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Cannot Release Lock on SharePoint Online File

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Unfortunately there is no CSOM/JSOM equivalent so it isn't possible to manually release a lock in SPO.
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it seems my PC is smarter than yours and won't be bluffed - that didn't work for me :(

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For one library and group of users, we have configured it to open files in their native app. Therefore, the Word Online is bypassed directly for the Word App. These users don't appear to have the File Lock issue anymore.

 

Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone else have a Library whereby the default is set to "Open in Client Application" and doesn't have the issue with docs in that Library?

 

My guess is that previously the Word doc opened in online mode, then they clicked "Edit in Word" and so it's opened in two places. They'd edit in Word, but something may have occurred (a cursor move, etc) whereby the Online version of the same doc was 'edited' too - and that this *duopoly* is what causes the issue.

 

It's my assumption that this is what causes the File Lock issue and what needs to be focused on.

 

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SharePoint Online, had this issue with a word file with "abc" written in it. Because I had locked it I could not edit the file in word online, edit the properties in Sharepoint online or delete it. And I had no idea where to deactivate the "Lock".

I found the solution for my case in this thread somewhere- Open it in word local on PC and there i could edit the files.

 

Cause of the issue:  I was testing some list features with a lot of basically empty word files in it. And I might have had word online open in that word document when I added another column to the list that was mandatory to be filled out..

But I'm not 100% sure on this because I'm old and some times I set of to do something just to end up looking into the fridge realizing I'm not hungry I struggle to remember what I was supposed to do..   

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@Zoltan Bagyon wrote:

This is a very frustrating known issue in SP Online, and I can't really understand why we don't get an admin-tool (via PS, for example) to manage it.

My greatest concern is, what I've experienced many times, that the 10 minute timeframe MS promise for auto-unlock is simply not true and it took much-much longer to get access back to the file. Also the workaround they suggest here haven't ever worked for me. So my user (and admin) experience is that whenever this issue occurs, I have no other tools to fix it than waiting, and I have to tell the same to my users.


Same Problem here with Sharepoint online after making changes to excel in a flow. The Excel file is locked for hours. I read a lot of things, but all solutions I found are not for SP Online (office 365) but for SP on premise. For SP on premise are very easy solutions with powershell, but in SP Online we don't have something like "Get-Spweb".

 

- Somebody knows a solution to unlock files fast in SP Online?

- Ore any idea how to prevent Excel file locks after flow create/manipulate/copy excel files (also when the flow is crashing)?

- Any flow nodes to force an unlock available?

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Hi Sebastian,

We too experience this issue, as do most people I suspect.

I haven't had the issue for a while, but one suggested solution that I have read is:

Restore the locked out file to a previous version. That essentially kicks the user (who the file thinks is editing) out and allows you to then rename/ delete/ move etc the file again.
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For my solution was to close all Chrome windows

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"...and Close it" That was the ticket for me. Gracefully close the document using File->Close in the client app. Previously, I was just X'ing out of the client and still could not delete the file from SP. Thanks!

 

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This solved the problem for me, thanks!

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After opening the Word document in Word, clicking File, clicking Manage Document, "Check Out" is grayed out. So, I'm unable to checkout/checkIn. I created the document, I am one of the owners of the MS Teams group, and from within properties it says the file is locked by me.

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That worked for me! :)
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This is very frustrating :( I've tried all the suggestions above, from Mac and Windows, no luck. There's this Word doc on SharePoint Online, locked by me, which I can't rename or move.
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The problem with files getting locked still happening in April of 2019.  Found out the hard way after opening a file in Teams using "Open in Word", editing for 45 minutes only to notice it was "Read Only".  Found a file stuck in the upload center on Pending.  Removed it, fortunately I had saved the Read Only version to a local file and was able to copy and paste.

 

This seems to happen more often than not when editing files in SP Online.  As an admin I kinda get what's going on.  But this will drive users nuts.

