Files locked by unknown user

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Files locked by unknown user

Postby martinbean » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:34 am

Every file I have, even any new untitled document comes up as "locked by an unknown user". I can only open files as a copy or read only, which means having to rename everything to save it and then deleting the previous version. I haven't knowingly done anything, can anybody help, please ?
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby RoryOF » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:37 am

With OpenOffice closed, enable viewing of Hidden files (this is done at system level - look up how to do it if in doubt; it is not an OpenOffice command). In the folder in which your file was stored, delete and files with names similar to

Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
    .~lock.MyFile.odt#


Note that such file(s) will be small - perhaps a few hundred bytes, whereas the owning file will be at least 6 KB in size. Do not delete the wrong file.

Now move to the OpenOffice User Profile. As you are using Windows do this by:
Close OpenOffice and the Quickstarter (they are probably already closed). Open File Explorer. Copy and paste %appdata%\OpenOffice\4 in the File Explorer Address Bar and press Enter.
Alongside the folder User in the windows that opens you may see a file .lock. Delete that. Now restart OpenOffice and all should be well.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby martinbean » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:52 am

Thanks. I found out how to enable viewing of hidden files and did it. However, I cannot see any files that I couldn't see before, certainly none with only a few hundred bytes.

When I open File Explorer, the only Address Bar is the Quick Access one ?? More, please.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:09 pm

martinbean wrote:When I open File Explorer, the only Address Bar is the Quick Access one ?? More, please.

Use Google to search for "file explorer address bar" and select "Images" at the top of the search results to find pictures showing the Address Bar.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby PDV » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:09 pm

martinbean wrote:Thanks. I found out how to enable viewing of hidden files and did it. However, I cannot see any files that I couldn't see before, certainly none with only a few hundred bytes.

When I open File Explorer, the only Address Bar is the Quick Access one ?? More, please.


I would like to Join in on this conversation, as it doesn't seem to be resolved.
My customer is experiencing the same problems as in this topic.
Suddenly ALL OpenOffice files are write protected, and can only be edited by creating a copy of the file.

I have been able to resolve the issue temporarily by uninstalling the version of OpenOffice he had and re-installing the newest version for all users.
The issue seemed to be resolved until 2 days ago where exactly the same happened, files became write protected.

I have taken the needed steps to make sure that there are no Virii or other malware programs involved in this and causing this issue. (PAID Active Malware/antivirus subscription).
There is no .~lock.MyFile.odt# file anywhere to be found, not hidden, not visible.
This problem appeared suddenly, and with all the OpenOffice files on the computer, logs show nothing, i have given the user full admin rights (even network lvl to see if this could resolve the issue).

It's a very confusing situation, i am sure that SOMETHING happens but i cannot trace his steps to find out what has been done to cause this problem.

If someone has some ideas, please reply.
Regards J
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby RoryOF » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:13 pm

There may be a leftover .lock file in an upper level of the OO user profile. With OO closed, find the OO user profile:

As Windows is being used do this by:
Close OpenOffice and the Quickstarter (they are probably already closed). Open File Explorer (sometimes Windows Explorer). Copy and paste %appdata%\OpenOffice\4 in the File Explorer/Windows Explorer Address Bar and press Enter.
Alongside the folder User in the windows that opens you may see a file .lock. Delete that. Now restart OpenOffice and all should be well.

If the problem persists, verify if the OO data files have been restored from a backup or DVD or USB or by a system restore. If so, they may have acquired a system level read-only attribute, which should be removed at system level. Verify also if the User is identical to the creator of the files (spelling and capitalisation are possibly important here).
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby PDV » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:10 pm

Hello RoryOF.

There are no leftover locks of the OO files, i have checked all the folders where these files where saved to see if there is anything there.
Also did i check the %appdata%\OpenOffice\4 folder for lock files. none to be seen.

The same happened 2 weeks ago, an installation of OO solved the issue but only temporary, there is only one user for these files and they have never been moved from or to another media.
The files became editable after re-installing OO, and now the same is happening to random files that are opened.

Kind Regards Jorrit
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby martinbean » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:45 pm

Hi Rory.

I have also tried pasting what you suggested in File Explorer - no .lock or anything similar. I have also tried "properties" on the user folder that comes up (and all my other folders), unselecting the "read only" that is there, then OK and "Apply". Doesn't help, the "read only" is back there if I look at properties again ! Like the last poster, I have knowingly done nothing to be in this situation, no system restores or anything else. I am reluctant to uninstall/re-install OO in case I lose my current files and folders. Martin
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby RoryOF » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:47 pm

Un/Re-installing OpenOffice will not cause loss of OO files.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Villeroy » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:16 pm

martinbean wrote:Hi Rory.

I have also tried pasting what you suggested in File Explorer - no .lock or anything similar. I have also tried "properties" on the user folder that comes up (and all my other folders), unselecting the "read only" that is there, then OK and "Apply". Doesn't help, the "read only" is back there if I look at properties again ! Like the last poster, I have knowingly done nothing to be in this situation, no system restores or anything else. I am reluctant to uninstall/re-install OO in case I lose my current files and folders. Martin

If the content of your own user folder is not writable, this has nothing to do with OpenOffice or any other application. It is an issue with your operating system.
The folder itself may be is protected. I don't know I had a look at a Windows PC. But the files and folders therein must be editable
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:42 pm

martinbean wrote:I have also tried "properties" on the user folder that comes up (and all my other folders), unselecting the "read only" that is there, then OK and "Apply". Doesn't help, the "read only" is back there if I look at properties again !

Folders can't be set "read-only". The Read-only box on a folder's Properties dialog is used to set or unset the read-only attribute of files within the folder. You can add the Attributes column to File Explorer and verify that the "R" attribute is not added to a folder when you use the Read-only box on the folder's Properties dialog, but the "R" attribute is added or removed from files in the folder.

How to Set or Unset Read-only Attribute of Files and Folders in Windows 10

If you can't write to a folder, then you need to look at the permissions on the Security tab of the folder.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby PDV » Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:21 pm

Hello martinbean.

Please don't get confused by the read only option in the folder.
If you look at other folders you will see exactly the same selection and still you can write to that folder.

I think we have the same issue, and the provided solutions are well meant standard solutions that i find on all the forum posts here.
But sadly the problem isn't solved by applying them.

These files are and stay write protected until you re-install OO, issue: after a few days the same will occur.
You won't loose anything when you re-install, just make sure you install it as the user that owns the files, and make sure you select "Install for all users" so you don't run into any other issue.
Be careful by editing folder properties, some system files can be affected when you change folder and or file properties and you may corrupt your windows itself by fumbling around to much.

Please keep in mind that this issue is OO related and not windows, multiple people have the same problem, and the solution is not to temper with the windows files but to track WHAT happened at the time this issue occurred.
I will do remote session 4 today, and have spent multiple hours trying to get my head around the issue.
(The customer is in Spain, me in Roumania at the time) so a lot of fun...

Regards Jorrit
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:18 pm

While "multiple" people have reported the problem many more multiples of people never have the problem. It may not be caused by AOO or Windows but by interference from another program. A forum search found that this problem has also been caused by Bitdefender Ransomware Protection. Who knows how many other protective programs may also do the same thing. Troubleshooting steps like starting Windows in Safe Mode may be necessary to track down the actual cause.

Re: Locked for editing by unknown user
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Villeroy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:43 pm

OpenOffice locks files for editing by adding a lock file. The lock file will be removed after the file has been saved to disk cleanly. If this is not the case, you get an error message analog to the topic title and the initial post of this topic.

OpenOffice can not change any attributes of files and folders.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:54 pm

Villeroy wrote:The lock file will be removed after the file has been saved to disk cleanly. If this is not the case, you get an error message analog to the topic title and the initial post of this topic.

