Process Explorer

Use Process Explorer to find and kill processes with open file handles.

Deleting, moving, or renaming a file fails when a process has an open handle to it. The worst is when I don't know what process has the open handle. Process Explorer helps solve this problem.

linkRestart computer

I used to fix this problem by restarting my computer. Whatever process had the open file handle would be killed by the restart and stay "dead". However, I think this is a huge inconvenience. I had all my programs running and files open--everything in a particular state--but all of that is also lost in the restart.

Sometimes restarting my computer is the correct fix. However, I was very happy when I found a targeted solution to this problem.

linkUse Process Explorer

Here is an example of how to use Process Explorer to find and kill the process with an open handle to a particular file. Suppose I want clean my repository by executing git clean -fdx. As shown in the feature image above, it can fail if Visual Studio is still open.

1link$ git clean -fdx

2linkUnlink of file 'src/.vs/Elmish.WPF/v16/TestStore/0/000.testlog' failed. Should I try again? (y/n)

Use the "Find Handle or DLL..." feature...

Select Find Handle or DLL in Process Explorer enter the file (or folder!) name, click "Search", then click on the correct search result...

Enter the name and select the correct search result in Process Explorer

...and kill it.

Select Kill Process in Process Explorer


Follow these steps to kill an unknown process with an open file handle.


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#DevOps #Windows


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