File locked? Access denied? Use IOBit Unlocker | Download Product Review - CNET Download.com

File locked? Access denied? Use IOBit Unlocker

Unlock files opened in other applications with this simple but highly effective freeware.

It's annoying to try to delete a file or folder, only to be told you can't because it's locked, usually because it's already open in another application. Most of the time, simply closing stuff and trying again does the job. When it doesn't, try a file unlocker, a simple tool that frees files and folders from whatever has them locked, even when you're not sure what's holding up the show. We tried IOBit's Unlocker, a free utility that unlocks files and folders so that you can delete or modify them.

IOBit Unlocker opened with a tool tip noting that users can access the program directly from context menus in Explorer, which we appreciate. The program's interface could hardly be simpler, but it's well-suited to the task. We could either drag and drop files and folders into the main window or click Add and do it the "hard way," by browsing to a destination. We created and saved a Word document and then tried (unsuccessfully) to delete it in Explorer. Next we clicked IOBit Unlocker's context menu entry. Another interface opened; this one containing an Unlock button as well as a check box to enable Forced Mode, which terminates all related processes but should only be used if the usual method fails. Unlocker lists any processes using the file or folder in the lower half of the window. After we unlocked the file, we were able to delete it normally.

The next time your computer tells you "Access Denied, File in Use"; you show it who's boss by firing up IOBit's Unlocker and telling that piece of code, "You're fired!" But before you declare victory in the battle of man vs. machine, make sure you're not trying to delete something you shouldn't. Windows has gotten much better about preventing users from deleting their own critical system files, but it still happens. IOBit Unlocker is a great tool for saving time when deleting images and documents or for those rare occasions when some weird conflict keeps a file from closing. Just make sure your system isn't actually trying to prevent you from killing it!

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