Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Outlook 2007/2010 File Delete Quirk

Posted by William Diaz on July 20, 2010


I ran into this one when troubleshooting The Case of the Crashing Email with a different version of Outlook. I created a test folder to save the crashing email message attachments. When I was done, I went to delete the folder and received: “Error Deleting File or Folder. Cannot delete filename. It is being used by another person or program…”

There was no problem deleting the message file inside the folder. Curious, I opened Process Explorer and did a search for c:\test to see what process had an open handle on the folder. As you can see, it is Outlook:

I don’t know if this is by design or just a bug but couldn’t find anything official from Microsoft on the issue. I have since upgraded to Outlook 2010 and the behavior remains.

By the way, instead of closing Outlook to resolve, you can use a nifty little feature of Process Explorer to release the handle on the folder. Click the search result above to open the handles window, right-click the folder and select Close Handle. The folder can now be deleted.

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