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Cannot delete a pdf file

New Here ,
Feb 20, 2013 Feb 20, 2013

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After opening and closing a pdf file in the latest version of Adobe Reader, I've noticed a bug. When I try to delete the recently viewed pdf file, I can't because Windows says that the program is open in another program. However, when I click details, there are no details. This is exasperating. I have never had this problem before when I've worked with pdf files. Please help.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Beginner , May 05, 2015 May 05, 2015

I was having the same problem today. Was trying to delete a load of unwanted pdf files out of my downloads folder using Windows Explorer. I am using Windows 8.1.

I discovered that if I turned off the preview pane in Windows Explorer that the files would delete simply by right click and "Delete". It seems that the preview pane was holding the file and therefore preventing its deletion.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 20, 2013 Feb 20, 2013

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I have had this happen with many different programs including Word and Excel. Some programs do not release their hold on files, until they quit, others until they have finished writting to disk. You might think when you close a file, the program and OS should commit the changes and let the file go. Alas, sometimes the program and/or OS says I'll do it, just wait until I get around to it.

Quitting the program is sometimes the only way to get the program and/or OS to let go of the file.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 20, 2013 Feb 20, 2013

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Check with the Task Manager's Processes tab if AcroRd32.exe is still running in the background.  If so, end the process.

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New Here ,
Feb 27, 2013 Feb 27, 2013

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When this bug occurred again, I did open task manager, but AcroRd.exe wasn't running. I did close adobe update that was running, but that didn't help. However, I am given an option in my windows folder to permanently delete the file in question (as opposed to just moving the file to the recycle bin) and that worked. Thank you for your suggestions.

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New Here ,
Jul 18, 2014 Jul 18, 2014

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Thank you for the info re making the delete permanent rather than sending to the recycle bin.  seems to be a bug in the interface twixt Reader XI and Win 8.1 that stops a simple "send to recycle" working.

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Community Beginner ,
May 05, 2015 May 05, 2015

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I was having the same problem today. Was trying to delete a load of unwanted pdf files out of my downloads folder using Windows Explorer. I am using Windows 8.1.

I discovered that if I turned off the preview pane in Windows Explorer that the files would delete simply by right click and "Delete". It seems that the preview pane was holding the file and therefore preventing its deletion.

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Guest
Oct 10, 2015 Oct 10, 2015

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turning off the preview pane does not work for me using win10 - this is an incredibly annoying bug, to the point of uninstalling Acrobat

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New Here ,
May 17, 2015 May 17, 2015

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THANK YOU! This has been driving me crazy! Your preview pane, did the trick!!!

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New Here ,
Oct 16, 2021 Oct 16, 2021

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On the topic on the preview pane itself, does anyone know why this preview pane seems to have a mind of its own in that without making any changes to settings it will sometimes not show the preview of the file in the pane?

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New Here ,
Feb 20, 2016 Feb 20, 2016

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Awesome.  Thanks. 

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New Here ,
May 03, 2016 May 03, 2016

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The easiest method is to left click the files(s) to select. Then depress and hold the SHIFT key, then depress the delete key. Problem solved. No need to toggle settings.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 15, 2021 Jul 15, 2021

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That does not work.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 24, 2016 Jun 24, 2016

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I'm running Windows 10 and none of the above solutions work for me.  Extremely frustrating.

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New Here ,
Mar 22, 2017 Mar 22, 2017

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The only way I found in Windows 10 to delete these as they are showing open in another application, is to highlight the pdf and "rename" the file.  I used delete this file for a filename.  After this I just right clicked and selected delete and sent it to the recycle bin.  I did clear the preview screen as well and have tried this with it showing.  Hope this helps.@

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New Here ,
Nov 07, 2022 Nov 07, 2022

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This is how to DEL .pdf files that are STUCK on your Desktop - 

Whether the files are PDF or anything else, a strategy would be the same. And not just for Windows 10, but any version.

Let’s assume that they are all in the same folder (since you would simply repeat this in each folder. I hope there aren’t too many.)

Your life will be simpler if the only ones in that folder are your nasty targets. Assuming that you wish to delete ALL these files in that folder, do the following: use the CMD prompt.

Click Windows_key+r and open the Run window. The command to enter is cmd, and click OK. You will get a command window. At the prompt use the cd command to navigate to the folder of interest. You might have to go one folder at a time, such as cd C:\ then cd Users, the cd <your username>, then cd Documents, etc. Then you will be able to use the DEL command. You could enter del /? to see its help info, how it can be used. To delete ALL the files in the folder enter del *. Of course you could have just deleted the folder, even in the File Explorer.

If you do NOT wish to remove all of them, you need a way to select the ones you wish. If there is some common word or sequence of text in the names desired, you can say del *common_word* where that 1st asterisk matches anything before the common_word and the 2nd one matches anything after. If there are spaces in filenames it is more complicated and I would recommend an alternative using the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) available in Windows 10. It has a better tool.

If you have turned on the WSL and have Cortana search in your taskbar, click the search icon and enter bash. The bash on Ubuntu on Windows app will offered. Click that and get a bash window. Yep, you are using Linux. Don’t be afraid.

The folder you start in is a Linux folder. At the prompt enter cd /mnt/c. Similar to before at the cmd prompt. Now navigate to the folder desired, as before. cd Users, cd <your username>, then cd Documents, etc. to the desired folder. Now you can use the ls command to see all the files in the folder if you wish. To delete the files after seeing and selecting each one in the folder enter rm -i at the prompt. The system will present each file (usually alphabetically, but in sort order), and if you wish to delete, enter y. If not, enter n. Again, I hope you do not have too many. You can see the description of the rm command by entering rm —help at the prompt.

Again, there are more efficient ways to do this if one knows bash wildcards to specify the filenames. If the filenames you wish to delete have some distinguishing characteristic one can write a single command (really in either Windows cmd, or bash) to select the files to operate on. Too much for this answer. Good luck.

This allowed you to delete existing files with excessively long names, mostly because you did not have to enter the names. The system showed you the file and you said, yes delete. There is also a rename capability in both Windows and Linux. It is ren in Windows (enter ren /? at the command prompt to see how it works) or mv in Linux. In both cases the tricky part is getting the system to loop through all the filenames. One uses a for loop in both cases, but, again it is the use of wildcards to specify the filenames for expansion which is the power. (In Linux, mv has an interactive form, so one could rename files to a manageable shorter name.) Without some idea of the form of these filenames of yours, the one-by-one interactive removal if you don’t want to delete all in the folder is simplest.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Once in CMD mode, how do I navigate to my desktop?   

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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never mind that part - I'm now in CMD mode, at desktop.   

When I attempt to rename or delete, I receive this error:

"The system cannot find the file specified."

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 11, 2023 Dec 11, 2023

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Below is the file name in question.  I'm able to targetit for deletion using ' mysmart*.* '  The system still gives me the error "The system cannot find the file specified."

 

mysmartmove.com_SmartMove_login_criminal_report_detail.page_RenterAccountId=16053562&ApplicationId=1000017317816&RequestedProductId=1249d763-f0db-4f28-8529-4f251a5a0c12&ProductSourceName=Texas&RequestedProductDetailId=7d714e38-6bd5-4a8b-9b80-27d502355.pdf

 

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New Here ,
Apr 20, 2024 Apr 20, 2024

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To delete an unwanted pdf file, select the ugly red box, depress and hold down the shift button and  hit Delete...Poof it's gone.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 21, 2024 Apr 21, 2024

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LATEST
no, that does not work. These are odd files, super long file names
-
M

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