Disable File Locking in Acrobat (Windows)

Explorer ,
Aug 17, 2017 Aug 17, 2017

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One of the most frustrating issues I have with Acrobat is that it always locks files it opens, even if I am only viewing (not editing).  Is there a way to disable file locking?  If not, it would be extremely helpful if Acrobat only locked files when in  "edit" mode or not at all.

The situation frequently arises where an application is outputting PDFs, the PDFs open automatically in Acrobat, but if we want to overwrite a file, we have to close it in Acrobat first. Working between applications, this locking can be very confusing for users.  Most PC applications do not lock files in this way - it is up to the user.

Thanks!

-Donald Newlands

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General troubleshooting

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Adobe Employee ,
Aug 17, 2017 Aug 17, 2017

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No, there is no way to disable such file locking. And for good reason ...

It isn't just a matter of whether Acrobat is editing the file or not. Acrobat doesn't read the entire file into memory at one time; PDF files can literally be gigabytes in size! If the file wasn't locked and it was deleted or changed while the file was open, you would end up with a situation in which Acrobat would not be able to count on the integrity of what it was reading (or unable to read) from disk. The alternative would have been for Acrobat to make a complete temporary directory of every file that it opens. That would be time and disk consuming.

Quite frankly, I'd be very wary of any applications that allow files that it currently has opened to be modified or deleted behind its back.

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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Explorer ,
Aug 17, 2017 Aug 17, 2017

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Dov,

Thanks for your reply, but I disagree. 

As long as the file is not being edited, there is absolutely no technical need for Acrobat to lock it. I would rather have an error that the file has been deleted or modified and needs to be reloaded than a nanny file lock that prevents my applications from working together.

-Donald

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New Here ,
Sep 27, 2019 Sep 27, 2019

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Not to mention that Acrobat refuses to let go in a timely fashion. Not only this, but acrobat should NEVER lock a file just to create a thumbnail. Light touch only! if you're making a thumbnail and lose access to the file, so what, fail gracefully. Instead what happens? I get "file is in use and cannot be moved at this time" why? because I touched the file to select it to move it! this is just poor developer behavior! not impressed and this has been a problem for over a decade!

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2020 Oct 08, 2020

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I have to reboot my PC to be able to rename/move/delete a PDF file. It's ruined my workflow. I even tried to change PDF to open with MS Word and Acrobat still locks the file. The company I work for pays to license the full Adobe Creative Suite. Can you please advise a workaround for this problem?

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2020 Oct 08, 2020

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I have to reboot my PC to be able to rename/move/delete a PDF file. It's ruined my  workflow. I even tried to change PDF to open with MS Word and Acrobat still locks the file. The company I work for pays to license the  full Adobe Creative Suite. Can you please advise a workaround for this problem?

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 24, 2021 Mar 24, 2021

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The fundamental issue with Acrobat (and its associated processes), which has been present for many years, is that it does not correctly release file locks once a file has been closed. For example, generate a PDF file from any software and open it in Acrobat. Close it in Acrobat, try to rewrite that PDF, and your software tells you the file cannot be rewritten as it is already open, but it is NOT! However, go to Windows Resource Monitor's "Associated Handles" area, search for your PDF filename, and every time it is Adobe processes that are still holding the file open, even though you closed it. The only solution is to kill these processes in Task Manager, or close Acrobat altogether, every time you want to rewrite the PDF file! This is truly amateur and fundamentally bad file handling by Acrobat and its associated processes. It is the only software I have ever used that exhibits this serious error, and over many years as a technical writer it has plagued my productivity at the most critical times. Adobe: please listen and fix your badly written software; don't roll out more excuses.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 24, 2021 Mar 24, 2021

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I ended up making a batch file and keeping it on my desktop. It kills all instances of Acrobat. Faster than having to pull up task manager every time. 

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