I have a Google Drive folder where I keep some .psd Photoshop files. The folder is set up for automatic background Google Drive sync.

When I work on a Photoshop file and save it, Google Drive starts uploading the file to the server. If I save the same file again while Google Drive is still uploading, Photoshop shows this error message:

"Could not save the file because it is already in use or left open".

It seems that the file is locked by Google Drive while it is being uploaded and Photoshop can't access it in write mode.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to fix this problem (other than pausing Google Drive while working on the files)?

  • To be honest there really isn't a solution. The file is locked. You are using Google Drive in such a way it was not really designed ( i.e. network storage ).
    – Ramhound
    Feb 14, 2013 at 15:40
  • @Ramhound well, I think my use case is not so weird. If Google Drive appears as a normal system folder, one is allowed to modify files in there from time to time. This might be done opening the file with an application and saving it multiple times. I think this problem could have been mitigated locking the file for a very short time to make a temporary local copy on disk, releasing the original one and than reading the temp copy to upload it to the server, instead of locking the original file for the entire duration of the upload. Feb 14, 2013 at 17:23
  • You are right it could be avoided but htat would mean reporting the problem to Google and/or using different software to manage your Google Drive with. At the end of the day, everything is working like it should, you might be able to avoid this by using other tools to sync a "working" directory. This will allow you to sync the working directory but since the file your working on is not locked, you can perform additional saves on it. The sync program woudl complain about the file being locked ( ignore the error ) but then try again a few minutes later.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 14, 2013 at 17:31
  • In my experience Dropbox handles this correctly. I think Google Drive is just badly written. It also handles conflicts much worse than Dropbox, e.g. for me it has appended (1) to the original filename and then deleted the original! I've also heard that hilariously it will rename any files ending in (N) (where N is an integer) to (1). Google really hates the desktop. Especially Windows. Unfortunately Dropbox is more expensive.
    – Timmmm
    Apr 24, 2017 at 15:32

2 Answers 2


There's isn't a satisfactory solution to this in my opinion, let me give you a few options.

1) Use Google Drive when you're done working with the file. After closing it, put it in you Google Drive instead of constantly saving the file while it's located in your Google Drive.

2) Use an alternative backup / version control / sharing software. My personal favorite is PixelNovel Timeline, which uses Subversion to control your library. Subversion is made mainly for code and not so much binary files like graphics, but Timeline does a good job in creating a bridge between the worlds.

Here's a screenshot on how Timeline looks.

Timeline from PixelNovel

  • Thanks for you answer. I've already tried option 1, which is what I am currently doing (actually pausing Google Drive synchronization while I work on my projects and than re-activating it when I'm done), but I didn't know about Timeline. Mar 26, 2013 at 9:02
  • PixelNovel Timeline isn't available anymore :( Apr 6, 2016 at 10:32

I was having the same problem which is why I found this thread.

I had switched to Google Drive because it gives more free space than Microsoft's OneDrive. After reading there is no good solution to this nearly show-stopping problem, I went back to OneDrive for certain files like photoshop and animation (Maxon). OneDrive does not share this behavior, at least on my Windows 10 machine, so it allows saving files exactly as you and I want.

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