Cannot Rename File. It Is Being Used By Another Person Or Program Error While Renaming Files

Sometimes, you may encounter a problem renaming your files. Every time you try to rename a file, your computer may show an error that the file is being used by another person or program.

Although this error is self explanatory, lack of information about the person or program using your files can cause a lot of confusion. In this tutorial, we will find out how to prevent recurrence of this issue and what are other ways to securely rename your files without errors.

Method 1: Close Open Programs

Exit any open programs that you may have. It shall fix file renaming issues if one of the open programs is using your file.

Method 2: Exit Corresponding Process

If you know the specific process locking your file, you may terminate the process using Task Manager. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click the Taskbar.
  2. Select Task Manager.
  3. Click on More details.
  4. Click on the Details tab.
  5. Right-click the process locking your files, select End Task.

Method 2: Restart your Computer

Restart your PC to remove the lock on your file. When your PC restarts, only the startup programs and services will be loaded. Keep in mind, if a startup program is using your file, you will continue to encounter the same issue again.

Method 3: Boot into Safe Mode

Safe Mode starts your computer in a basic state with minimal processes and services. It loads only those processes and services required for the smooth functioning of your operating system. Booting your computer into safe mode will prevent your file renaming issue.

  1. Click on Start, select Settings.
  2. Click on Update & Security > Recovery.
  3. Click on Restart Now under the Advanced Startup category.
  4. Your computer will shut down and restart on its own.
  5. When you’re prompted to choose an action, click on Troubleshoot.
  6. Select Advanced Options > Startup Settings.
  7. Click on the Restart button to restart your computer.
  8. As soon as your computer restarts, press the F5 key of your keyboard to boot into Safe Mode with Networking.

Method 4: Using Process Explorer

In order to rename your file without encountering the error, you will need to find the underlying program or process using your file. 

  1. Right-click This PC and select Properties.
  2. Look for your system type (32-bit or 64-bit).
  3. Download Process Explorer from Microsoft.
  4. After downloading Process Explorer, run a version corresponding to your system type with elevated access.
    1. Right-click procexp.exe if you’re using a 32-bit Windows and select Run as administrator.
    2. Right-click procexp64.exe if you’re using a 64-bit Windows and select Run as administrator.
  5. Click on the Find menu, select Find a handle or DLL.
  6. In the Handle or DLL Substring textfield, type name of the file you’re unable to rename. For example: invoice.pdf
  7. Click on Search.
  8. The Process Explorer Search dialog box will display the program or processes using the locked file.
  9. Select the corresponding process and press the Delete key of your keyboard to abruptly end it.

Batch Rename Files

After resolving the error, you may want to batch rename your files. If your files are scattered across multiple drives, folders, sub-folders, a batch renaming tool will be a handy solution.

Easy File Renamer is a popular batch renaming tool that has a beginner-friendly and nicely designed user interface. It makes the file renaming process simple and quicker. EFR comes with dozens of renaming patterns so that you can rename your files in different styles and formats. You don’t have to learn complex commands or worry about accidentally deleting your data using Command Prompt.



  1. Download and install Easy File Renamer.
  2. Click on the System Renamer tab.
  3. Click on Add Files.
  4. Select the files you want to rename. You may use Ctrl + A to select all the files in a  folder.
  5. Click on Open.
  6. Your files will be loaded into a list box based interface.
  7. Select a file renaming pattern on the left-hand side panel of the application.
  8. Click on Add Rule to apply your rule.
  9. You can add multiple patterns of your choice.
  10. Click on the Rename button to proceed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.