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I've just had the same problem @Brent Ellis but in a Modern Experience Library and none of the answers of this thread helped a bit. Anyway I've managed to "move" the item to my OneDrive using the new-ribbon option. That worked and allowed me to finally delete the document.

Probably not an solution for other use cases but it worked for me. I hope this helps to some other SharePointers. ;)

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Thank you!  @Doug Powell  Had the same issue, but without the interface to Teams.  Was able to fix by checking out, checking in through the SharePoint document library.  Very Helpful!

Annotation 2019-05-01 084749.png

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@AJWOODY  can you please add a screenshot of how you checked into the document library after checking out

 

Thanks

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Is anyone having this same problem in Edge. Was having the same 'File is locked' issue in Chrome but not experienced it so far in edge?
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@David DeKeizer that worked for SP2016 on-prem as well. Thank you so much!!

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This is also what I usually have to do is open a previous version.  I usually get lucky and it shows me having opened one earlier that day when it locked.  But on the rare occasion it does not, and I am forced to open an older one and loose data.  @Michael Butterfield 

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@Doug Powell Thank you for your post 2 years ago! It just worked after many frustrating minutes of the same around and around with Sharepoint and moving a file because of a file lock. Very much appreciated you sharing your experiences--it helped me and hope it continues to help others. I hope MS fixes this with more helpful error dialogs, but in the meantime, thanks! :) 

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Potential work-around - I had this issue specifically with a PowerPoint file - I simply opened the slide show again via PowerPoint (the same way I had it open before) then rather than just closing PowerPoint with the "X" - I used the File Menu and selected "Close" - this closes the slide show and leaves PowerPoint open.  as soon as I did this, the lock was released.

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@carlSteffen 

 

Glad to hear that worked. That's not a workaround however, that's how the product works.

 

When you close out of a file stored in SharePoint , Exiting the file gracefully (File > Close, Red 'x', etc.) your machine sends information back to SharePoint telling SharePoint that you're done with the file and the lock can be released. Once SharePoint receives that Trigger, it releases the file's lock.

 

File locks will always happen when opening files from SharePoint, that is 100% how the product works. Where issues can be seen is releasing the lock states. If you're not co-authoring, (whether this is disabled for you somehow or if your Office client doesn't support it), then you'll set an exclusive file lock. This means only the user who opened the file from SharePoint (The user who sets the lock state) will be able to edit the file.

 

Unless the user exits the file gracefully, or the lock expires, no one else can edit the file. If the user does not exit from the file gracefully (Application crashed, unexpected Power Reset, etc), then the lock will be released via an expiration setting built into SharePoint. If the lock state doesn't expire, the user can re-open the file and exit gracefully to try and remove the lock.

 

If you're seeing the file lock does not release after a user exits gracefully from the file, you could be looking at an issue with SharePoint, your local machine, or your Office client. More often than not, these lock issues aren't actually bugs or errors and come down to understanding how these products work and how the Office files are being opened or used.

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@Alan Umanos 

I get that, and agree with you that it should work regardless. 

 

What I'm experiencing is when closing via the "red x" in the top right corner PowerPoint doesn't seem to consistently release the locks.  It's as though it's firing some async process to release the lock and PowerPoint sometimes exits before the unlock is actually taken care of.  I obviously can't say for certain that this is what's happening, I'm only trying to illustrate/describe the behavior as I observe it. 

 

Call it what you want, I've not yet experienced the locked file issue (yet) when I close via the file menu.  Maybe it's a coincidence, maybe not. 

 

I wish there was a feature in SharePoint to forcefully remove the lock (maybe there is for admins but in this case it's the back end of MS Teams and I don't think we really have full admin rights) because sometimes the users with the locks have left for the day and I can't track them down to open/close a document.

 

Thanks for the full write up on locks etc in SharePoint - it is a great write-up of what I believed to be true (though didn't definitively know)

 

 

 

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@carlSteffen

No worries! Glad I could be of help. There is likely a way to manually release the lock using CSOM for SharePoint online (it is 100% possible to release the lock manually in SharePoint on-Premise using PowerShell) though this would be a custom script that you'll need to write yourself.

Regarding MS teams, that actually shouldn't matter for File locks. The Office viewer in MS Teams is actually just a browser window that leverages Office for the Web. It's the same code used when opening Office files for editing in your browser (a WOPI frame). MS Teams administration will have no part in releasing file locks.
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There is no way to release a lock via CSOM. The ask has been made to the PG, though.
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@Brian Sarlo THANK YOU!  Teams/SharePoint locked two key files that I was working on and would not release the lock.  Your solution of clearing cache in the upload center solved the problem.

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Once I removed the document from the MS Office 2016 Upload Center Cache, I was able to add a new version to the document on Sharepoint(O365).
Thank you for this tp.
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@Brent Ellis 

 

K so I had a similar situation where I wanted to rename a word doc and I kept getting an error that the file was locked by my own user account. I was not able to delete the document for the same reason.

I logged off and back on thinking that would clear... it never.

 

I finally opened the word doc on line then chose the open via desktop option. From there I did a "save as" and changed the name and re-saved it to the same SharePoint site.

At that point I was then I was allowed to delete the old file.

Not sure why this worked but it did.

Hope this helps someone else.

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I'm glad you were able to save your document, but you killed the versioning by deleting the original file and upload a new one. Also realize that if you shared the doc, the original link will be broken.
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@Doug Powell 

It totally works - thanks.

The file I was trying to edit was locked by me. Probably due to freeze at one point, which made me hard close the app.

I went to Start Menu and right click on Excel to open this file on desktop from history list.

Went, as you said, to "File->Info->Manage Workbook and check the file out from there. Worked perfectly!

 

 

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I also had this issue. Here are the steps that worked:

  1. open file in browser-> edit and save
  2. open file in desktop app ->upload failed error 
  3. go to file->manage->checkout->edit now possible

 

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Thank you @Doug Powell . Your solution helped me to unlock a PowerPoint file.

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@Brent Ellis I couldn't find any way to do it through SharePoint directly.  However I did find a way to use PowerShell to release the lock.  The command is ReleaseLock

 

as in... 

$item.File.ReleaseLock($item.File.LockId)

 

I wrote about it here...

 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/sharepoint/cannot-release-lock-on-sharepoint-online-file/m-p/...

 

 

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@Charles Boisseau Just experienced the same issue with a user. To remedy I cleared the cache in Microsoft Upload Centre, no luck. Then I cleared the cache in Microsoft Upload Centre 2013, no luck. Then I cleared the internet history and cache, no luck. Then I stopped the users One Drive Sync, Success!

 

The user had accidentally clicked on the "Sync" button at the top of the library which had created a folder in One Drive which had not yet synced with SharePoint. I removed the synced folder from one drive to prevent this recoccuring.

 

Not sure if any of the actions I took prior to stopping the One Drive sync had any effect, but the above resolved the issue. 

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2020 baby yeah!

I have tried every singe suggestion in this thread.

I go to Sharepoint and go to the excel file. All good Now it's time to open in excel. Nah mate! Locked by another user.

Then I ask myself... Why and now? This is Sharepoint and I can work away just find when on the document in Sharepoint. It's not locked and I can open in excel with any other user without an issue.

I can't check it out- I get an error and it only allows me to see a portion of the error

This is just stupid. Why isn't this fixed yet?

Why do we have to mess around with a bunch of workarounds that don't even work?


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@MattStOnge The error you're seeing is expected. Anytime you open an Office file from SharePoint (any version, SharePoint 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Online, etc) using Office (2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, 365 Pro Plus, Office for Mac, etc), you are guaranteed to set a file lock. That's how the product works.

