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We have a Windows 2008 r2 file server that has a share that the users are mapped to that is full of PDFs. One department (A) has read/write access and most others (B) just have read access. If someone has one of the files open in either A or B department an A user isn't able to write to the file.

How can the end users determine who has the file open without me checking that out on the server?

Today this happened and the server showed that a user had about 15 PDFs open but he said he didn't and hadn't opened any of them recently and didn't have Acrobat open. I checked out his computer and saw that he had Windows 7 explorer file preview option enabled which showed a thumbnail of the files. It seems like this feature is prefetching the files to generate the thumbnails. It would seem like a nightmare for file access auditing that the user was opening up so many files.

Am I correct that explorer was prefetching them?

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3 Answers 3

To answer your last question yes prefetching does inhibit you from updating a pdf directly. I just tested and validated that. As for how to find out if the file is locked that seems trickier. I tested a few powershell scripts but the results came back inconclusive. I am interested if someone has a definitive solution for the file lock monitoring.

I would consider disabling the preview pane from Group Policy angle. Here is an article on how to disable it from the gpedit.exe tool.

http://www.guidingtech.com/12308/permanently-disable-preview-pane-windows-7-explorer/

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One can remotely see who has what file open on a file server, but only if that user has administrative rights. One possibility would be to run a GUI- or web-based application that allows users to see files to which they have access and be able to close them out as needed, running the data collection part as an administrative user.

If you're apt at programming, you could write an app that does this task. I've got something in our environment that goes half way - it brings up the list of open files from our file server. It wouldn't be hard to extend this to add a close function.

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One department (A) has read/write access and most others (B) just have read access. If someone has one of the files open in either A or B department an A user isn't able to write to the file.

I don't see how someone in B dept. can put a lock on a PDF without write access to that file. A dept users I can see that happening if they are running full Adobe.

How can the end users determine who has the file open without me checking that out on the server?

There's not a way for a client to know this as far as PDFs go. Office at least has the "in use by..." and inserts the name of the person "running" Office that has the Office file open. I say "running" because it grabs the name from the name entered on Office first run not necessarily the logged in user.

Today this happened and the server showed that a user had about 15 PDFs open but he said he didn't and hadn't opened any of them recently and didn't have Acrobat open.

If Open Files on the server showed this I can think of 3 scenarios. 1) someone else is using their credentials. 2) Offline files/syncing 3) real time A/V scanning is happening on the files - possibly through a mapped drive and the A/V software is set to scan mapped drives.

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I did some testing on the file locking issue. I found that PDFs would lock even without write access but other file types wouldn't. –  PHLiGHT Oct 9 '13 at 13:06

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