In the world of the 21st century, computers and laptops are becoming an essential part of our work and bare life. We all work on these devices and store them in the form of different folders and files to access later. But there are possibilities to face the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program.
We can define a computer file as a resource that helps us store our data safely in our computers’ storage. For different purposes, a computer has different files. For example, if we want to keep an image, text, video, or coding program on our device, the computer has separate files for storing them. We can access these files whenever we want for purposes like editing, reading, sending them to someone, and many more. The computer has all the facilities to make the process of accessing these files quick. But sometimes we can face some errors like- the file is open in another program, the action can’t be completed because the folder is open already, the folder couldn’t be created because it already exists, and many more.
In our article, we will look at the different causes and the various methods to fix the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program.
Table of Contents
- 1 More About The Error
- 2 What Are The Reasons Behind The Error?
- 3 Methods To Fix The Error
- 4 FAQ’s
- 5 Conclusion
More About The Error
Computers are very likely to face various errors at every moment. Some of these errors are unnoticeable, and some troubles us by interfering with the work we are trying to do. The error: this action cannot be completed because the file is open and can occur at the time we try to open, rename, delete, and move our files and folders. The error message suggests to us that the file is open in another program, but it never suggests the name of the particular program. This error still occurs even when all the programs are close on your computers.
It is possible that your windows or the programs in it are using these files or the folders for other purposes. Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 are the ones that face this error in most cases. There can be many different reasons triggering this error on your device, which further stops you from accessing the files you want to.
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What Are The Reasons Behind The Error?
Before looking at the various methods to resolve the error, we will look at the possible reasons for triggering this error on your devices.
The computers and Windows always store a copy of the thumbnails of all the videos, pictures, and documents, which helps you to find them easily when you open the folder.
But these thumbnails may be the reason behind the error, and you should delete them.
The preview pane helps you to preview the contents of all the files you want to open. From the files containing images, text, and documents, you can preview the content of all these files.
It is possible that the preview panel is the reason behind the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program, and disabling it can fix the error.
Applications Opening Automatically
Whenever the user starts the computer, many services and applications open automatically and start running in the background.
And they can cause troubles in the system software and can be the reason behind the error.
Methods To Fix The Error
After discussing the main reasons behind the error, we will look at some easy methods to fix our problem.
Restarting Your PC
Restarting the computer is the easiest way anyone can follow to fix an issue. Sometimes the error occurs due to some temporary glitch or bug in the system software. And these transient bugs disappear once we restart our PC.
And the error that was happening because of the bugs and glitches also disappears, and we can continue with the tasks we want to.
Restarting File Explorer
Restarting the file explorer is another easy fix to solve the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. We will use the task manager for this purpose. The steps are-
- Open Task manager on your computers. You can either right-click on the start menu and select task manager from it or search task manager on the search bar.
- Search the Window explorer option in the task manager.
- Right-click on window explorer and choose the restart option from the new menu that will appear
The thumbnails can be one of the reasons behind the error, and removing all the thumbnails can help us to resolve the error. The easiest way to remove thumbnails is by using disk cleanup. The steps are-
- Open disk cleanup on your device by searching for it on the search option near start menu.
- Disk Cleanup will open, and you will see the menu with the title- Files to delete
- Select thumbnails and press ok. Disk cleanup will clean and remove all the thumbnails from your device.
Disabling Preview Panel
Disabling the preview panel is another way to fix the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. The steps are-
- Open File explorer on your device. You can press Window+E on your keyboard.
- You will see the View tab in the top left corner. Under the tab, there is the option of the preview panel.
- You can enable and disable it. And you can also press Alt+P on your keyboard for the same purpose.
Performing Clean Boot
The application running in the background automatically can be the reason behind the error, and you should perform a clean boot to fix it. The steps are-
- Open system configuration on your device.
- A lot of tabs will appear. Choose the tab- Services.
- Select the option- Hide all Microsoft services and then select disable all.
- After this, select the startup tab. You will see the option of the open task manager. Click on it.
- And in the new tab that will appear. Disable all the applications by selecting one application at a time and disabling it.
COM Surrogate Process
COM stands for Component Object Model. It is an object-orient and platform-independent system that creates various binary components that interact. We can try ending the COM surrogate Process to fix our error. The steps are-
- Open Task Manager on your device. Select the tab- Processes from it.
- Search for the option COM surrogate and right-click on the option.
- Choose the end task from the new menu that will appear. Restart the PC.
Emptying Recycle Bin
Another method to fix the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program is by emptying the recycle bin on your computers. The steps are-
- From your desktop, search for recycle bin and right-click on it.
- Choose the option empty recycle bin from the menu that will open.
- You can also delete the files permanently by pressing Shift+ Delete on the keyboard. Restart your PC.
Why does this error occur?
There can be many different reasons triggering this error, like- files in recycle bin, the applications running in the background, preview panel, thumbnails, some temporary bugs and many more.
What are the various ways to fix the error?
There are several ways you can try to fix the error without wasting a lot of time, like- updating your windows, emptying the recycle bin, disabling the preview panel, deleting thumbnails, restarting file explorer and many more.
Can I fix the error by myself?
Yes, it is effortless to fix the error. Follow all the methods step-by-step, and you can fix the error without needing external help.
Is there any other way to delete the thumbnails?
Yes, there are many other ways to delete the thumbnails. You can delete via file explorer, Registry editor, Performance and disk cleanup. Disk cleanup is the easiest method to follow.
It can be very frustrating if you cannot access some files and folders on your computer and face the error: the action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program. The above methods will assist you in fixing this error without much time and difficulty.
Mauro Huculak is a technical writer. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he’s a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.