Error: Error calling unlink for file

Error Message

This error occurs when geocoding or creating/converting a shapefile:

"Error calling unlink on file ..."


When geocoding or creating/converting to a shapefile, ArcView prompts you to name the new shapefile and navigate to where you want to store it. This error will occur if your project already has a reference to a DBF format file of the same suffix name in the same directory.

When a shapefile is created, three files are written: <yourfile>.shp, <yourfile>.shx, and <yourfile>.dbf. If there is already a DBF file of the same file, ArcView attempts to overwrite it with the new DBF file. Since ArcView already holds a reference to the old file, the new file cannot unlink the old one and the error occurs.

Solution or Workaround

  • If you must store the shapefile and the original DBF file in the same directory, rename the suffix of the shapefile to something different than the original DBF.
  • If the shapefile must have the same name as the original DBF file, save the new shapefile in a different directory.