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Error deleting file or folder

29 novembre 2003


One of the things that annoys me most of Windows is its supposed user-friendliness. One of its prime examples is its stubborn refusal to delete or move a file when it thinks a process has locked it. Sometimes it does it right, not allowing you to disrupt a running process by removing one its open resources, more often it just gets in the way. Sometimes giving the same command from the console enables you to delete/move the file, sometimes not. A few days ago I was so frustrated by this behaviour that I set out to find a solution to it.

One of the first links that pops up in Google if you search for windows “cannot delete” points to a Microsoft KB article appropriately titled You Cannot Delete a File or a Folder. Among the usual suggestions like verifying ACLs or file system integrity, the document points you to yet another KB article titled How to: Display a List of Processes That Have Files Open, which seems more relevant to the problem at hand. This document suggests you to download Process Explorer, a little-known free utility that allows you to browse open processes, display and close their open file handles, and lots of other useful things. If you haven’t heard of it before, and develop on Windows or power-use it, I definitely recommend downloading it.


29 novembre 2003


Not much traffic here lately. I’ve been away to Cambridge (MA) for a while, then got back and had to work pretty hard since I have new projects to manage at work.

The new projects are all Windows-based, so I had to reinstall XP on my office desktop. After many months of using only Linux both at the office and at home, I was suprised by Windows speed, especially in dealing with local files. Of course it’s not hard to be faster than Nautilus, and in Linux I almost never use a graphical filemanager anyway, but it was a pleasant surprise.

After reinstalling Windows I spent some time trying to beautify my desktop. One of the things I have always envyed OSX is its wonderful panel, and after digging around for a while I found ObjectDock which is a really great piece of software. It emulates the Mac OSX panel in Windows, and can be used as a Windows toolbar replacement. There are lots of icons, skins, and docklets (clocks, system monitors, etc.) available from wincustomize, more docklets from YZdocklets, and a C++ SDK if you feel like developing your own docklets. Definitely recommended.