 

There are two types of locks that can be set, and Exclusive file lock, and a Co-authoring file lock. Which lock type is set is dependent on a few key factors. When opening Office files, SharePoint will always attempt to set a co-authoring lock first. If a co-authoring lock cannot be set, SharePoint falls back to an exclusive file lock.

 

Exclusive file locks act exactly as their name implies. User opens the file, because of certain factors (addressed below), an exclusive file lock is set by the user's session in SharePoint. As long as that lock is in place only the user who set the lock can edit the file. If the user saves the file when they're done and properly exits the file (doesn't put the PC in sleep mode with the file open, doesn't just close the laptop lid and walk away, doesn't leave the file open for hours on end, and instead either uses file > Close, or waits for the file to completely save, then closes out of the client), then Office can send the proper network traffic to indicate it's done with the file and SharePoint will release the lock. This is known as exiting gracefully from the file, and applies to both file lock types.

 

Co-Authoring file locks are applied when the file is in a state that allows co-authoring and if the user is in a client that supports co-authoring. Whenever a file is opened in Office Web Apps, Office Online Server, or Office for the web, where the file can be edited in the browser, a Co-authoring file lock will always be set.

 

Certain Office clients (installed on your Windows or Mac machines) do not fully support Co-Authoring. For example, Co-Authoring in Excel is only supported on Office 365 Pro Plus version 1808 and newer. All other Office desktop clients do not allow for Excel co-authoring, and will always try to set an exclusive file lock.

 

Outside of the Office clients, there are other factors specific to the file and where the files stored that determine what file lock type is set. For example, all of the following to cause only Exclusive file locks to be set:

  • The SharePoint library where the files are stored has "Checked required for editing" enabled. Even if opened in the browser, only exclusive file locks can be set for files within such a document library.
  • IRM controls on the SharePoint library or the file.
  • Setting the registry key "fsshttpoff" to a value of 1 (this is NEVER recommended)
  • Turning off the OneDrive Sync client "Use Office applications to sync Office files that I open" setting (this should be left 'On' by default).
  • Using the legacy Office file formats (*.doc, *.xls, *.ppt) instead of the current XML based file formats (*.xlsx, *.docx, *.pptx)
  • Syncing files with the old and deprecated groove.exe OneDrive for Business sync client.
  • And a few other, rarer factors.

 

@MattStOnge, for you, it sounds like other users have set a co-authoring lock on the file, but your machine can only set exclusive file locks. Since the file is Excel, check that your Office client actually supports Excel Co-authoring. If you're not on the Office 365 Pro Plus client on any of the current update channel builds  (1902, 1908, 2002, 2003, 2004) then you're never expected to be able to edit the Excel file in the excel client app in near real time with your colleagues. I would compare what version of Office you're using with that of your colleagues. If it's the same version, then your machine has another factor at play preventing you from joining the Excel file's Co-authoring session.


This functionality is more than just SharePoint or Office, there is a lot more in play. What settings are set in the SharePoint Document library, on the file itself, in the Office client, on your windows/mac machine, what group policy settings are set (if your local user account and machine are domain managed), all of these matter and can affect what type of file lock your Office client can set, and by direct relation, what can be done with said file.

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@Alan Umanos 

The problem is that all the workstations are set up exactly the same with the same image.

All users except her can edit in Excel without an issue. At any given time, nobody is editing that document but it says it is locked when you try to edit with Excel just for that one user. Nobody else is having the problem.


I even went and imaged a whole new laptop for her with her profile. Went to Sharepoint to that document, said to open in excel. It worked 3 times in a row and then didn't 3 times. 

Then went back to her original laptop and when it's locked out I say "Yeah, open and then notifiy when available". About 30 seconds later, office goes "Yo, good news...your file is available to edit. Do you want to edit?"

I'm like "Yeah....Ok"

Then it goes "Sucker... The file you are looking for C:\Profilename\File location| no longer exists!"

 

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This issue is making me want to cry now.
It just keeps going and going.