Some Windows users have reported that they regularly see the ‘The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process‘ error when trying to download peer-to-peer content via BitTorrent. This particular issue is confirmed to occur across many different BitTorrent builds.
After investigating this particular issue, it turns out that there are several different underlying causes that might be causing this error code inside BitTorrent. Here’s a list of potential culprits:
- The file is currently in use by a different application – By far, the most common instance that will trigger this error is an instance in which the torrent client is attempting to write to a file that is currently being accessed by a different process or application. Most commonly, this is caused by a Finder, File Indexing software, or ISO mounting software. To fix this particular issue, you’ll need to stop the other application at the time when BitTorrent is trying to write on it.
- The Torrent is downloaded in a cloud storage application – As it turns out, you can also expect to encounter this problem if you just downloaded the torrent in a location that’s also maintained by a cloud storage service like OneDrive, DropBox, or Drive. To fix this particular scenario, all you need to do is re-download the file in a different location outside the scope of a storage service.
- 3rd party AV interference – Another scenario that is confirmed to trigger this error is interference caused by an AV suite that ends up quarantining parts from the torrent files (either for legitimate reasons or due to a false positive). If this scenario is applicable, you can stop this from occurring either by whitelisting the torrent folder, disabling the AV suite, or by uninstalling it altogether.
Now that you know every potential culprit that might be the underlying cause of the ‘The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process‘ error, here’s a list of verified methods that should allow you to fix the issue:
Method 1: Close all Application Processes that might be interfering
If you’re just starting to troubleshoot this particular issue, the first thing you’re going to want to do is to ensure that no 3rd party application that is currently running is actually attempting to write data on the same files as BitTorrent tries to do the same.
It’s not uncommon for file indexers like File Explorer (Windows) and Finder (macOS) to cause this issue, so ensure that the folder of the torrent that’s currently triggering the error is not currently opened in a file indexing tool.
Another potential culprit is Diamond Tool or an alternative that is also capable of mounting ISO files – We’ve managed to find a lot of user reports confirming that in their case, the issue started occurring right after they mounted an ISO file that was still seeding inside BitTorrent.
Important: If closing the applications conventionally doesn’t end up fixing the issue, you should take the time to ensure that no background processes belonging to the suspected applications are still causing this issue. To do this, press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager, then scroll down through the processes tab and close down any process (by right-clicking > End Task) that belongs to the interfering applications.
In case you have already closed off any application that might be causing the ‘The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process‘ error in BitTorrent and the same problem is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.
Method 2: Redownloading the File outside a dropbox / Drive / OneDrive folder (if applicable)
Another scenario that has the potential of triggering the error in BitTorrent is if you attempted to download a torrent file (via BitTorrent) in a location that’s currently maintained by Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox.
This will end up causing a conflict between BitTorrent and the cloud storage application if both of them are trying to access files from that particular folder at the same time.
Several affected users that faced the same issue have reported that the only viable way of fixing the issue, in this case, is to simply delete the torrent from the cloud storage location and re-downloading it again in a regular location beyond the scope of Drive, OneDrive, or DropBox.
If you’re not sure how to do this, follow the instructions below:
- Open BitTorrent, then right-click on the torrent that is throwing the error and click on Remove And > Delete .torrent + data.
- Double-click on the .torrent file again, and select a different location that’s outside the scope of your cloud storage solution.
If this issue is still not resolved yet, move down to the next method below.
Method 3: Stopping the Antivirus Interference (if applicable)
As it turns out, you can also expect to experience this issue if your antivirus is flagging torrent files that you’ve just downloaded due to a false positive. If you find yourself in this particular scenario, you have 3 ways forward:
- Disabling the Antivirus suite
- Whitelisting the download folder of BitTorrent in your AV suite
- Uninstalling the 3rd party antivirus suite (if applicable)
Depending on the severity of the ‘The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process‘ error, feel free to pick one of the sub-guides below.
If you’re looking for a temporary fix that will allow you to complete the download, go for sub guide A.
If you want to fix the issue without making any underlying changes to your security protocols, go for sub guide B.
And finally, if you can do without the current 3rd party AV, follow sub guide C.
A. Disabling the Antivirus Suite
Several affected users have reported that they managed to prevent this issue from appearing temporarily (just enough to complete the download of the torrent by temporarily disabling the real-time protection of your antivirus.
If you’re using a 3rd party AV suite, you can typically disable the real-time protection by right-clicking on the antivirus tray bar icon and looking for an option that allows you to temporarily disable its shields.
NOTE: If you’re using the built-in AV (Windows Defender + Windows Firewall), follow these steps to disable the real-time protection.
B. Whitelisting the download folder of BitTorrent
If you’re fond of your Antivirus suite, the most elegant solution (but also the most tedious one) is to whitelist the download folder that you use for the peer-to-peer content downloaded via BitTorrent in order to prevent your AV from interfering.
This is effective in situations where the ‘The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process‘ error is being caused by the fact that your AV suite is attempting to scan the same torrent files that BitTorrent is attempting to write on.
Note: If you’re using a 3rd party suite, search online for specific steps on how how to do it according to the software that you’re using.
On the other hand, if you’re using Windows Defender + Windows firewall as the default Antivirus / Firewall suite, follow the instructions below:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘ms-settings:windowsdefender‘ inside the text box, then press Enter to open up the Windows Defender window.
- Once you’re inside the Windows Security suite, move over to the right-hand section and click on Open Windows Security.
- Once you’re inside the Windows Security tab, click on Virus & threat protection from the list of available options.
- Once you’re inside the Virus & Threat Protection settings menu, click on Manage Settings from the right-hand menu, then click on Add an Exclusion (under Exclusions).
- Finally, navigate to the folder that serves as the default location for every BitTorrent download and add it to the list of excepted items before saving the changes.
- Return to BitTorrent and force a recheck on the torrent that was causing the error to see if the problem is now fixed.
C. Uninstalling the 3rd-party AV Suite
If you’re encountering this issue with a 3rd party suite and you’re not too fond of it, you can simply uninstall it to resolve the ‘The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process‘ error.
Note: Keep in mind that upon uninstalling the 3rd party suite that’s causing this issue, your computer will automatically revert to the default security combo (Windows Defender + Windows Firewall).
If you are determined to uninstall the 3rd party suite that’s causing this issue, follow the instructions below:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features menu.
- Once you’re inside the Programs and Features screen, scroll down through the list of installed applications and locate the antivirus suite that you’re planning to uninstall.
- After you manage to locate the problematic suite, right-click on it and choose Uninstall from the context menu that just appeared.
- Inside the uninstallation screen, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation, then restart your computer and see if the problem is fixed once the next startup is complete.