Windows 7: Cannot delete/rename/move MKV files

The Problem: When you try to delete, rename or move a Matroska/*.mkv file, you get an error message that the file is currently in use — even if you just started the computer and haven’t opened that file.

Searching for that error description I stumbled over several old threads (from 2009 and onwards) with multiple explanations and solutions; three of those workarounds helped me in the past: Interesingly, the tips one and two only worked a single time each, but after applying tip number three, I’ve yet to come across the problem again).

  1. Boot into Safe Mode (press and hold the F8 key before the Windows logo appears) and then edit/delete the file(s) with the Windows Explorer.

  2. Open the Task Manager and kill the process for explorer.exe.

  3. Then open a new process for cmd.exe with the Task Manager and work with that problematic file from there (cd to the directory, mv, ren or del the file with the command prompt).

  4. When done, simply restart the Explorer (open a new process again from the Task Manager, explorer.exe this time).

  5. If it applies to your system: Uninstall “DivX” plus its codecs. Even without a reboot, I could delete the files again after that (even from my main workstation remotely on Windows XP systems).