Lock and unlock folders or files in Team Foundation Version Control

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This content applies to files managed by Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) that you need to lock or unlock. For help unlocking files in use by programs on your PC, use the Handle and Process Explorer tools to help you find which program that is locking your file(s).

A folder or file tracked by TFVC can be locked or unlocked to deny or restore the user's privileges. Privileges include checking out an item for edit into a different workspace or checking in Pending Changes to an item from a different workspace. For more information, see Create and work with workspaces.

You can use a lock to temporarily freeze the server version of an item so that you can check in a pending change without having to resolve any merge conflicts. If you want to permanently prevent access to an item on the server, you should use the Permission Command instead.


You can use the Lock command to remove another user's lock if you have sufficient permissions.


See Permissions and groups reference.

To lock a folder or file from Source Control Explorer


These options will appear only when you are making changes in a server workspace. The use of local workspaces in your Team Project makes check-out locks un-enforcable. Learn more.

  1. On the View menu, choose Other Windows,and then choose Source Control Explorer.

    You can also double-click Source Control in Team Explorer.

  2. In Source Control Explorer, right-click on the file you want to apply a lock, and select Advanced.., then Lock.. (Visual Studio 2015) or Lock.. (Visual Studio 2013)

  3. In the Lock dialog box select the file or folder you want.

  4. Choose either the Check Out lock or the Check In lock type, and then choose Lock . Learn more about TFVC lock types.

    Under Pending Changes, Source Control Explorer displays the status: lock. The next time your pending changes are checked into the workspace, the lock will be removed. For more information, see Check in your work to the team's codebase and understanding locks


    You can also lock folders and files from the command line. For more information, see Lock Command.

To unlock a folder or file from Source Control Explorer


You can only unlock files other members of your team have locked if you have UnlockOther permissions. If you don't have permission to unlock a file the option will be inaccessible.

  1. While working in the server workspace, navigate to the View menu and choose Other Windows, then choose Source Control Explorer.

  2. In Source Control Explorer, open the shortcut menu for the folder or file from which you want to remove a lock, and then choose Unlock.

See Also

Other Resources

Understand lock types

Lock Command

Use Source Control Explorer to manage files under version control