There are some frequent errors in the Windows operating system that can be fixed very easily. “The Action Cannot Be Completed Because The File Is Open” error is one such error which is a very minor error in the Windows operating system and can be fixed easily.

What causes “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” Error in Windows?

If you are performing some tasks like renaming, moving, or deleting a file, and if that file is open, then you usually get a “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error. In most cases, simply closing the file that is open and performing the task again should resolve the error.

However, in some cases, “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error appears even after closing the respective file. In such cases, you can try following the solutions below in order to resolve “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error in Windows operating system.

How to fix “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error in Windows?

Solution #1: Restart your System

The easiest solution to fix “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error is to restart your system. Any unknown bugs or errors that might be causing “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error can be fixed by restarting your Windows system.

Solution #2: Change the Owner Name of the File

  1. Select on the file that is causing the error.
  2. Using your mouse, right-click on the file.
  3. From the drop-down menu that appear, click on “Properties”.
  4. When the Properties window appears, switch to “Security” tab.
  5. Click on the button that says “Advanced”.
  6. You will be able to see the current owner of the file.
  7. Click on the “Change” option next to the current owner name.
  8. A new window will appear.
  9. You can now enter the username of your current account or the account that you want to access the file through. Enter the username in the “Enter the object name to select” and then click on “Check names”.
  10. Click on “OK”.


  11. Check the option that says “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects”.
  12. Click on the “Apply” button and then click on the “OK” button.

Solution #3: Empty Recycle Bin on your System

  1. Find the Recycle Bin folder icon on your Windows desktop.
  2. Using the mouse, right-click on the Recycle Bin folder.
    Empty Recycle Bin on your System
    Empty Recycle Bin on your System


  3. From the drop-down menu that appears, click on “Empty Recycle Bin”.
  4. If a confirmation prompt appears, click on “Yes”.

Solution #4: Edit the Group Policy on your System

  1. Press the R key + Windows key.
  2. When the Run window appears, type “gpedit.msc” and click on the “OK” button.
  3. The Local Group Policy Editor window will now appear.
  4. Now click on the “User Configuration” option and then click on “Administrative Templates”.
  5. Then click on “Windows Components” and then click on “File Explorer”.
  6. Now, in the right side of the window, double-click on the option that says “Turn off caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files”.
    Edit the Group Policy on your System
    Edit the Group Policy on your System


  7. In the new window that appears, click on “Enabled”.
  8. Click on the “Apply” button and then click on “OK”.

Solution #5: End and Then Restart the “Windows Explorer” Process

  1. In the Search bar located in the left corner of the Windows taskbar, type “Task Manager”.
  2. From the search results, click on the “Task Manager” app.
  3. The Task Manager window will get launched.
  4. In the Task Manager window, switch to the “Processes” tab.
    End and Then Restart the “Windows Explorer” Process
    End and Then Restart the “Windows Explorer” Process


  5. Find the process with the name “Windows Explorer” and click on the same.
  6. Now, click on the “Restart” button located in the bottom right corner of the Task Manager window.

Solution #6: Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard

  1. Press the S key + Windows key.
  2. When the Search menu appears, type in “Disk Cleanup”.
  3. From the search results, click on the “Disk Cleanup” desktop app.
  4. The Disk Cleanup : Drive Selection window will appear.
  5. Make sure that the “C:” drive is selected.
  6. Click on the “OK” button.
  7. Wait for the scan to complete.
    Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard
    Use the Disk Cleanup Wizard


  8. After the scanning completes, from the list that appears, click on “Thumbnails” and then click on the button that says “OK”.
  9. Wait for the selected files to be removed.

Solution #7: Disable the “Preview” Panel

  1. Press the Windows key + S key.
  2. When the Search menu appears, type “File Explorer”.
  3. From the results, click on the “File Explorer” desktop app.
    Disable the “Preview” Panel
    Disable the “Preview” Panel


  4. In the File Explorer window, switch to the “View” tab.
  5. Uncheck the “Preview Pane” option.

Solution #8: Delete Contents of “TEMP” folder

  1. Press the R key + Windows key.
  2. In the Run window, enter “%temp%” and click on “OK”.
    Delete Contents of “TEMP” folder
    Delete Contents of “TEMP” folder


  3. The “TEMP” folder will now open.
  4. Delete all the files in the TEMP folder.

Solution #9: Alter the Registry on your Windows System

  1. Press the R key + Windows key on your keyboard.
  2. When the Run window appears, type “regedit” and click on the “OK” button.
  3. The Registry Editor window will now appear.
  4. In the left side of the window, go through HKEY_CURRENT_USER>Software>Microsoft>Windows>CurrentVersion>Explorer>Advanced.
    Alter the Registry on your Windows System
    Alter the Registry on your Windows System


  5. In the right side, locate the item “IconsOnly” and double-click on it.
  6. The Properties window will now open.


  7. Change the value to either 0 or 1.
  8. Click on “OK”.

Solution #10: Create Separate Processes to Open Folder Windows

  1. Press the S key + Windows key.
  2. Type “File Explorer Options”.
  3. From the results, click on the “File Explorer Options” control panel option.
  4. Switch to the “View” tab.
    Create Separate Processes to Open Folder Windows
    Create Separate Processes to Open Folder Windows


  5. Check the option named “Launch folder windows in a separate process”.
  6. Click on the “Apply” button and then the “OK” button.

Final Words

Did you find the solutions listed above to fix “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error on Windows operating system helpful? If yes, do comment the solution that helped you in resolving the error.

In case you are not able to solve the error by following any of the solutions listed above, do get in touch with us and we will help you in solving “The Action Cannot be Completed Because the File is Open” error.

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