Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Quickly Find Those File Handles

Posted by William Diaz on April 3, 2012

Every now and then some app somewhere is going to hook into some user file and prevent it from loading when its host application is opening up, resulting in some kind of error. A common one is when opening Outlook: “The file C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost is in use and could not be accessed. Close any application that is using this file, and then try again.


The question is, which application?

The answer is Process Explorer. After launching, simply CTRL+F and search for the file in use, in this case outlook.ost.

Now simply kill the process that has the handle on the file, in this case communicator.exe. Start it again afterwards. No lengthy reboots required.


One Response to “Quickly Find Those File Handles”

  1. […] Quickly Find Those File Handles […]

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