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"Cannot Copy Outlook" Error Message. "The Process Cannot Access The File Because Another Process Has Locked it"

"Cannot copy Outlook; The Process Cannot Access The File Because Another Process Has Locked a Portion of the File"

In Outlook 2003, on two separate office computers, the above error message appears when trying to copy or backup the main Outlook directory, or indeed one of the additional .pst files that are also opened within Outlook.

Obviously Outlook will not allow these files to be backed up whilst Outlook is open; however the error message still displays when Outlook has been closed down and even when the computer is restarted without opening Outlook at all!

The only possible work around we have located so far, is to login to the computer using a different user name, whereupon all the required Outlook files and folders can then be backed up.

For reference, both computers are new Dell models running Windows XP and are using standard POP3 based email accounts in a small workgroup setting.

How can this problem with backing up the Outlook data files be best resolved?
Avatar of AndreDekolta

Hello itcroydon!

Make sure Outlook is not running...then in Task Manager, stop the Outlook.exe application.


Sometimes OL doesn't close properly...
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No, the problem still happens when the computer is rebooted and before Outlook has ben re-opened again.
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Yahoo Desktop has been known to lock up Outlook. So if you added any solftware lately, disable them.  Then test.
I'll check whether the database program in use integrates with Outlook or not!