Error: Cannot acquire a schema lock because of an existing lock

Error Message

A schema lock cannot be acquired because of an existing lock.


When creating a new feature dataset or feature class in a file geodatabase located on a network drive, an error is returned indicating that the file is locked even though only one user is accessing the file. While this issue was originally reported through feature dataset and feature class creation, any schema change that creates new files in the file geodatabase may encounter this behavior.

Some anti-virus programs running on the network have been identified as part of this problem. This can result in locking issues between the anti-virus software and ArcGIS.

Some anti-virus programs scan newly created files on creation. This can result in locking issues.

Anti-virus programs known to cause this problem include BitDefender and Etrust.

Review the issue, in general, with an RDBMS (SQL Server).

Solution or Workaround


  • Modify the anti-virus program to not scan newly created files in network drive directories where the file geodatabase data is being maintained. Reference the documentation for the anti-virus software being used, as the solution may vary between products.
  • Create and load data on a local drive.
  • Shut down the anti-virus program scans for the file geodatabase directories.

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