Normally, if the lock file hasn't been removed then the file should open without any error message when it is reopened by the same user (I've observed this many times). The error message should appear only if it is opened by a different user, but since the user name is in the lock file, the error message should show an actual user name, not "unknown user".

In the case where the error message appears for all files but there are no lock files present, then the error message is a red herring. I suspect that "unknown user" is shown in the message because there is no lock file to provide a user name.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Villeroy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:45 pm

Ah, thank you. I am not very familiar with this kind of problem. However, there are other locking mechanisms that do not use a lock file. If the error shows "unknown user" and there is no lock file, then I would think that the file was not locked by the office application.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby PDV » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:43 pm

Bill wrote:While "multiple" people have reported the problem many more multiples of people never have the problem. It may not be caused by AOO or Windows but by interference from another program. A forum search found that this problem has also been caused by Bitdefender Ransomware Protection. Who knows how many other protective programs may also do the same thing. Troubleshooting steps like starting Windows in Safe Mode may be necessary to track down the actual cause.

Re: Locked for editing by unknown user



Hello Bill.
That was a great push towards another solution :super: , and i will have a look into that too.
As this customer has lately installed bitdefender!.

please be aware that i'm not attacking OO at all :) i'm an IT engineer with a HUGE love for Opensource and OO.
Since i couldn't point the issue to windows, and since a lot of the answers posted here do point to a possible windows failure, i made the post.

I'll update you when i have more information about Bitdefender and OO.

Regards Jorrit
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:18 pm

Here's another thread where Comodo was causing the problem:

Re: All files locked after update to 4.1.1
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby bestia1 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:35 pm

Hi !
Experienced a power failure while Open Office was open. Now I get a message "Document file 'xxx.ods' is locked for editing by: Unknown User. Open document read-only or open a copy of the document for editing. "Properties" shows the normal user entries. I just cannot find anything that will show what is locking the document.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby RoryOF » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:46 pm

Enable viewing of hidden files, then with OpenOffice closed, open the OpenOffice User profile.

As you are using Windows close OpenOffice and the Quickstarter. Open File
Explorer. Copy and paste %appdata%\OpenOffice\4 in the File Explorer (sometimes called Windows Explorer)
Address Bar and press Enter.
Beside the "user" folder you may see a lock file. Delete this and start OpenOffice
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Dr. Sillimillimum » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:49 pm

I've had this problem for two days and I just got out of it, hopefully for good, by changing my Bitdefender. I went to VIEW FEATURES (blue letters middle of right edge of opening screen) > SAFE FILES > Application Access and changed OpenOffice 4.1.2 from Blocked to Allowed. I'm proud that I was able to do ANYTHING, as I'm not a computer expert.

On the other hand, why is this happening now -- as the containing folder was added to SAFE FILES > Protected Folders some time ago?

At least, my experience shows that there was another function in Bitdefender besides Ransomware Protection that could cause this problem!

Thanks guys for helping out!
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Villeroy » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:15 pm

martinbean wrote:Every file I have, even any new untitled document comes up as "locked by an unknown user".

@ Dr. Sillimillimum
Are you very sure that you faced the exact same symptoms (same error message with any type of document) as "martinbean"?
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby maharg » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:02 pm

I've read through the posts and, I must admit I'm at a loss as whether the replies apply to my problem.
I've just updated to version 4.1.4 and all my folders are now read-only. I went to properties, unmarked read-only and clicked apply. On looking at properties again, the files were back to marked read-only. I also noticed that in Advanced I still have a now defunct email address but can't see how to change it.
I did do a copy of a file and edited it then saved it with a new name. That file is also now read-only. Is there a bug in 4.1.4 that has caused this? I could do with an idiot-proof explanation as I'm not in the least techie!!
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Villeroy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:10 pm

No, it is a problem with Windows and the anti-virus bloat around it.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby RoryOF » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:13 pm

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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:35 pm

maharg wrote:I've read through the posts and, I must admit I'm at a loss as whether the replies apply to my problem.
I've just updated to version 4.1.4 and all my folders are now read-only. I went to properties, unmarked read-only and clicked apply. On looking at properties again, the files were back to marked read-only.

