SOLVED! “File Is Open In Shell Infrastructure Host”

Generally speaking, today’s Windows users can delete files on their computers in a lot of ways. In most of the cases, the deletion of files is a straightforward affair that involves little time and effort.  Still, it’s worth pointing out that a couple of issues may get in the way of the process. Check out this article to learn more about the “this action cannot be completed because the file is open in Shell Infrastructure Host” error. 

A List Of Possibilities

Overall, the “file is open in Shell Infrastructure Host” error is an error that pops up as people delete, edit, move, … files. While a Try again option is present, it rarely helps and people usually have to hit Cancel to dismiss the error. It’s possible to delete the file again but there is a good chance that the error would reappear. That means unless Windows users know what must be done, they cannot delete their files. 

What You Could Do

End Shell Infrastructure Host Then Run It Again

  • Step 1: Press Windows + X to open Quick Access Menu and hit Task Manager
  • Step 2: Look for Shell Infrastructure Host in Processes, right-click Shell Infrastructure Host and pick End Task
  • Step 3: In Task Manager, go to File and choose Run new task 
  • Step 4: Type %WinDir%\System32\sihost.exe, check the checkbox next to Create this task with administrator privileges and click Ok
  • Step 5: Exit Task Manager

Make Use Of Process Explorer

  • Step 1: Download Process Explorer and run it with administrator privileges 
  • Step 2: Go to Find then select Find Handle or DLL
  • Step 3: Type sihost and hit Enter
  • Step 4: Double-click sihost.exe with the handle C:\Windows\System32\sihost.exe
  • Step 5: Right-click the highlighted sihost.exe process, select Kill Process and confirm that you want to kill it. Lastly, exit Process Explorer, delete your file and see how things turn out. 


Once it comes to errors like “file is open in Shell Infrastructure Host”, a simple restart could work wonders. 

  • Step 1: Open Start menu
  • Step 2: Select Power and choose Restart
  • Step 3: When the screen comes back on, delete your file and see if the error persists 


  • Step 1: Press Alt + F4 
  • Step 2: Hit the drop-down arrow then pick Restart
  • Step 3: Delete your file at the earliest opportunity 

Boot Into Safe Mode

  • Step 1: Press Windows + I to open Settings 
  • Step 2: Navigate to Update and Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart Now 
  • Step 3: Wait for your computer to restart up to the “Choose an option” screen
  • Step 4: Go to Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart
  • Step 5: Follow the on-screen instruction to boot into Safe Mode
  • Step 6: Open Command Prompt
  • Step 7: Run the command cd [path][filename] followed by del filename. Of course, replace filename with the name of your file to delete it. 

Restart File Explorer

  • Step 1: Press Shift + Ctrl + Esc to open Task Manager
  • Step 2: Navigate to Processes > Windows Explorer
  • Step 3: Right-click Windows Explorer and select End task
  • Step 4: Navigate File > Run new task, type explorer.exe and click Ok

Delete Temporary Files

  • Step 1: Press Windows + R to open Run 
  • Step 2: Type %temp% then click Ok
  • Step 3: Press Ctrl +A, hit Delete and close the window
  • Step 4: Open Run again, type Temp and click Ok
  • Step 5: Proceed to delete everything you see

Empty Recycle Bin

  • Step 1: Open Recycle Bin
  • Step 2: Press Ctrl + A then hit delete to get rid of all items in Recycle Bin


  • Step 1: Right-click Recycle Bin
  • Step 2: Pick empty Recycle Bin

Erase/Disable Thumbnails

Disk Cleanup

  • Step 1: Go to Search bar, type Disk Cleanup and press Enter
  • Step 2: Check the “Thumbnails” checkbox then click Ok


  • Step 1: Go to Search bar, type advanced system settings and hit Enter
  • Step 2: Navigate to Advanced > Performance > Settings > Visual Effects
  • Step 3: Uncheck the option to show thumbnails, select Apply and choose Ok

File Explorer

  • Step 1: Go to search bar, type File Explorer and hit Enter
  • Step 2: Under the View tab, check the option to show icons instead of thumbnails
  • Step 3: Select Apply then choose Ok

Registry Editor

  • Step 1: Press Windows + R to open Run, type regedit and hit Enter
  • Step 3: If prompted, allow Registry Editor to make changes to your PC
  • Step 4: Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > Advanced 
  • Step 5: Double-click IconsOnly then change the value data from 0 to 1
  • Step 6: Exit Registry Editor


  • Disable tasks you’re not using from running in the background
  • Regularly scan your PC for malware/viruses
  • Backup critical files before modifying your PC

What Is Shell Infrastructure Host?

Shell Infrastructure Host is a component on Windows that manages the use of universal apps on the operating system. It handles aspects of your PC such as the calendar, clock, graphical elements, and background behavior. Because Shell Infrastructure Host deals with so many aspects of computers, its CPU usage may get high on occasions.

Is Shell Infrastructure Host A Virus?

No, Shell Infrastructure Host is not a virus but it is an essential component of the Windows OS. You will rarely see viruses on your PC disguised as Shell Infrastructure Host. Still, if you suspect that your computer may be infected with a virus or malware, run a scan using Windows Defender.

How Should I Deal With Shell Infrastructure Host Issues?

You can address Shell Infrastructure Host issues by:

  • Updating Windows and the universal apps
  • Reinstalling Microsoft Redistributable packages
  • Running a System File Checker (SFC) scan
  • Taking advantage of Clean Boot.


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