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New Windows 'LockSmith' PowerToy lets you free locked files
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Microsoft has a new utility to the PowerToys toolset that will help Windows users find the processes using selected files and unlock them without requiring a third-party tool.

PowerToys 0.64.0 also adds a Windows hosts file editor and a long list of bug fixes and changes that add stability and improve the other built-in tools.


As its name implies, the new File Locksmith utility can be used to deal with locked files that can't be deleted or opened because Windows says another process is using them.

"File Locksmith lists which processes are using the selected files or directories and allows closing those processes," the tool's description reads.

While, until now, most users would have to install a third-party program designed to get rid of the "locked" status, you can now check which files are being used by which processes by right-clicking them in the File Explorer and clicking "What's using this file?" in the context menu.

You can then terminate any processes found by File Locksmith or scan again using administrator privileges to look for processes launched by all users.


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Today's release also bundles a new Hosts File Editor utility that helps manage the Windows Hosts file's contents, enabling force linking or mapping hostnames to IP addresses.

The tool will help you add new entries to the Hosts files and update the ones already available. It also has a filter feature to quickly sieve through large files and narrow down the results list.

"Hosts File Editor creates a backup of the hosts file before editing session," Microsoft explains in a support document.

"The backup files are located near by hosts file in %SystemRoot%/System32/drivers/etc named hosts_PowerToysBackup_YYYYMMDDHHMMSS


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The PowerToys toolset initially came as a collection of tiny freeware utilities created as side projects by Windows developers during the Windows 95 era.

Microsoft decided to revive them in September 2019 when it released the first version of modern PowerToys as an open-source utility pack designed to provide Windows users with extra functionality.

To install the latest Microsoft PowerToys version, you have to download and launch the PowerToys 0.64 installer from the project's GitHub page.

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