Skip to content

Published: November 4, 2015 | Applies to:

Got "The action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program" warning for network folders in Windows 10? Try this fix.

Generally, if a file is open in a program, then Windows blocks other programs to use the same file. This mostly happens with system files and folders. So basically for the operations like move, copy, cut etc., the condition is that file shouldn’t be in use under any running program, otherwise operation will be denied.

Recently, we faced a problem regarding this with some network folders. In this scenario, we have two File Explorer windows open and both showing same network path with different sub-folders. Now, if we move folders from one window to another, follow warning comes into play:

The action can’t be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program.

Close the folder or file and try again.

FIX The Action Cannot Be Completed Because The Folder Or A File In It Is Open In Another Program In Windows 10

For standalone machine operations, we can easily understand the message and verify the programs, due to which this warning can be resulted. However, in case of network foldesr, this won’t work and you have to try something different. After investing a bit, we found that this is known issue and it can be easily tackled via registry manipulation or by configuring a Group Policy.

So here are the ways to fix, do try them as per your convenience.

FIX : The Action Can’t Be Completed Because The Folder Or A File In It Is Open In Another Program In Windows 10

FIX 1 – Using Local Group Policy Editor (LGPO)

1. Press W8K + R and put gpedit.msc in Run dialog box to open Local Group Policy Editor. Click OK.

Local Group Policy Editor

2. Next, in the Local Group Policy Editor window, navigate here:

User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> File Explorer

FIX The Action Cannot Be Completed Because The Folder Or A File In It Is Open In Another Program In Windows 10

3. At this Group Policy path, make File Explorer folder highlighted in left pane (refer above shown window) and in the corresponding right pane, look for the Setting named Turn off the caching of thumbnails in hidden thumbs.db files. You’ll find that this policy is set to Not Configured by default. We have to enable this policy to solve this issue. So double click on it to get this:

FIX The Action Cannot Be Completed Because The Folder Or A File In It Is Open In Another Program In Windows 10

4. Finally, select Enabled option in above shown window. Click Apply followed by OK. Close Local Group Policy Editor and reboot to get fixed.

FIX 2 – Using Registry Manipulation

Registry Disclaimer: The further steps will involve registry manipulation. Making mistakes while manipulating registry could affect your system adversely. So be careful while editing registry entries and create a System Restore point first.

1. Press W8K + R and put regedit in Run dialog box to open Registry Editor (if you’re not familiar with Registry Editor, then click here). Click OK.

Windows 10 Registry Editor

2. In the left pane of Registry Editor, navigate to following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

FIX The Action Cannot Be Completed Because The Folder Or A File In It Is Open In Another Program In Windows 10

3. Next, highlight the Explorer key and come to its corresponding right pane. In the right pane, do a right click and select New -> DWORD Value. Name the newly created DWORD as DisableThumbsDBOnNetworkFolders. Now double click on the registry DWORD to get this:

FIX The Action Cannot Be Completed Because The Folder Or A File In It Is Open In Another Program In Windows 10

4. Lastly, set the Value data to 1 in the Edit DWORD Value box shown above. Click OK and close Registry Editor, restart your machine to make changes effective.

Hope this helps! See this fix, if explorer not starting automatically after user logon in Windows.


SHARE: Facebook Google+ Twitter

2 Comments

  • You can also disable this option per machine in Folder Options – View Tab – Always show icons, never thumbnails. Had this issue on a Win 7 box and this article pointed me in the right direction. Thanks!

  • Kapil Arya

    ^^ Thanks for adding this! Glad we could help :)

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    What's New


    Recent Comments

    • Praveenraj : Thanks for your help !!!!...

      2 hours ago

    • Amit : Thank you so much !...

      21 hours ago

    • Manotosh : at first i can browse in 3g speed in my 2g data packs.but no...

      1 day ago

    • Kapil Arya : ^^ This means problem is with your network connection, not W...

      1 day ago


    Windows Group Policy Troubleshooting