When renaming, Error: "Folder In Use" even when it is not


As the title suggests, I often receive the following error message when renaming folders:

"Folder In Use. The action can't be completed because the folder is open in Adobe Acrobat"

However that is not the case. I even restart my computer to make sure nothing is accidentally left open in the background. I have even tried renaming folders with just a single, simple PDF inside that has never even been opened. I just have the standard, free Adobe Reader installed and I have never messed with any of the default settings.

I can get around it by closing everything related to it in the task manager, then waiting a while and renaming. But for my job I deal a LOT with PDFs, am often managing loads of files and folders, making and reading PDF reports, etc. It is a huge time loss to continuously have to work around this issue.

Is there any way I can force windows to move/rename folders regardless of when the files are in use? I am careful enough not to do so when I actually have a working file open (at least open in the forefront where the average user can see it).

Thank-you very much for your help,


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
There is no way you can erase a file which is currently flagged as "in use". I suggest you use autoruns (free download from here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx and use it to identify and suspend whatever startup item is causing the folder to be in use. Provided that it not some essential activity or process then you can remove the offending item from startup.

Or simply reboot and try it again....that error message pops up when that file is in use by the OS.....whether you started it or not.

I found that out with skype, which had files opened or in use and couldn't shut it down what ever I was doing with that file. I had to track it back to its source...which ended up being skype and all I had to do was close skype then I could take what ever action I wanted to with said file in question.


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Premium Supporter
The left and right preview panes are common causes of this issue… the two example screen shots show folders "in use" by myself because I have them previewed.
Screenshot (138).png

Screenshot (139).png

You can set windows 8 or 8.1.1 to ignore these when deleting but the default setting is to block deletion in this situation.

Thank-you very much to everyone, that was very helpful information.

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