Message: The file appears to be locked.

Reference Number: KB-00964 Last Updated: 11-10-2014 12:52 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials or Home Designer Landscape & Deck


When I try to open a particular file, this message displays: "The file appears to be locked. This could be the result of another user or program using the file. This may also result from having insufficient security privileges to access this file."  What do I need to do to open this file?


Just as this Warning message indicates, there are a couple of broad reasons why it may occur:

  • It might be already open in an application, possibly by another Chief Architect user.
  • Your Windows User Account may not have sufficient rights to open the file where it is currently located.

The best way to resolve this issue will depend on the cause.


If the file is already in use

There are several scenarios in which a Chief Architect plan or layout file that you wish to open might already be in use elsewhere.  It could, for example, be:

  • Open in an older version of Chief Architect running on your computer;
  • Open in a session of the current version of Chief Architect that has not completely shut down and is running in the background on your computer;
  • Open in a session of Chief Architect running on another computer on your network.

The first of these scenarios is easy to resolve - if another version of Chief Architect is running, simply save your work and close the file.

The second scenario requires a little bit of investigation.  Save your work and then close Chief Architect.  Then, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete on your keyboard and choose to launch the Windows Task Manager.  On the Processes tab, check the list of processes for anything with Chief Architect in the name.  If you find one or more instances, and you have no instances of Chief Architect running, then something on your system is interfering with the program closing down completely.  You can manually close the process by selecting it in the list and clicking on End Process.

The third scenario means that you and your colleagues work on Chief Architect files across a network, which is a practice that we strongly caution against.  Working over a network not only slows program performance - it increases the risk of data loss and permanent file corruption. To learn more, please see article 971 in this Help Database: Error: File being read is terminated early.

If you do not have adequate user rights

If you are sure that the plan or layout file in question is not already in use elsewhere, then it's likely that your Windows User Account does not have sufficient rights to access the file where it is currently saved. 

One way to avoid this issue is to copy the file(s) in question to a location on your computer where you do have rights - for example, your Documents directory (My Documents on Windows XP).

If you are attempting to open a file that was e-mailed to you or posted online, first save a copy of the file to your computer's hard drive at a location where you have rights like the Documents directory.  Then, launch the program and open the file.

Another way to address the issue is to create a new Windows User Account that does have adequate permissions.  To learn more, visit Microsoft's web site:


Windows 7:

Windows Vista:

Windows XP: