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PowerToys will soon show what processes prevent you from deleting files

PowerToys logo full color on beige and colorful background

Future Microsoft PowerToys update will add a new "toy" to the already impressive set of various utilities Windows 10 and 11 users can enjoy for free. Microsoft is currently working on implementing the "File Locksmith" tool aimed at helping Windows customers figure out why they cannot delete a specific file or folder.

File Locksmith will add a new context menu entry (currently named "What's using this file?") responsible for showing what processes "hold" a file or directory, thus preventing it from being deleted or renamed.

A "rough mockup" reveals what File Locksmith might look like, showing processes, their IDs, blocked files or directories, and the button to end listed processes. The concept looks on par with what PowerToys currently offers, although it is worth mentioning that Microsoft will most likely reposition the arrow-down button responsible for revealing more details to prevent users from accidentally killing the task instead of getting more information about it.

PowerToys File Locksmith is a work in progress, so do not expect Microsoft to release it tomorrow. While the company is busy preparing the new toy for the next releases, check out the latest PowerToys update that has introduced Screen Ruler, Quick Accent, and Text Extractor tools. You can also follow the development process on GitHub.

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