Fix OneDrive ‘The file is locked for shared use by…’ error

By: Matthew Adams
3 minute read

The file is locked for shared use by… is an error message that some OneDrive for Business users have seen pop up on their OneDrive pages. Consequently, they can’t open or delete a locked file. The error message occurs for users sharing files on networks. These are a few resolutions that might fix “The file is locked” error.

SOLVED: OneDrive file is locked for shared use

  1. Wait a Few Hours
  2. Check That the File isn’t Already Open
  3. Turn Off the Require Check Out Option
  4. Adjust the Permissions Level Settings

1. Wait a Few Hours

It might just be the case that another user is indeed editing the document. Thus, wait a few hours, or till the next day, before returning to open the required file. However, check out some of the other fixes below if you’re sure that another user is not editing the file.

2. Check That the File isn’t Already Open

You might have already opened the locked file within your browser or other Office software. To make sure that isn’t the case, close all your browser tabs and then the browser. Then check there are no Office apps or processes listed in Task Manager as follows.

  • Right-click the Windows 10 Start button to open a menu that includes Task Manager.
  • Click Task Manager to open the window shown directly below.

  • Select all Office apps listed on Task Manager’s Processes tab, such as Winword.exe, and press the End Task button to close them.
  • Thereafter, open your browser again, log in to OneDrive for Business (via Office 365 portal) and check if the file is still locked.

— RELATED: How to fix OneDrive access issues on Windows

3. Turn Off the Require Check Out Option

  • Check that the Check Out setting isn’t enabled in OneDrive. To do that, open OneDrive for Business in a browser.
  • Click the gear (Settings) button to select Site Settings.
  • Then click Site administration > Site libraries and lists > Customize documents and Versioning settings.
  • Select the No radio button for the Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited option.
  • Then press the OK button.

4. Adjust the Permissions Level Settings

  • Some users have confirmed that they’ve fixed the “The file is locked for shared use” error by adjusting the permission level settings. First, log in to Office 365 and open OneDrive for Business from there.
  • Click the Settings (gear) button to select Site Settings.
  • Select Site Permissions to open the Permissions tab.
  • Then click Permissions Levels on the Permissions tab, and select the Edit option.
  • Click the Select All check box to select all permissions.
  • Scroll down to and press the Submit button.

One of those resolutions might fix the “The file is locked” error message so that you can open or delete the required file in OneDrive for Business. If you have another resolution for fixing locked files in OneDrive, feel free to share it below.


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