving pretty much the same error file in use or a sharing violation.  I have used unlock but the files in question do not show as being locked.  Thinking maybe the file had become corrupt, I tried to Open and Repair the file through Excel, no-go.  The server has also been rebooted on a couple of occasions to no avail.  I think I have been through about every thread posted here concerning the subject, have tried a couple of solutions but nothing so far seems to be the correct action. Any additional direction or guidance is greatly appreciated.
Question by:resasser
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Some things to try:
    • To rule out permissions issues, take ownership of a problem file and grant yourself Full Control.
    • In Computer Management on the server, does the file show up under System Tools\Shared Folders\Open Files?
    • Run Process Explorer on the server and see if any processes have the file in use.
    • If possible, run CHKDSK /F on the drive containing the file.  This will probably require a reboot.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    You can also try the software Hyena to see who or what has a file open - it can be downloaded and used free of charge (30 day trial, no hassle/annoyance for this kind of troubleshooting) from  and a demonstration of how to use it is available from
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Delete an Undeletable or Locked File
    Unlocker is a very useful freeware that will allow you to unlock any files that are currently in use by Windows. Youll know if this is happening if you are getting any of these messages when trying to delete a file:
    "      Cannot delete file: Access is denied
    "      There has been a sharing violation
    "      The source or destination file may be in use
    "      The file is in use by another program or user
    "      Make sure the disk is not full or write-protected and that the file is not currently in use
    Unlocker will make things right again for you.
    You can download tool from

    Chandar Singh

    Author Comment

    I gave myself full user rights (domain/admin) to a file in question and took ownership of the file but still cannot delete.  

    Open Files in Computer Management does not show the file as being open.

    Will have to wait for downtime to run chkdsk on the drive as it is a server

    Unlocker shows "No Locking Handle found".  Opened file and rechecked with Unlocker and it did show me as having the file open but  after closing it Unlocker showed "No Locking Handle found" again.

    Accepted Solution

    Further research pointed to McAfee Enterprise 8.0 patch 16 was the cause.  After upgrading to 8.7 was then able to go in and delete all of the problematic files

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    Highfive + Dolby Voice = No More Audio Complaints!

    Poor audio quality is one of the top reasons people don’t use video conferencing. Get the crispest, clearest audio powered by Dolby Voice in every meeting. Highfive and Dolby Voice deliver the best video conferencing and audio experience for every meeting and every room.

    On a regular basis I get questions about slow RDP performance, RDP connection problems, strange errors and even BSOD, remote computers freezing or restarting after initiation of a remote session. In a lot of this cases the quick solutions made b…
    Remote Apps is a feature in server 2008 which allows users to run applications off Remote Desktop Servers without having to log into them to run the applications.  The user can either have a desktop shortcut installed or go through the web portal to…
    Need more eyes on your posted question? Go ahead and follow the quick steps in this video to learn how to Request Attention to your question. *Log into your Experts Exchange account *Find the question you want to Request Attention for *Go to the e…
    how to add IIS SMTP to handle application/Scanner relays into office 365.

    760 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    9 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now