If you mean that the read-only box on the folder's propertied dialog was shaded or filled, that's the normal condition for that box. It doesn't mean that the folder is read-only.
maharg wrote:I also noticed that in Advanced I still have a now defunct email address but can't see how to change it.

If you mean the Advanced button on the Security tab for the folder, the email address is probably the email address you used when you opened your Microsoft account. You should seek help from Microsoft or a Windows forum for how to change it.
maharg wrote:I did do a copy of a file and edited it then saved it with a new name. That file is also now read-only.

Please explain why you think the file is read-only. Does a message appear somewhere that says so? If so, what does the message say?
maharg wrote:Is there a bug in 4.1.4 that has caused this?

I doubt it. Most users don't have a problem after updating to AOO 4.1.4.
maharg wrote:I could do with an idiot-proof explanation as I'm not in the least techie!!

No such explanation is possible until we know what is happening and why.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Villeroy » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:55 pm

Comodo, Bitdefender and dozends of other 3rd-party products constantly supervise applications trying to access computer resources and now there is a new built-in "feature" in Windows which requires that you explicitly allow applications to write files.
Windows 10 is announced to be the last Windows version. Users of MS Windows have to accept that every update orgy (many Gigabytes every month) adds something new since Windows has become a never ending "rolling release". We have fed this monster for 3 decades and now it tries to take over our machines together with our privacy and our minds. Microsoft fights a war on your system and OpenOffice is one of the enemies.
Please, edit this topic's initial post and add "[Solved]" to the subject line if your problem has been solved.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby martinbean » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:28 am

I have uninstalled and re-installed OO and followed all other advice, but still have the original problem, every file I open comes up as "Document in use" in a small box with open to "read only" or to "open copy" If I open "copy", I can edit it and save it with a new name, which is a bit of a pain. Sounds as if "Maharg" who posted on November 29th has exactly the same problem. If it's a Windows or antivirus issue, what do we do about it ? Like Maharg, I am not really computer technical.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby Bill » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:48 pm

martinbean wrote:I have uninstalled and re-installed OO and followed all other advice, but still have the original problem, every file I open comes up as "Document in use" in a small box with open to "read only" or to "open copy" If I open "copy", I can edit it and save it with a new name, which is a bit of a pain. Sounds as if "Maharg" who posted on November 29th has exactly the same problem.

The only common denominator between your problem and the problem as reported by maharg is the term "read only". Maharg said nothing about any "Document in use" message but implied that all folders became read only after updating to AOO 4.1.4. Opening a document in a read only folder doesn't produce the "Document in use" message. In fact, the Documents folder where users should be saving documents is set read only by Windows when the user account is set up, but files in read only folders should open normally just as they would if the folder was not read only. Most users would never even be aware that the folder is read only.

I don't believe this is a Windows issue since I haven't been able to reproduce the problem. I can get the "Document in use" message with "Unknown User" in the message by creating an empty lock file for a document file, but that only produces the message for one document, not all documents.

If the problem is caused by third party antivirus, antiransomware, etc, then you need to find out how to set them up properly so they don't cause a problem. This forum is about using OpenOffice, not about setting up other programs.
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Re: Files locked by unknown user

Postby maharg » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:25 pm

Hi Bill,I've managed to change my Microsoft account to my new email. I'm still trying to contact Windows to change the Administrator from my old email though I've managed to change the Email & Apps accounts to my new email.
I still have a problem with AOO though. Looking at Security in Properties, my old address is in the users list. ie the one I registered with, I've clicked on Add but can't find a way in the subsequent form to put in my new address. Can you explain to me how to do this, as this might? be the reason I'm getting the locked message.
ATM I'm having to open copies of every file I use to edit them, and then save them with a new name. If I want to use that file again I'm having to do the same thing all over again. So I can still use AOO but it so time consuming doing all this. I'm hoping the addition of my new account will solve the problem.
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