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We have an application hosted on a network drive that starts up whenever any user in our network logs in. Users can login from individual PCs, or from one of 4 terminal servers.

I'd like to update that application with a new .exe file, however can't because it is currently in use. It's locked even during hours we're closed because users typically lock their computers when they leave for the day instead of shutting them down.

Is there a way to force the application to be unlocked so I can replace it?

I've tried using Unlocker but it says no locking handle found. I've also tried simply renaming the file which has worked in the past for some files, but in this case it tells me the file is in use and cannot be renamed.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you look at the active sessions on the server, you can see who has handles open to the share that it is on. If you kill those sessions, you can update the file.

File and Share Manager

You can also just unshare it (which will kill all remote handles on it immediately), do the update, and then share it out again.

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+1 Beat me to it. – Brent Pabst Sep 5 '12 at 17:17
Thanks, although I feel like a complete idiot because I noticed running Unlocker on the server hosting the shared drive actually finds the locks and I can unlock the file like that (I was trying to unlock it from my local machine before). Accepting your answer anyways because this would be the best way if Unlocker wasn't working :) – Rachel Sep 5 '12 at 18:16
@Rachel Unlocker just looks at the same session info as this. I prefer this, since it's portable and you don't need to rely on a third party tool. – MDMarra Sep 5 '12 at 18:23
@MDMarra I understand, but in this particular case I was worried about killing all sessions since it was mid-day and we have a lot of other things connecting to that server, and killing all the current sessions could cause problems :) – Rachel Sep 5 '12 at 18:33
For what it's worth, Rachel, Windows has a native tool for closing down individual file-locks - try openfiles.exe. Cheers, Simon. – Simon Catlin Sep 5 '12 at 21:20

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