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It seems like on Windows I always come across those pesky files I can’t delete because another process is using it. Up until a few months ago I had always used a program called Unlocker to get around this, and it has served me well. I had to stop using it, however, when I moved to Vista 64-bit since it only includes support for 32-bit versions of Windows.

LockHunter, on the other hand, is a similar free utility that works on Windows 2000 up to Windows 7, and comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors. Just like Unlocker it integrates into your Windows Explorer context menu to save some clicks each time you want to unlock a file.

Here’s a rundown on some of the features:

  • Shows processes locking a file or folder
  • Allows to unlock, delete, copy or rename a locked file
  • Allows to kill locking process
  • Allows to remove locking processes from hard drive
  • Integrates in to Explorer menu
  • It deletes files into the recycle bin, so you may restore them if deleted by mistake
  • Supports both 32 and 64-bit Windows

There’s just one more thing that I’d like to see LockHunter do, and that’s add a command-line interface. I have some scheduled tasks that used to use Unlocker’s command-line functionality to ensure that a a file wasn’t locked before trying to perform an operation on it. Unfortunately automated tactics like this don’t appear to be possible in LockHunter, but I’m sure that’s something they could easily add. Oh, and a portable version would also be pretty cool.

LockHunter Homepage (Windows only; freeware)
[via Lifehacker & gHacks)