Lockhunter Lets You Delete Files When Windows Won’t

Lockhunter Lets You Delete Files When Windows Won’t

It’s been nearly a decade since we last checked out Lockhunter, an incredibly useful Windows app that ensures you’ll always be able to remove files and folders that File Explorer refuses to delete. Developer Crystal Rich Ltd continues to update the app with useful features, but sporadically: It took around 3.5 years to go from version 3.1 of the app to version 3.2.

Still, Lockhunter is worth keeping on your Windows desktop or laptop for those rare moments – or not-so-rare, if you’re unlucky – when Windows refuses to allow you to manipulate a folder or a file because it’s locked by some other process. Sometimes, you might need to close an offending program to regain access to the file. Other times, you might need to take more drastic measures.

You only need to use a single setup program to install Lockhunter, as the app can now detect whether you’re running the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows and install the right version of the app. After that, if you encounter a stubborn file or folder, you can right-click it within File Explorer and select the new option, “What is locking this file?”

Screenshot: David Murphy

When LockHunter loads, you’ll get a quick breakdown of why you might not be able to manipulate the file or folder in question. (You can also click on the newly added “More Details” option to see more specific information about processes, which you could then go kill in the Command Prompt using the “Taskkill/” command.)

LockHunter can try to unlock or delete the files on your behalf, and if those options fail, you can also have the app attempt a deletion the next time Windows restarts.

Though Lockhunter is simple in its execution, this well-designed (albeit rarely updated) app is worth keeping in your digital toolbox. Just don’t bother using its “check for updates” feature – odds are good the world will look very, very different by the time Lockhunter 3.3 rolls out, if ever. We’ll let you know when to look for a new version of the app.


  • How does this compare to Unlocker? I’ve been using that for years and this looks similar.

  • Or you could use the command line programme “takeown”
    Most of these programmes that let you do things Windows won’t are just front ends to existing inbuilt Windows applications.
    This programme probably just uses take own, the other day the find long file names programme, probably used the inbuiltcsystem command robocopy.
    A little patience and some Google and you can do everything these programmes do with out having to fill your PC with unneed extra programmes or at times spyware and malware.

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