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How to Delete Locked Malware Files?

written by: Donna Buenaventura•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 7/26/2010

Anti-malware scanner is often targeted by spyware and malware by running its processes so you cannot run a scan on the computer. Some malware will disable access to important system utilities – Task Manager, Registry Editor and System Configuration. Find out how to deal with the situation.

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    Stubborn files added by malware or left-over by legitimate by already removed programs is not easy to handle if you don’t have access to utilities that is designed to terminate the files or if you are not comfortable in using command prompt in Windows. This article will discuss scenario on why a file is locked, cannot be deleted because it is in use or access is denied and how you can shoot them in easy way.

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    Locked Files: Access Denied or File in Use by another Program

    If the program is in use in Windows or you have no permission to delete a file, you will see a dialogue box “Access is Denied” when deleting a file. If the file you want to delete is associated to a running process, you will not be able to delete the file successfully unless the associated processes has been killed or unloaded. There are files that are added by malware or spyware and if the processes of the malware are running, cleaning up the system will fail unless your anti-malware removal engine is smart enough to unload and terminate the offending processes files before proceeding to delete. Often, this is a failure in many anti-malware: to remove infection because the malware scanner failed to unlock, unload and terminate the process.

    Booting to safe mode often help to delete locked malware files but that is possible only if the malicious processes will not run in safe mode.

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    Tools to Delete Locked Malware Files?

    You can choose to use several tools to handle locked malware files or files that are in use by legitimate programs and remnants but locked files. Below are some of the tools that you can use:

    Free security software programs that have the functionality to delete, unlock, terminate or unload files within the program:

    If the Task Manager, Registry Editor and System Configuration utilities in Windows have been disabled, your PC is likely infected by malware or spyware or a rogue program has disabled these critical system utilities. You will need any of the above programs so keep them handy in a flash drive or on your PC.