I'm new to this forurm so please forgive me if I'm violating decorum.

I'm moving gnucash 4 to a new computer, just like I've done in the past. Both run windows 10. This time, I'm getting the "can't obtain lock" error. I can open the file read-only, but can't save it anywhere, even on an external drive.

  1. The fix on the web is to click "open anyway" instead of "read only." Doing this on the new computer opens a blank file, not the file with the data I'm trying to move.
  2. I found a .lck file on my old computer (which works fine). I copied it to the new computer. Now, step 1 "open anyway" opens the file and shows the correct data rather than a blank file. But I still can't save it anywhere, even to an external drive or Dropbox. I still get the message, "Could not write to (pathname\filename). ...May be on a read-only file system, you may not have write permission for the directory, or your anti-virus software is preventing this action." It's not anti-virus and I have permission to write.
  3. I've tried version 5 on the new machine. Same results.
  4. Rebooting makes no difference.
  5. I've installed other software on this new machine without a problem like this, so I don't think it's windows 10 misbehaving.

I'm out of ideas. Any suggestions?

  • Have you contacted their support? This forum is not really for software support. Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 6:11

1 Answer 1


It's not clear what's causing this problem. It sounds like a folder permissions issue, but you say that you've checked that, so who knows?

While I can't offer a definitive solution, one thing worth trying is to use your Dropbox as an intermediate file storage:

  1. Set up a dedicated GnuCash directory in your Dropbox. Using the Dropbox app, you can set up Dropbox to appear as a local drive on your computer in both Windows and Linux [you probably know this :) ];
  2. Set up folder permissions to ensure that you can read from and write to that Dropbox directory from both your old and new computers;
  3. Run GnuCash on your old computer and "Save As" to place your GnuCash data file in the Dropbox directory. Close GnuCash down on your old computer to leave a complete, clean GnuCash data file in Dropbox.
  4. Open GnuCash on your new computer, and using File/Open, navigate to the Dropbox directory containing your Gnucash data file. Open it.
  5. Use GnuCash to save your file in a location of your choice (which may be back into the Dropbox folder - that's where I keep my GnuCash files so they are accessible from both Windows and Linux machines).

I'm not sure if this will overcome your particular difficulties, but that's the process I'd be trying next.

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