Possible solution: “Sorry, something went wrong. The file is locked for exclusive use by…”

I recently ran into the following error when someone tried to edit a shared Excel file from OneDrive (we’re running SharePoint Server 2016).

“Sorry, something went wrong. The file {address} is locked for exclusive use by {name}.”

Troubleshooting

The user in question, who had it “locked for use,” had the file open in Excel (client, not online) when their computer unexpectedly shut down. This locked others from editing the file. The first few things you should try (stop if one of the steps fixes the issue):

  1. If the user still has it open, have them save and close out. If it really was checked out, check it in with their account.
  2. Make sure the user who has it locked has closed all office apps (Task Manager is a good way to see if anything is running in the background)
  3. Have that user restart their machine used to edit the file in the first place for good measure
  4. You can try waiting a day to see if the lock lifts overnight or after a few hours.

What worked for me

Now that you’ve confirmed the individual who had the file locked can’t really have it open or locked, you can try the solution that worked for me. At the bottom of this post, I’ve listed more ideas I tried that might work for you.

  1. Open the user’s OneDrive in SharePoint Designer (the address may resemble https://mysites.COMPANY.org/personal/USERNAME)
  2. Navigate via “All Files” via the left nav to the file in question. It probably has a padlock icon on it.
  3. Right-click the file name and select “Edit File in Advanced Mode”
  4. Save the file in SharePoint Designer.

I can’t explain why this worked, I know it’s completely illogical, but it worked.

Here’s a thread on SharePoint’s user voice regarding this error.

What might work for you

Here are some things you can try that were not successful for me (but might work for you):

  • I tried copying the file and deleting the original but could not delete it (in browser, PowerShell, or SharePoint Designer)
  • I tried this PowerShell solution and it told me who had it “checked out,” and when it would expire which was helpful, but it was unable to release the lock
    • P.S. I waited for the expiration, but it renewed itself
  • I tried checking it in via browser and SharePoint Designer (because it appeared checked out) but got a message saying it wasn’t
    Click to enlarge
  • From the owner’s OneDrive (where the file was stored/created) I disabled check-out requirement via Site Contents –> Library Settings –> Versioning settings
    Click to enlarge

2 Replies to “Possible solution: “Sorry, something went wrong. The file is locked for exclusive use by…””

  1. What has worked for me is to have the user in question re-open the file and save it. This usually removed the lock status away from the file.

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