How to fix the Cannot delete Avi Bug in Windows Xp

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 28, 2006
Updated • May 4, 2013
Tutorials, Windows tips, Windows XP

The Windows XP operating system has a bug in regards to avi video files. Sometimes when you try to delete avi files on your system, either by hitting the delete key on your keyboard or choosing delete from the context menu, you will receive a permission denied error message. This is caused by Windows Explorer trying to retrieve information about the file as soon as you move your mouse over it or select it in the file browser. When that is happening, you can't move, copy or delete the avi file anymore as Explorer has locked the file which effectively blocks any attempt to manipulate it.

Now, the fix is fairly simple. Just fire up regedit by pressing the Windows and R key at the same time, typing in regedit in the form and tapping on the enter key. Find the following entry and remove it.


If you don't have that entry you have to find the registry key below:


Delete the default value which should be enough to get this issue sorted out.

Update: Windows XP users who do not want to edit their Registry for that, can install a file deletion tool like the excellent Unlocker instead which can delete files that cannot be deleted because they are still locked by the operating system or a process.

All it takes is to install Unlocker on the system, which adds context menu options to Windows Explorer. You need to restart the computer after installation before the new options become available.

Just select the unlocker option afterwards after you have selected the avi or avis in Windows Explorer. You then have options to delete the files right away or on next reboot. Both options should work just fine. Unlocker is fully compatible with the windows XP operating system, and also with newer versions of Windows.


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  1. Parminder said on June 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks, it really helped my problem

  2. RyAn said on November 18, 2009 at 9:08 am

    rename it to a .csv

    open with excel

    delete everything

    save the csv

    close excel

    delete the csv


  3. Markus said on August 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks! I tried all kinds of other things that people suggested, and this finally worked.

  4. Anonymous said on June 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    How comes that Microsoft don’t want to fix that problem them self? It should be their responsibility…

  5. Rohit said on December 12, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Or u could just close the directory where the file is, go to dos mode (CMD.exe) and delete file from there….saves u from accidentally messing up your registry

  6. john said on January 18, 2008 at 6:32 am

    thanx for the tip. i just wish i would have read this before purchasing a regcare program that didn’t work.

  7. paul said on May 6, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    can this FIX also help with MP3 files? i had a problem with “getpopupinfo.exe” from dbpoweramp not allowing me to delete a an MP3 file. i used WHOLOCKME to see what was blocking it and it said getpopupinfo.exe. i used 3 programs (incluing MS tasks option) to close the getpopupinfo.exe program but it kept reappearing. supposedly i have to change a DBP option, but was unable to even get there ( i ended up uninstalling DBP.

  8. Martin said on April 28, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    Yes Iam using Unlocker but if you watch lots of Avi movies its simply to much work to always select unlocker to unlock the avi.

    With the tip you can delete it immediatly. I´am using unlocker for other files though ;)

  9. Lobo Schmidt said on April 28, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    That’s a nice tip and a good thing to learn.

    But you can also use the Unlocker (a freeware that I learn about here, thanks again) to do this tip and a lot of another ones:

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