Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Windows explorer locks files

29 Sep 2010   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit
Windows explorer locks files

Windows Explorer has been driving me crazy. I use it in Detail mode and run as "username" with Administrator privileges.

If, for example, I highlight a file, drag it into an editor, then modify and attempt to save the file, I get a message that the file is locked. If I switch back to Explorer and move the highlight bar off the file name, the lock no longer exists.

I don't remember this behavior in any other version of Windows. I'm running Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit with a dual AMD quad-core mobo, 16 gig ram and 7 Terabytes of internal storage...not that should make a difference.

If there's a registry or permissions setting to toggle this behavior, I'd sure like to know about it so I can turn it off. Locking by highlighting (focusing on) a file name is really pretty unreasonable.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Sep 2010   #2

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)

Are you saying that you Logon to Windows 7 as say "User1" then launch Windows Explorer with "runas" as "User2"? Then start and editor as "User1" (from the start ORB) and then drag a file from the Windows Explorer running as "User2" to the editor running as "User1"??

If that is the case you may have many issues with permissions and locked files. You would need to run the editor as the same user as Windows Explorer. -WS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Sep 2010   #3

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

No. This is not the case. I log into windows as "User1" which has Administrator permissions. Then I run Explorer "run as", just click on the icon on the QuickLaunch bar...the shortcut there has no "run as" characteristics. I'm the only one who uses this box...and while I run the hell out of it, I'm not trying to get real slick with multiple users or anything of that nature.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Sep 2010   #4

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)

Humm..I tried to duplicate the problem and cannot. Do you have some more information, maybe some screen shots??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2010   #5

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit


Both errors came about because the file, NoName.html was highlighted (selected) in Explorer. See Explorer1.jpg

First error message is from AceHTML Freeware. Second is from Notepad.

Moving the selection from the file in question removes the lock.

I don't wanna sound like a wise guy, but I've been working with computers since 1966 and I know my way around as a general rule. I worked as a software developer for the last 20 years of my career. But there are always new things to learn.

Having said that, it seems that SOMETHING is causing Explorer (and other programs) to set the lock flag in the file's directory entry when it gets focus in the detail list. As soon as the focus is placed elsewhere, the lock flag is reset.

I've verified that it IS Explorer holding the lock with Unlocker v1.9.

Here's where you can see the build diary for the system that has this little issue (the only Windows 7 box I have) here:

I get the same results with Free Commander or Xplorer2. If I had to guess, I'd venture that they both use the same low-level file handling api routines.

Could it be a file or drive sharing issue? The drive (2 tb WD black...almost brand new) is shared on my network...But I can't quite see how that might be an issue.

Well, it's way past my bedtime. I'll deal with it in the morning.

Edit: A restart seems to have cured the problem this time but it didn't before. I also just installed the latest "optional" patches, which is what cause me to reboot. So. Is it real or is it Memorex? Did the reboot fix it or did the patches? Subject for debate, I spose.

Must sleep now
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2010   #6

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)

This is a strange problem. I checked 5 different machines, all Windows 7 Ultimate and I was unable to duplicate the problem. (Each machine is a bit different, thinking I was covering a wide range of setups and installed software). Do you think this problem started after you installed some software? Are you able to go back to a restore point before this started? Do you have another computer to test with? -WS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2010   #7

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

I can't duplicate the problem after patch installation and reboot. I hope it's the patches addressing system stability that fix it...but if it shows up again, I know I can reboot and get around it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2010   #8

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64); Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)

So we are good, problem solved for the moment??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Oct 2010   #9

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit

Installing Windows Classic Shell seems to have eliminated the problem. No, not seems. It DID eliminate the problem. Once I installed that, the lock issue disappeared.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2011   #10

Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit

This has been driving me crazy too - Unlocker also showed me that Explorer was latching onto my html files that I was trying to edit. Pissed me off. Don't ask me why, but I decided to hide the "preview pane" that shows contents if it knows how, and Windows 7 stopped locking my file. Obviously if you click to open a file, you're highlighting it and hence, the preview mechanism swings into action. I noticed that my system would not preview html files - just blank pane. Not sure if since the preview was failing, this lock hung around. If file ext was txt, preview worked. Previously I was changing the extension to .txt to edit it, for some reason it didn't lock that. This is a long time after your previous post, so you probably don't give a crap anymore, but maybe you might appreciate it. . Cheers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows explorer locks files

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads for2: Windows explorer locks files
Thread Forum
explorer locks up Browsers & Mail
Explorer.exe locks up? BSOD Help and Support
inspiron 1525 dvd playback locks up drive, and explorer Hardware & Devices
Windows Explorer locks files Performance & Maintenance
DVD playback locks up drive and explorer Hardware & Devices
DVD playback locks up explorer Hardware & Devices
Security-locks on all files! General Discussion

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:27 PM.
Twitter Facebook Google+

Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33