The action cannot be performed because the file is open in COM Surrogate


You may come across a situation where you cannot rename a file on your Windows computer even though the file is not open anywhere. If you keep renaming it, you might see an error: File in use, action cannot be completed because the file is open in COM Surrogate.

The message will offer to close the file and try again. If it helps, good for you. But it’s not, so you can try one of these suggestions. But before you start, scan your computer with your antivirus software because a malware infection can cause this message.

File in use, action cannot be performed because the file is open in COM Surrogate

The dllhost.exe process is called COM Surrogate, and the term itself is quite generic, but it is used to host one or more operating system services. When COM Surrogate cannot handle the code; you may receive this error.

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To fix the action cannot be completed because the file is open in COM Surrogate error, follow these steps:

  1. check task manager
  2. Restart the computer and try
  3. Perform a clean boot
  4. Remove recently installed third-party program
  5. Disable hardware acceleration
  6. Disable Data Execution Prevention

To learn more about these steps, keep reading.

1]Check Task Manager

Sometimes the app may not appear open in the taskbar, but it may still be running somewhere else without the user’s knowledge. To isolate this possibility, open Task Manager and check the list of running programs. If your program is listed among them, right-click on it and select the ‘End Task’ option to close it.

Also, try this. Open Task Manager > On the Details tab, find dllhost.exe process, right click on it and select the final task. Now see if you can do what you wanted to do.

2]Restart the computer and try

Restart your Windows computer and try to perform the desired operation on the file.

3]Perform a clean boot

Start your computer in clean boot state and then try to fix the problem manually. You will have to manually find the offending process. Clean boot troubleshooting is designed to isolate a performance problem.

4]Remove recently installed third-party program

Sometimes some third party apps can interfere which can cause this problem. If your system was working fine before and the problem appears after recently installing a third-party application, try uninstalling that program and see if it works afterwards.

5]Disable hardware acceleration

Hardware acceleration uses a computer’s hardware to perform a given task and run faster than would be possible with software. Disable hardware graphics acceleration and see if that helps.

6]Disable Data Execution Prevention

Data Execution Prevention or DEP is a security feature that can help prevent damage to your computer. If a program tries to execute code from memory incorrectly, DEP exits the program. Either disable DEP for that individual program or disable Data Execution Prevention globally and see if that helps. Remember that when you disable DEP globally, it will make your computer less secure.

If something doesn’t work for you, don’t forget to undo the changes you made.

How to fix Open in COM Surrogate?

To fix The action cannot be completed because the file is open in COM Surrogate issue on Windows 11/10 PC; you must end the dllhost.exe process using Task Manager. Other than that, you can restart your computer and check if it fixes the problem. Sometimes third party software can also be responsible for this problem. In such a situation, you need to check whether you have recently installed any third-party software or not. If so, you can uninstall it to fix the problem.

What does it mean if a file is open in COM Surrogate?

If you succeed The action cannot be completed because the file is open in COM Surrogate error when renaming or copying a file in Windows 11/10, this implies that the dllhost.exe service is not responding as it should. In other words, the COM Surrogate service cannot manage the code on your computer to perform a certain task.

I hope something helps!

Related reading:

The action cannot be performed because the file is open in COM Surrogate

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