Top 5 Free Unlocker Alternatives for Windows (2018 Update)

Unlocker has been regarded as one of the best tools in unlocking files. But the latest version has lost many users after adding adware offers to the installer. To avoid the adware getting installed, select ‘Advanced‘ and uncheck the addon during setup. Aside from that, Unlocker hasn’t been updated since May 2013 so this tool may not work with newer operating systems such as Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. Good thing, there are a lot of Unlocker alternatives that can perform the job very well.

These free alternatives to Unlocker were assessed individually to determine their strengths and weaknesses. By that, you can pick a tool that fits your preference. (Note: that the download links for these tools are available at the end of this article.)

1IObit Unlocker

Popular system utility maker IObit now competes with other file unlocking utility for Windows. Once installed, IObit Unlocker automatically integrates into Windows Explorer shell and available by way of right-click context menu where you can select multiple files and folders and click the IObit Unlocker entry. Looking at Unlocker’s interface, it is very easy to understand and neat-looking. The program supports ‘drag and drop’ for faster file operations.

Your chosen files will appear in its top window and clicking on a file with a status of Locked will show which processes have locked it. To delete a file simply choose the Unlock and Delete option from the middle drop-down button. Additionally, there is a Forced Mode tick box option that will terminate all related processes if the normal mode doesn’t work.

2LockHunter

Another file unlocker utility called LockHunter also handles the job very well. The easiest way to unlock a file is via Windows Explorer context menu entry labeled as “What is locking this file.” To start, right-click a file and click that context menu to launch LockHunter tool. Then, it will identify which process is locking the file. From there, you can do unlock or delete operations.

Additionally, it gives you extra options such as:

  • unlock & rename
  • unlock & copy terminate locking process
  • delete locking process from disk
  • delete at next system restart.

Don’t worry, files deleted by LockHunter can still be recovered from Recycle Bin in case you make a mistake removing a file

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3DeadLock

Deadlock program comes with pretty straightforward features and a familiar interface. It also supports ‘drag and drop‘ feature for added convenience. DeadLock checks all files and folders you have added to the interface, and displays status information for each item. Locked indicates that the file is currently locked by another program or system application. You can find the information about that process under details mostly, but you may also get a status of unknown or unlocked.

The information displayed may reveal the details of the program responsible for locking the file. It shows the file name, path, and the process ID.

Right-click the file then select the locked icon in the interface and then the unlock button to unlock it so that you can perform the desired operation.

One downside I’ve noticed is it cannot unlock multiple files in one go, instead, it will launch a separate process for each file selected for processing. That’s impractical and time consuming if there are a bunch of files to unlock.

As of version 1.3, DeadLock can take ownership of files and folders. Aside from that, you can also enable the Windows Explorer shell integration. Simply go to Tools then Settings, Advanced tab. This option enables you to right-click on files or folders to unlock them from within Windows Explorer without having to launch DeadLock first. For power users, command-line arguments are also supported.

This Unlocker alternative doesn’t also come with a third-party offer to the installer, Yay!

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4EMCO Unlock IT

EMCO UnLock IT is another Unlocker alternative that provides effective ways of unlocking files and folders that are locked by running program.

The program’s user interface looks decent and easy-to-use.  I would say this app is the best among all other unlocker programs in this regard. Similar to a typical Microsoft application, it has quick access toolbar, a ribbon, a few buttons and a pane in which to display the locking process. Hence, it is designed for all kinds of users.

With regards to functionality, this program enables you to select a file that you know is locked with the help of a file browser. Windows Explorer shell integration is enabled by default. It also supports ‘drag and drop’ of multiple files. Upon detection of processes that holds lock for selected files or folder, the results will be displayed in their designated areas which includes name, description, process ID, executable path and permissions.

You can show up further details (owner details, memory working set, CPU load, priority class etc.), by double-clicking the process icon. Furthermore, you unlock the items by closing the file handles or by terminating the process. You can view recent processed items, as well as change the skin of the program from a built-in list.

UnLock IT also did an excellent job. It does not degrade the computer’s performance and it performs as expected without bugs or crashes. The installer comes with a helpful manual and apps skins but it does not offer any pesky add-ons.

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5Malwarebytes FileASSASSIN

Malwarebytes has become popular because of their effective anti-malware solution which actually includes FileASSASSIN tool. FileASSASSIN is accessible from the More Tools tab.

This unlocker tool can attempt to process your files through the following methods:

  • Unlock file handles
  • Unload modules
  • Terminate file’s process
  • Delete file (optional)

There is also an option to mark the file for deletion on reboot or execute a normal delete operation.

FileASSASSIN can be operated through a file browser, or a drag-and-drop a single file on to its window. Then you’ll notice that the first 3 options are selected by default except the Delete option (unless you want to delete the file) and click Execute. In my test, it wasn’t able to delete a file when running on Windows 10. Probably because it hasn’t been updated since 2007 (unfortunately). Nevertheless, I recommend to use it on Windows 7 or XP.

Unlocker alternatives: version details and download links

Unlocker alternatives: version details

Download links:

IObit Unlocker: https://www.majorgeeks.com/mg/getmirror/iobit_unlocker,1.html
LockHunter: https://lockhunter.com/downloadnow.htm
Deadlock: https://codedead.com/Software/DeadLock/dl_setup.exe
Unlock IT: https://storage.emcosoftware.com/download/unlockit/UnLockITSetup.exe
FileASSASSIN: https://downloads.malwarebytes.com/file/fileassassin/

Portable version:

IObit Unlocker: https://www.majorgeeks.com/mg/getmirror/iobit_unlocker_portable,1.html
FileASSASSIN: https://www.softpedia.com/get/PORTABLE-SOFTWARE/Antivirus—Antispyware/Windows-Portable-Applications-Portable-FileASSASSIN.shtml#download