Replace Files That Are Currently In Use
This page shows how to delete, rename, or move files that are currently being
used by the system. Although the method to do this differs between
Windows 9x and Windows NT/2K, both systems process the changes the next time
the system is rebooted. To learn how to reboot the system
programmatically, see my Shut Down and Restart Windows
(Last Updated 09/14/1999)
The MoveFileEx function with the MOVEFILE_DELAY_UNTIL_REBOOT
flag lets you move, replace, or delete files and directories currently being
used. The next time the system is rebooted, the bootup program will move,
replace, or delete the specified files and directories.
To move or replace a file or directory that is in use, your application must
specify both a source and destination path on the same drive. If the
destination path is an existing file, it will be overwritten. If the
destination path is an existing directory, it will not be overwritten and both
the source and destination paths will remain unchanged. For example, to move or
replace a file or move a directory:
' Move sSourceFile to sDestFile next time system is rebooted.
Dim sSourceFile As String
Dim sDestFile As String
Call MoveFileEx(sSourceFile, sDestFile, MOVEFILE_DELAY_UNTIL_REBOOT)
To delete a file or directory, your application must set the destination path to
null. If the source path is a directory, it will be removed only if it is
empty. If you have to use MoveFileEx to
remove files from a directory, you must reboot the computer before you
can call MoveFileEx to remove the directory.
To delete a file or empty a directory:
' Delete sSourceFile next time system is rebooted.
MoveFileEx(sSourceFile, vbNull, MOVEFILE_DELAY_UNTIL_REBOOT)
To move, replace, or delete files (but not directories) that are currently in
use you need to use the [rename] section of a file
named Wininit.ini. If Wininit.ini
is present in the Windows directory, Wininit.exe processes
it when the system boots. Once Wininit.ini has
been processed, Wininit.exe renames it to Wininit.bak.
The syntax of the [rename] section is:
DestinationFileName and SourceFileName must reside on the same drive and be
short (8.3) file names. To convert a long path name to the equivalent
short name, see my Convert Long Path Names to
Short (8 Character) Names program.
The [rename] section can have multiple lines with one file per line. To
delete a file, specify NUL as the
DestinationFileName. For example:
The first line causes Temp.txt to be deleted. The second causes
Existing.txt to be moved to a new directory. The third causes Oldname.txt
to be moved and renamed. The fourth causes an existing file to be
overwritten by Newfile.txt.
You should always check if Wininit.ini exists
before using it. If it does, then another application has written to it
since the system was last restarted. Your application should then open it
and append entries to the [rename] section. If Wininit.ini isn't present,
your application should create it and add to the [rename] section.