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Submitted by Igor Vinnykov
Since the first release of Windows 95 fifteen years ago Microsoft has released several generations of the Windows platform, but the well-known "Access Denied" error, which occurs when one attempts to modify, rename or delete locked file, is still there and it still confuses even experienced IT veterans. This error is an example of unfriendly error messages, as Windows only reports that the resource is locked by some applications, but doesn't indicate which particular applications hold locks and doesn't offer any solutions.
Free EMCO UnLock IT utility is one of the tools that helps you resolve problems with locked files and folders. Unlike the standard Windows behavior, this utility can report on the processes that hold locks to the analyzed resource and allows for removing these locks. So, the next time you get an "Access Denied" message, you can check the locked resource using EMCO UnLock IT to get information about the reason of the problem. You can analyze not only files, but also folders and even whole disks. In this case, the application shows all locked resources and processes that lock them. Another useful feature of the application is integration with Windows Explorer, which is activated by marking the appropriate checkbox on the status bar. If integration is enabled, you can perform the check/unlock operation for the selected resource from the Windows Explorer context menu.
If the analyzed resource is detected as locked, the application offers two options to unlock it. The first one allows closing all file/DLL handles pointing at a resource. The second one allows unlocking a resource by terminating the processes that hold locks. Depending on your needs, you can select one of these options, or use the Unlock Resource action that tries to close handles first and then asks for processes termination only if the first method didn't make it possible to unlock a resource.
Locks detection and the unlocking methods used in this tool are quite effective and will allow you to resolve many problems with locked resources. But, of course, there are cases when no unlocking tool can help you, especially if you have to deal with rootkits, viruses and so on. In such rare cases you can use good old tricks such as booting from external drives and cleaning up files manually.
Happy unlocking to everyone!