Windows 11 update gives users more control over what's using a file

Windows 11 File Explorer on a PC in an office
(Image credit: TechRadar)

While File Explorer will finally be gaining tabs in the next update to Windows 11, now that the first major 2022 update for it is available, PowerToys is also bringing in a useful update to see what's using your files as it's slowing down your PC.

PowerToys is an app that has a collection of tools to help improve your PC or laptop, from putting a spotlight on your mouse to easily find it, or adding some additional tools to File Explorer, which is where this latest update comes in.

According to Windows Latest, this upcoming update to PowerToys enables you to right-click, and in the context menu, select an option to find out exactly which processes are using the file in question.

Called 'File Locksmith', this could be very useful if you've been coming across moments where some files have been selected, and they've slowed down your PC for a long period of time.

A Locksmith at the ready

In an update on GitHub, developer ivanstosic-janea explains the feature in more detail, where a window will pop up, showing which processes are using the file, and you can 'kill' these to stop the file using these.

This can be useful in a bunch of ways, as you can more quickly find out why your PC is slowing down, and stop the file in question instead of restarting your PC completely.

The feature is still in testing and not available to users as yet, but in the meantime, we do recommend installing PowerToys regardless, as it can easily cut down some steps in renaming a bunch of files at once for example.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.