How to Unlock a File on Windows 11

In Windows 11, users can’t always change files because they are locked. When users try to change locked files, Windows shows them different error messages. All of these file-locking errors make it impossible for users to rename, copy, delete, or move files when they need to.

When you get a “locked file” error, it means that the file you’re trying to change is being used by another program (process). In a network environment, this can also happen with shared files that can be changed by other users.

As shown in this guide, users can usually unlock files by ending the program processes that are using them. When these processes end, the file locks will be removed.

End background processes in Task Manager

Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager.

On the Processes tab and select the End task option for unnecessary programs listed in the apps section.

Try editing the locked file again.

Restart Windows by Clean Booting

Press Win + R to open the Run dialog.

Type msconfig and press Enter.

Check the Selective startup option on the General tab.

Go to the Services tab and select Hide all Microsoft services

Click on the Disable all button.

Select Apply and OK.

Click on Restart if prompted.

After a clean boot, try to edit the locked file.


Commerce major. My training enabled me to fully use the various Microsoft Applications while also allowing to work around problems. I spent my high school years working as a campus writer and researcher, as I get older, I want to broaden my horizons and live life to the fullest.

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