Last Reviewed:  April 19, 2023

Locked Files

Locked file errors actually come from Windows, not FileCenter. And unfortunately, we're powerless to do anything about them.


When you open a file, Windows "locks" it so you won't run into the conflict of a file getting changed by two people or programs at the same time.

Here are a few scenarios where a file may remain locked, even when you expect it shouldn't:

  • If it's a PDF and you accidentally have it open in FileCenter's "Edit" tab, it will remain locked
  • If it's a PDF and you're previewing it in FileCenter's Preview window, it will be locked
  • If this was a recent scan, FileCenter might still be OCRing the file, which would keep a lock on it
  • If it's a network file and another user has it open or is previewing it, it will be locked
  • If you have real-time backup software, the backup could have a lock on it while the file gets backed up
  • If you have cloud synchronization software like Google Drive, OneDrive, or DropBox, that could keep a lock on it while the file synchronizes


In most cases, you just need to find where the file is open and close it. That may be FileCenter's Preview window, FileCenter's Edit tab, or another program.

Once you close the file, Windows is supposed to release the lock, and usually does. But it can happen that the lock gets stuck.

If you've confirmed that none of the scenarios above apply, you have a couple of options.

Just reboot the machine where the file resides. That will clear all of the locks.

If this happens chronically, there are utilities you can download that will try to force Windows to release its lock on a file. Usually they let you right-click on a file and select "Unlock".

A better solution starts right here.

Download your free trial and get on the path to better file organization in 2 minutes.

  • Fully-operational, 15-day trial
  • Windows desktop software
  • No credit card required, no strings attached.