Why Is AVG Detecting Locked Files?


AVG anti-virus software will detect a locked file if it considers the file to be a threat to your computer. AVG doesn't exclude any type of file when scanning for threats, as malware can infect all file types, but a locked file requires a different method of removal than many other types of infected files.

Locked Files

  • If a computer's file is "locked," it typically means that it is running or in use by a program. A file can't be altered or deleted when it is active, as the Windows operating system "locks" active files to prevent errors from occurring. Whether you are currently using a program or not, there are always active processes and locked files associated with your computer's operating system, including system files that may be infected.


  • AVG software runs a full scan of your computer and its files, including those that may be running, and cross-references files with an internal database of potential threats, such as a virus or spyware. AVG should notify you that the locked file is malicious but cannot be removed while the system is running, and that further action is required.


  • While your computer boots up, AVG can remove previously locked threats, because Windows doesn't lock system files and other recently running processes until the system reaches the desktop and gives you control. When AVG identifies a locked file, choosing the option to restart your computer and remove the file gives the software permission to run and remove the threat during the booting process.

Additional Information

  • A locked file doesn't have to be an important system file; even an MP3 currently playing could be detected. In such a case, exiting the program that's using the infected file should allow you to remove it without restarting your computer. Some types of malware, however, may begin running again on their own, requiring a system restart. In addition to AVG's internal database of malicious file types, the software detects threats by analyzing the way a program behaves. If a program performs actions that AVG deems potentially threatening, it will notify you of the possible threat.

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