Open / locked files can only be copied by SyncBackLite/SE/Pro when the following criteria are met:

  • SyncBackFree does not support copying of open/locked files. It is only available in SyncBackLite, SyncBackSE and SyncBackPro.
  • SyncBackLite/SE/Pro is being used on Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows 2012, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or newer. Open/locked files can be copied when using 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows. For SyncBackLite, please note that Windows Server versions are not supported.
  • The open / locked file is on a local volume on an internal drive that is formatted with NTFS or ReFS, or it is on a local volume on an internal drive that is formatted with FAT32 and you also have a local volume on an internal drive that is formatted with NTFS or ReFS. You can copy locked files to any other drive (external or internal), network drive, Zip file, FTP, etc. The restriction (which is a restriction in Windows itself) is on where the locked file is, not where it is copied to. If the file is on a remote Windows drive then using SyncBack Touch may be the solution (see below).
  • You are running SyncBackLite/SE/Pro with a user who is an Administrator (on Vista or newer, on Windows Server 2003 the user must be a member of the Backup Operators group). If Vista or newer is being used then SyncBackLite/SE/Pro must be run with elevated privileges (which is the default, but may not be the case if you've modified or deleted the manifest file) as an Administrator. Using SyncBack Touch you can copy open/locked files without this requirement (see below).

"Local" means a volume on a drive that is physically connected to the computer, i.e. open / locked files cannot be copied from drives over the network.


"Internal" means a drive that is connected via IDE, SCSI, or SATA. Drives connected via USB, Firewire, eSATA, etc. are considered external. Basically, if the drive is inside your computer's case, then it is considered internal.


Check the Non-critical Errors in the log file to see if you've received any errors related to open file copying. For more information on those errors please read this article.

Possible reasons why an open / locked file cannot be copied:

  • The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is not installed or working correctly. VSS is a part of Windows and not SyncBackLite/SE/Pro. It is used to copy open / locked files. If there is a problem with VSS then the log file will contain the error messages in the log file (see the Non-critical Errors section) or other error message related to open files.
  • Only one profile can copy open / locked files from a particular volume at any one time. If two profiles are running at the same time then only one of them will be able to copy the open / locked files from that volume. If you are running profiles in a group then deselect the option to run them in parallel.
  • Desktop search programs like Copernicus Desktop Search (CDS), Google Desktop Search (GDS), and MSN Search Toolbar can interfere with the copying of open / locked files. You may need to close those programs to guarantee that open / locked files can be copied.
  • The open file is on a "virtual" volume, e.g. you are using a 3rd party program like DriveCrypt. Open files cannot be copied from those drives. This can also be the case where the profile 'points to' (is configured to include) virtual paths (e.g., symbolic links provided by Windows for use by legacy programs) to the real path\location of the file. VSS can not be used to copy open/locked files via virtual paths, but can generally copy the file via the real storage path.
  • Whether open/locked files can be copied from a virtual drive-letter created with the SUBST command (providing the underlying physical drive which the SUBST command points to fulfils the other usual criteria) may depend on your version of Windows. It appears this is not possible in Server 2003, but may be possible in Vista and later versions.
  • Some software (e.g. Acronis True Image 9) can also cause VSS to stop working. There have also been reports of Symantec Antivirus Corporate Edition and Microsoft Visio causing problems with VSS.
  • In some cases when a profile has just been imported, or SyncBackLite/SE/Pro has just been installed and run from the installation program, it may fail to copy open / locked files. Reboot and try again.
  • Make sure you've installed all the latest Windows updates & patches. Microsoft regularly releases hot-fixes and updates.
  • The file(s) or partition may be corrupted. Run chkdsk/scandisk to check for errors.
  • Make sure you are using the latest version of SyncBackLite/SE/Pro.
  • If the log file contains the error Timed-out waiting for access to VSS DLL then see this page for details.

SyncBack Touch

SyncBack Touch is a cross-platform file server. It lets SyncBackPro and SyncBackSE copy files to and from another device, e.g. Windows, macOS, Linux or Android device. SyncBackFree and SyncBackLite cannot use SyncBack Touch.


Simply install SyncBack Touch on the device you want to the access the files on and then create a profile in SyncBackPro/SE to use that device. 


On Windows, SyncBack Touch runs as a Windows service in the background. It can copy open/locked files and also has access to all the files the Windows internal system account can access. This means the user running SyncBackPro/SE doesn't need to be an Administrator to copy open/locked files, nor do they need to be one to access all the files.