INUSE.exe (Windows 2000/2003 Resource Kitdownload)

Replace files that are currently in use by the OS, requires a reboot.

Inuse is deprecated, and is not guaranteed to be supported in future releases of Windows.

      INUSE source destination [/y]


  source         The new/replacement file.

  destination    The existing file to be replaced.

  /y             Suppress the confirmation prompt.

  /?             help

Source and destination must include the complete physical or UNC pathname.

The file will be replaced when the machine is rebooted.
The 'locked file can be either the source or destination file.


Replacing in-use files, can also be done manually with the REGEDIT registry editor, most utilities are simply automating this process.

Open HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager

Double click on
(if it does not exist - create of type REG_MULTI_SZ )

On the first line is the destination file prefixed with \??\

On the second line is the source file to be moved prefixed with !\??\

So the complete Multi-String Data would appear like:


Reboot the machine and the file will be moved and the PendingFileRenameOperations registry key will be deleted.


inuse.exe \\server64\install\shiny.dll c:\program files\ss64\shiny.dll /y

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex...
It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction” ~ E.F. Schumacher

Related commands

Q228930 - How to replace currently locked files with Inuse.exe
Equivalent PowerShell: Move-Item - Move an item from one location to another (move/mv/mi)
Equivalent bash command (Linux): mv - Move or rename files or directories.

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