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Fix locked file errors in QuickBooks Desktop

Learn what to do if you see "file in use" or other errors that temporarily block you from using your company file in QuickBooks Desktop for Windows.

Do you see one of these errors when you try to open or edit your company file?

  • Company File in use. Please wait.
    Only one user at a time is allowed to do (a task).
  • Another QuickBooks user is currently performing a task which must finish before you can continue.
  • Sorry, you cannot change this (transaction) now. (Another user) is currently doing a task that uses that in this transaction.
  • The automatic entry of (transactions) is being skipped because (another user) is accessing them.

Don't worry, your company file is still in good shape. Here’s what to do in these situations so you can get back to business.

If the error says another user is doing something

Usually these errors happen when another user is doing a QuickBooks task that's limited to one user at a time, even in multi-user mode.

In that case, you can start your task as soon as the other user finishes. If you know who the user is, you may want to reach out and ask for a heads-up when they're done.

If you're sure the error isn't because of another user, here are other solutions to try.

If the error consistently refers to a specific user

If the error consistently refers to a specific user, and that user is not actually doing a task in QuickBooks, try these steps:

  1. Have the user that’s referred to in the error close and reopen QuickBooks on their workstation.
  2. On another workstation, open QuickBooks. Go to the Company menu and select Users, then View Users.
  3. Have the user that’s referred to in the error sign out of QuickBooks on their workstation.
  4. Go back to the list of users. If the specific user no longer appears as signed in, you should be able to do the task without the error. If the user still appears as signed in, try the solutions below for both “Waiting for Company File” and “error on multiple workstations.”

If the error says "Waiting for company file" or "Company File in Use. Please Wait”

These messages usually indicate performance issues. Examples include network issues, database issues, conflicting programs, and a server or workstation that doesn't meet the system requirements for QuickBooks. Try these articles for help:

If the error appears on multiple workstations

  1. Open QuickBooks.
  2. From the File menu, select Utilities.
    • If Stop Hosting Multi-User Access appears on the menu, select it and then select Yes to confirm.
    • If Host Multi-User Access appears on the menu, go to the next step.
  3. Close QuickBooks.
  4. Repeat the steps above on all workstations that do not host the company file.
  5. Open QuickBooks and try doing the task that caused the error. If you still get the error, go on to solution 2.
  1. Go to the server and make sure all workstations have QuickBooks closed.
  2. Select the Start menu and then select Run.
  3. In the Open field, enter services.msc, then select OK.
  4. Select QuickBooksDBXX from the Name column. The item you select depends on which version of QuickBooks Desktop you have:
    • QuickBooksDB30 = QuickBooks 2020
    • QuickBooksDB29 = QuickBooks 2019
    • QuickBooksDB28 = QuickBooks 2018
  5. Select the Stop link. Note: This will end all users’ access to the company file.
  6. Select the Start link. This will let users access the company file again when they sign in.
  7. Open QuickBooks and try doing the task. If you still get the error, go on to solution 3.

The QuickBooks Tool Hub brings together various tools to help you fix common problems. Here’s what to do in this situation:

  1. Follow the steps to download and install the tool hub on your server.
  2. Open the tool hub.
  3. Select the Program Problems tab.
  4. Run each of the tools on the Program Problems tab. After you run each tool, try doing the task again in QuickBooks. If you still get the error, go on to solution 4.

If the error persists on only one workstation

If the error keeps happening on only one user’s workstation, there may be a problem with their QuickBooks or Windows permissions. Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the Company menu and select Users, then Set up Users and Roles.
  2. In the Users and Roles window, select New. In the User Name field, add a name. If you want, you can add and confirm a password.
  3. From the Roles window, select a role, select Add, then OK.
  4. If you need to make other changes to the role, select the Role List tab, then select Edit. Add or reassign permissions as needed, then select OK.
  5. Select Close in the Users and Roles window.
  6. Sign out of QuickBooks on the workstation. Then sign in as the newly created user. Test the user's access to make sure it’s set up as you want it.
  7. Try doing the task as the new user. If the error still appears, go on to solution 2.
  1. Follow the steps to create a new Windows user with admin rights.
  2. Sign in to Windows as this user on the workstation.
  3. Right-click on the QuickBooks icon on your desktop and select Run as administrator. This should let you do the task on the workstation without getting the error.

If you’ve tried all the solutions above and are still stuck, reach out to us. We’ll work with you to fix this problem.

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