We have some shares setup on a Windows 2003 R2 server, and the MS Office files people save behave properly: The first person to open the file gets read/write, and the second person to open the file while the first person still has the file open, gets a read-only version.

This is not true for the graphics files, like Adobe Illustrator .AI files, and Photoshop .PSD files. Anyone who goes to open these files has full read/write, even if someone else is already working on the file! This has lead to numerous file corruption issues, as well as other lost work, since it always saves the last changes to the file.

How do we get Windows to properly lock these files so when someone is working on a file, and someone else wants to open one, they get read-only access?

Many thanks,


  • I have since learned that file locking is done by the client application, which MS Office does well, and Adobe apps do not. Is the only way to do this with a DAM server? – bgarlock May 11 '10 at 20:07
  • sharepoint maybe! – tony roth May 12 '10 at 18:25

This is a feature of the application, not of Windows. There is nothing built into Windows that makes this work. It's all part of Office, which is a separate product. Microsoft Office knows to check for and create a special lock file when opening a document. Adobe's products just don't do that and don't have that feature.

There is a separate feature in Windows and other operating systems that allows a filestream to be opened in such a way that it has exclusive use of the file, but this is a very low level construct. It's very different from the feature you're talking about. Opening a filestream at this level is very different from an application loading a file.

To help solve your problem, you can add this ability yourself by implementing a document library. A very simple and free example would be a source control repository, but obviously that's something not all users will understand. A Sharepoint library is an example of a more mainstream option (for certain definitions of "mainstream").

  • I'm toying with the idea of integrating our SVN server with this somehow. Thanks for your insight... – bgarlock May 11 '10 at 21:39

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