"File already in use" error when you try to open an Access database that's located on a server

Note

Office 365 ProPlus is being renamed to Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. For more information about this change, read this blog post.

Original KB number:   289681

Note

This article applies only to a Microsoft Access database (.accdb and .mdb). Requires knowledge of the user interface on single-user computers.

Symptoms

When you try to open a database that is located on a server, you may receive the following error message:

Couldn't use <filename>; file already in use.

Cause

If doesn't have the Create permissions for the folder in which the database is located, the Microsoft Jet database engine can't create the locking information file. The file is necessary for multiple users to open the database. So if a corresponding file doesn't already exist, a user who doesn't have the Create permissions opens the database exclusively.

Note

The locking information file is:

  • *.ldb in Access 2003 and in earlier versions of Access
  • *.laccdb in Access 2007/2010

Workaround

To prevent this behavior, make sure that all users who open the database have the Read, Write, and Create permissions for the folder in which the database is located.

Additionally, if you're using a security-enhanced Access database, make sure that the users who open the database also have the Read and Write permissions on the folder. The folder contains the workgroup information (.mdw) file.

More Information

In order to open a database in shared mode, the Microsoft Jet database engine must be able to create a locking information file (*.ldb or *.laccdb) in the same folder as the database itself.

For more information about .ldb files, click Microsoft Access Help on the Help menu, type sharing access database in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the content.

References

For additional information about .ldb files, see the following article:

Introduction to lock files (.laccdb and .ldb) in Access