I am having a problem with a Schema Lock in ArcMap for Desktop Advanced 10.2. The license that I have is Concurrent use for two computers. On Computer 1, I created an MXD Map File and a File Geodatabase for my map in the ArcCatalog Window. I have everything saved on the a shared folder in the E Drive over the Network.

  1. I close ArcMap on this computer then open up ArcMap on Computer 2.
  2. I open the MXD Map File and then open the ArcCatalog Window to add more Feature Classes to my created File Geodatabase.
  3. When I try to expand the File Geodatabase on Computer 2 an error comes up stating "A schema lock cannot be acquired because of an existing lock." and the GeoDatabase will not expand for editing feature classes.

Are there any solutions to this problem?

  • 1
    in order to add feature classes you have to have a schema lock. Which basically means nothing else can have any lock. you can't have the mxd open with links to the gdb and add feature classes at the same time.
    – Brad Nesom
    Aug 5, 2014 at 19:52
  • 2
    If you need the MXD open, I would use the ArcCatalog window within ArcMap rather than the ArcCatalog program itself.
    – nmpeterson
    Aug 5, 2014 at 19:58
  • 1
    Try to compact Filegeodatabase, that might clean orphan locks
    – Matej
    Aug 5, 2014 at 20:02
  • 2
    I wonder if this is an old ArcGIS bug? On computer 1, can you still see ArcMap.exe running in the task manager even after you close it?
    – SaultDon
    Aug 5, 2014 at 20:59
  • 2
    Accessing FGDBs over a network can also introduce issues.
    – Vince
    Aug 5, 2014 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


When the ArcMap window dissapears that's not the end, ArcMap.exe is still running - doing some housekeeping: writing back to the Normal, updating symbol libraries and so on. If anything interrupts these processes ArcMap will still be present (and locking) and the process may hang... therein lies your problem.

In a normal situation the end of the ArcMap.exe process is seconds after the window closes and everything is fine. The challenge here is to find out why it is that your ArcMap didn't exit as normal. Check your Normal and style can be accessed and ArcMap isn't arguing with your virus checker (doesn't happen so often these days, virus checkers are getting better). Trimming your paths seems to help also, get rid of any connected folders, especially network folders, that you don't absolutely need.

But of course before you try any of this use the standard I.T. Helpdesk first response: Restart both computers.

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