I wan´t to simply delete the lock files that ArcGIS writes and doesn´t delete after removing data from the contents window. As my ArcGIS Desktop takes around 4 minutes to start, I am getting really annoyed because I wan´t to display in arcgis and at the same time transform the same data with fme. The ESRI Lock files are really getting on my nerves.

Any tips on how to locate and delete the lock files are most welcome.

  • I submitted an enhancement to ESRI for a way to force removal of locks on removed layers, lockfile or not. They said no. The various lock file removal programs that are out there don't work and as MappaGnosis said Explorer won't either. You might keep another instance of ArcMap open for use since the locks come from a different one and that can be closed. You might avoid using features in feature dataset topology, since all the dataset features get locked and ArcMap never ever lets go of them. Shapefiles are hit or miss. – johns Nov 22 '13 at 14:44
  • Well, here I am, 6+ years after the OP. Lock files at 10.7 are still very frustrating. I've got several orphaned lock files that I cannot delete, even with a computer reboot. When I try to delete with Windows Explorer I'm told that they are open in another program, but no Arc Desktop sessions are running. ESRI products are shoddy... – Stu Smith Apr 30 at 22:13

Although it usually isn't hard to find the lock files (as @Marcin D describes), I would generally recommend against deleting them from a FileExplorer.

ArcGIS sometimes doesn't release locks properly, and in those cases a workaround could be to manually delete the lock file (at least if you don't want to wait for ArcGIS to restart). Just be careful not to delete lock files that are supposed to be there - they do exist for a reason, after all.

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I don't think you will be able to delete the lock files while ArcMap is actually displaying the data. You will probably get the error 'File is in use' (because the lock file will be in use by ArcMap). Manual deletion of lock files is only really appropriate when a stray lock file (possibly left-over after a crash) is getting in the way, as opposed to a legitimate one (as in this case).

As a work around to your situation, you could use the viewer in FME or you can pull your FME process as a tool into Model Builder, so there shouldn't really be a need to hack the lock files.

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Well from my experience the lock files are located in the same location as .shp files you'r opening in arcgis products.

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As you can 'StacjeTauron.shp' is opened in arcmap and the lock file is just below .shp file. With geodatabases its almost the same. Just go to the folder where the db is located and browse the .gdb file to find and delete locks.

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