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This is very related to this question: What damage can a malicious .iso file cause without explicitly executing it?

An ISO file got downloaded to my desktop. I immediatly tried to delete it, but when I did, I got the error message "Can't delete this file. This file is in use by System. Close the file and try again."

I never opened the file, how can it be in use? Has it harmed my computer? Am I safe?

PS: I rebooted Windows into safe mode with command prompt and deleted the single file from there, but if it did something before I deleted it, I do not know what to do.

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    I don't know enough to be sure, but the file being "in use" doesn't mean it's being executed -- merely that something, somewhere has a handle of some kind to it. It may well have been, for example, Windows Defender scanning it. – Nic Hartley Jul 16 at 14:40
  • dmg files in mac have known to be auto executed , might spread to windows – MichaelEvanchik Jul 16 at 16:12
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No, storing a file that is dormant cannot do anything because it's dormant. There was a file hook into the raw file itself which is why you got the error. This could even be windows explorer trying to preview the file but even if you mounted the iso image where it shows up as a CD/DVD it's still dormant until you execute something intentionally or unintentionally with autorun. Lastly it could have even been an antivirus scannign the file during download that didn’t finish when you were trying to delete it or even Windows defender for that matter.

  • sorry for the late answer, I always seem to forget about my questions. Thank you for answering :) – soni801 Aug 16 at 12:57

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