http://forums.arcgis.com/threads/312-Beta-10-Lock-Files ArcGIS 10: Lock Files

According to the above post the only way to delete these sr.lock files is to completely exit all ArcGIS programs.

When attempting copy and paste of a recently used shapefile (with corresponding mxd closed) this error pops up:

sr lock error

It will paste a portion of the shapefiles, but not all of them.

I have both service packs 1 and 2 installed.

  • 1
    Arcgis or ArcCatalog is still running in the background - check your task manager.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 14:42
  • I realize this is an old post, but this might be useful. If pythonw is no longer showing in Task Manager yet sr.lock remains, I have found the following to be effective. (1) open cmd (s) run this command:taskkill /IM pythonw.exe /F. Taken from superuser.com/a/625451.
    – user41185
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 16:03

3 Answers 3


Look in Task Manager for the arcgiscachemgr process. This is what is holding the lock.

  • so if that process shows up in task manager we should delete it to kill the lock files?
    – sirgeo
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 15:38
  • yes the application once 'killed' will remove the lock on the file.
    – Mapperz
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 15:56
  • 16
    maybe it's just me, but i think a $20,000 software should perform better than this... anything that requires routinely killing a process in task manager to function properly is poorly designed imho.
    – sirgeo
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 16:15
  • 1
    1. using a $20k software to create shapefiles? 2. If you use arccatalog to copy the shapefiles you won't have to kill the cache process. 3. viewer is much cheaper and will create shapefiles.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Sep 14, 2011 at 16:33
  • 3
    you will pay a lot of extra money to be able to the things you need, i.e. Maplex, Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, etc.
    – sirgeo
    Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 13:14

If you want to copy a shapefile (or file geodatabase for that matter) without exiting all Arcgis programs or killing processes, stop any active Edit sessions or geoprocessing tasks, open up a Command Prompt window and:


xcopy /c /v d:\projects\aaa\some-shapefile.* d:\some\other\place

The /c means continue even if there are errors (e.g. skip in-use lock files); /v = verify.

File geodatabase:

xcopy /c /i /v d:\projects\aaa\some-file.gdb\* d:\some\other\place\some-file.gdb

/i means assume destination is a folder, not a file.

More info about parameters on SS64. Vista, Win7 and newer users press shift when r-clicking in folder to open a prompt quickly in that spot. XP users install the Command Prompt here windows explorer extension for same.


update Aug 2015: Added exit edit session, file-gdb example.


If your lock file happens to be created by a Python script running a geoprocessing function, and the Python script hangs up for some reason, you may also need to kill the "python.exe" process from the Task Manager in order to release the schema lock.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.