Applies to: Player 5.0 for ArcGIS Pro, Player 4.4 for ArcMap, Player 4.3

The Player database is typically managed with an Esri file geodatabase. A file geodatabase is a folder - with .GDB at the end of the name - that contains a collection of files that can store, query and manage spatial data (wells, field, CRS...) as well as nonspatial data (tables of rows and columns).  It is the standard container for Esri data (replacing shapefiles). 

File geodatabases are essentially single user. Esri say “a file geodatabase supports many readers or one writer per feature dataset, stand-alone feature class, or table”. So one person could be editing a table, another person editing a feature class and the third the feature classes within a feature dataset without experiencing issues. Read more about this from Esri support: FAQ: Can multiple users edit a file geodatabase at the same time? However the way Player map documents are structured, as soon as one geologist starts editing the Player geodatabase, all others are locked out.

LOCK files

ArcGIS ensures "data integrity" (only one editor) by preventing multiple processes from simultaneously accessing data in conflicting ways. It does this by placing *.lock files in the file geodatabase folder each time a process accesses a dataset. 

There are different .lock files in a file geodatabase that track different things.

  • Schema .lock file - When someone is using the GDB, a schema lock is added. This prevents the schema (featureclass and table definitions) from changing outside of your session. There is one schema lock for every computer accessing the GDB. The name of the file identifies which geologists/computers are accessing  the geodatabase: _gdb.<computer name>.<1234>.<PID>.sr.lock where PID is the process ID on the computer locking the dataset; use Task Manager (on the named computer) to investigate.

  • Table .lock files - These indicate someone is ‘reading’ the data. Adding a layer to ArcMap will create one of these locks. There is one .lock file per layer per computer per ArcMap session that has the layer open. These can generally be deleted without consequence.
  • Edit .lock files - If someone has started the ArcMap Editor; there will be an edit .lock file. A file GDB can only have one person editing a dataset at a time – so there will be one of these per featureclass/table.

Removing LOCK files

Typically, you don't need to worry about lock files in the geobatabase. When ArcMap or ArcCatalog is shutdown correctly, the *.lock files it created are automatically deleted. However when ArcMap or ArcCatalog crash, lock files may be temporarily left behind in the geodatabase folder. ArcGIS eventually removes these files in future sessions as new locks are taken. In the meantime, such files do not continue to lock data, and as they take up no disk space, removing them provides no benefit.

The correct way to delete unused .lock files is to use the Compact geoprocessing tool

  • In ArcMap open the mini Catalog window. 
  • Right click the Player.gdb and choose Administration > Compact Database. Click OK.
    If this fails because the file geodatabase is "in use" (another geologist or a "zombie" ArcMap.exe or ArcCatalog.exe has an existing lock on the geodatabase), you need to quit the other ArcMap.
  • If you are prevented from running Compact, get help from your GIS support. Or contact GIS-PAX support. But if you know what you are doing, continue:
    • Open File Explorer and navigate to the Player.gdb folder.
    • Select the _gdb.<computername> files. Delete the lock files (this is safe to do, but DON'T delete any other files in this folder).
      If you get the following error, note the computer name.
    • Go to the computer from the previous step. Close all ArcMap sessions.
      If this doesn't remove the lock file, there is probably a "zombie" ArcMap.exe (ArcMap crashed but didn't close) process running on that computer.
    • RIght click the Windows Taskbar and choose Task Manager. Click the Processes tab (for Windows 7) or Details tab (for Windows 10).
      Identify any processes named ArcMap.exe or ArcCatalog.exe.
      Make sure nobody is still legitimately using ArcGIS on this computer!!
      If you are still confident, right click and choose End Process.
    • Try the Compact step again.

Related Topics

The following links are from Esri: