Problem: Unable to edit a shapefile or feature class in a file geodatabase


When saving edits to shapefiles or feature classes, the following error message may be returned:

"Unable to save edits. Cannot acquire a lock"


The issue occurs if one or more processes attempts edit a shapefile or feature class simultaneously.

Feature classes only support a single editor and multiple readers

When a shapefile or feature class is accessed by an application, a shared or exclusive schema lock is applied based on the operation being executed. These locks are needed to prevent other processes from modifying the same data and possibly corrupting the data. For more information, refer to the following ArcGIS Help document, File geodatabases and locking.

Solution or Workaround

• Ensure that only a single user is editing a shapefile or feature class.

• If the shapefile or feature class is within an application that may be hung, terminate the process to release the lock.

Once the locks are removed it should be possible to persist edits to the data.

    Related Information