Windows won’t let you copy a file or folder? This is how you solve it

During the same session with our Windows-based team, normally, directly or indirectly, we deal with many files and folders. Whether their own, programs, or the system, these elements are basic on the PC. Therefore errors when copying files or folders can be a serious setback.

As we say, these elements could be considered as keys on any PC, but they are not exempt from possible failures in their treatment. It is precisely for this reason that sometimes we can find errors related to the files or folders that are part of the PC software . But as is usual in Windows, many of these errors have a solution, so we must not despair.

Faults that we can find when copying files or folders

One of these most common errors that we refer to here is the one that says Error when copying the file or folder. As you can imagine, it appears when we have to copy files or folders from one disk to another, or to another location. One of the most common reasons for it, generally tends to be that the files we are trying to copy are being used by some other application .

It may also be the case that these elements that we are talking about, when trying to change their location, are busy with another process. Of course, it must be taken into account that the Windows operating system itself usually blocks the files that are in use. This prevents any other process or program from modifying it in the meantime. But as we told you before, if necessary, many of these errors that occur unexpectedly in Windows have a solution, as we will see.

It must be said that most of the solutions that we will talk about below to solve this problem are related to a program that blocks access to those files.

Fix error when copying files or folders in Windows

As we have mentioned, one of the main reasons why this annoying failure can occur is that Windows has that content blocked. Sure, the problem here is that we don’t know how or the reasons for them. At that moment, what we really need is to copy that file or that folder to its new location, without further ado. Therefore, initially one of the fastest and most effective solutions is to restart the PC , and try again.

This usually fixes many of the problems that occur on the Redmond system, but let’s look at other solutions if the bug persists.

Change the display mode in File Explorer

One of the possible solutions that we can use in this regard, is changing the preview to preview in the File Explorer . Say that this content display mode allows us to see a preview of the files in a directory. Thus, depending on the number of these, the File Explorer may take a while to generate it, especially if we open it infrequently.

Therefore, during the generation of the preview, the files are locked, by the system, and if we try to copy them before the process is complete, the error occurs. It is evident that to solve it we only have to deactivate the preview mode. This is something we can do from the View tab of the Explorer itself, or by using the keyboard shortcut ALT + P.

Close programs that use those files

As we have mentioned, while a certain program or process is using a file, it is blocked by Windows. The same can occur if these elements that we want to copy from one location to another are being used by another user. Therefore, to definitively end that process that has the file or files open, it is best to access the Task Manager.

We can enter this section by using the key combination Ctrl + Shift + Esc . Here a new window composed of several tabs opens, but the one that interests us here is the Processes one. In it we will see all the system processes and the programs open at that time. After taking a look and locating what we are looking for, we just have to right-click on the entry that interests us, and select the Finish option

Use Microsoft’s file troubleshooter

Another very interesting measure that we can use in this case is a specific program designed for this type of task. Actually we refer to a free application that we can download from this link and that belongs to Microsoft itself.

Once we put it into operation in Windows, this software solution is responsible, by itself, to solve several problems with these components. As is evident, it is also in charge of helping us if we have problems when copying files or folders.

Free up disk space to be able to copy files

A very common error in these cases is that we are trying to copy a certain file or a complete folder to another drive or location, but without space. This means that the destination drive is full, so Windows will inform us of this by launching an error that indicates the impossibility of copying that content. Therefore in this case the solution is very simple, we only have to delete programs or files from the destination, or choose another.

For example, to uninstall programs safely and effectively, the Control Panel has a function that will be very helpful. This can be found in the Programs / Uninstall a program section.

Scan your computer for viruses

In the event that nothing that we have discussed so far works, perhaps the problem comes from another source, not from the system as such. And there is always the possibility that there is a malicious program on the computer that is blocking those files and folders that we want to copy . Therefore, if necessary, it will never hurt to carry out a complete scan of the computer using Windows Defender or any other third-party antivirus.

This assures us that we are working with a team free of all types of malware that could be damaging the functioning of the system itself. And it is that current malicious codes can attack practically any Windows component, as is the case at hand.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

Leave a Comment