Locked by Another Process

Jan 16, 2017

When I try to open my file I get a message stating " File is locked by another process"  How can I fix this?  I even rebooted and got the same results.

41 Replies
Robyn DeMong

I'm having this same issue. However, when I was working in the file SL quit working (as the message read) and quit automatically. Now that file is no longer on in my working folder and we use cloud storage, so it looks like it's gone. However, when I open SL 360, the course displays on the left side under recent but when I click on it, I receive the message that the project is locked by another process. So I'm extremely worried that my course is gone and it has screen recording that I just did with 185 slides.


Leslie McKerchie

Hi Robyn and welcome to E-Learning Heroes :)

Thanks for reaching out and letting us know what you are experiencing in your course. I would be sure to work locally when working with project files in Storyline.

There may still be a working version of your project in your temp files. Here's how to check: 

1) Open this folder in Windows Explorer: %appdata%\Articulate\Storyline 

2) Scan the contents of this folder for a file that starts with the name of your project. If you find one, copy it to your desktop. If you find more than one, copy the latest version to your desktop. 

3) Change the file extension of the copy on your desktop from *.tmp to *.story. 

4) Double-click the file to open it in Storyline. 

File corruption is unpredictable, and there's no straightforward way to determine what causes it. Common causes are environmental (disk errors, power outages, improper shutdowns), viruses, failed Windows updates, and even file size (i.e., very large files have a higher risk of corrupting). Consider using the preventative measures described in this article to protect your project files.

Alyssa Gomez

Hi Robyn,

You mentioned the file was saved to a shared drive. To prevent file corruption, we always recommend saving to your local hard drive. Try these steps to get back up and running:

  • Close all instances of Storyline. 
  • Make a copy of the file, give it a new name, and save it to your local hard drive.
  • Import the slides into a new Storyline file. 
Ren Gomez

Hi Anita,

Sorry to hear you’re running into the same issue. Do you have a file that is locked? If so, try renaming your file or importing your slides into another Storyline file.

We do recommend saving your file locally and then backing up to your network locations such as the cloud to avoid issues with files locking up and network latency. 

Mara Merchant

I'm often getting the same error message. Moving the file, renaming the file, or even just doing nothing and waiting a minute seems to fix it. I read elsewhere that it could have to do with cloud backup software running on your computer. When you first open a file folder, the backup software is reading the files and saving a copy to a server, and Storyline sees that as the file being in use by another process. That would explain why the issue clears up after waiting a minute or so, at least on my system which is running Carbonite.

Linda K

I have this same issue so often (Storyline 360, up to date)  that with every story file I work on, I save a duplicate copy named "xxxx_BACKUP" so I don't lose work entirely like I have in the past. 

I am working locally, on root of C drive as instructed. And anymore, if I attempt to make a copy of the file, it gives me the exact same error and won't open. I have no choice but to refer to the backup duplicate copy I created. 

I've tried going into task manager and making sure all instances of Storyline are stopped, etc. Still happens across many different projects for as long as I've used this product. I would love to see an update/fix/solution for this rolled out. I'm dreading the day that both my primary and backup refuse to open or copy on a project. It happened once but coming back the next day one of them ended up opening. Whew!

Lauren Connelly

Hello Linda!

I'm sorry this error frequently appears when working in Storyline 360. I understand that you're working on your local drive but are you using either Dropbox or OneDrive to back up your files. If so, there might be duplicates of your project with the same name, causing the error message.

If that isn't the case, I'd like our Support Engineers to step in and find the fix. Please use this link to connect with a Support Engineer.

Linda K

Hi Jon,

Unfortunately it's about 50/50 for me. As I stated in that older reply above, I still create a duplicate backup version of each and every file, for each and every time I hit save along the way. It's just second nature these days. I know it's several more steps than just hitting that Save icon, but these have come to my rescue more times than I can count! Especially in those instances of random crashes because I'm trying to resize an object on an already complex slide, and boom! down it goes. (That's the frequent winner for me of late.)

Half the time it is indeed because the file is being backed up (Google Drive/OneDrive/Dropbox) so I leave auto-backup OFF and only run it at the end of the day as I disconnect from the Windows device I remote into for Storyline. This has seemed to dial down the instances quite a bit - removes the conflicting file problem at least.

As for the times it happens and backup isn't running, and I've closed all instances and ended Articulate processes in Task Manager, restarted the app with no luck, etc. that's where my backup version swoops in to the rescue. I really don't even do the task manager/force shutdown/restart app dance anymore, and just open my backup copy. If issues seem to persist, THEN I'll shut it all down, and go in and force stop all Articulate instances if they need it.

Did you try Leslie's suggestion from 3 years ago for looking in temp files and attempting to restore from there? Hopefully you can recover something that way. Crossing my fingers for you!

Best of luck, and I hope you don't lose too much valuable work.


Rúan du Plessis

Thank you for posting about moving the file to your desktop. That worked for me too.

I've been working on this monster project for months now and almost had a panic attack when the file did not open. I also tried making copies, moving and rebooting. For some reason, the desktop worked. 

I have the latest update and now almost every time I open this project I need to do this dance. I'm concerned the file might eventually become corrupt. 

Cezary Kujawski

I start getting this error recently and that's scare me a lot. After reading that feed seems like for most of you making duplicates or re-naming files works, for me most of the time not. Even I create a file copy and opening the next day, that copy is giving me the same error. In that case I have to constantly create file copies for projects I am working on. 

Time to time, the solution which works for me is closed the error and Storyline wait a minute or two and re-open a project file. 

All my files are stored locally. 

Luciana Piazza

Hi Cezary! 

Thanks so much for sharing what you are experiencing. I'm sorry to hear you are having this error message pop-up.

Have you ensured that the copies you have made are named differently? This might be the reason you are still seeing the error message appear. 

If you are still having trouble, please use this link to connect with a Support Engineer. We'd be happy to assist with your specific project files!