Open files have traditionally been a “pain point” for IT folks.  We’re often contacted by users receiving an error message regarding file access, or we’re attempting to do maintenance on a server only to find that a user has failed to close a document and we receive a message indicating that a file is open.  There are dozens of ways to go about figuring out who has what file open.  In this tip, I’ll show you how to use Windows Server 2008’s Share and Storage Management administrative tool to accomplish this goal.

Windows Server 2008’s Share and Storage Management is simply the next version of tools that were introduced with Windows Server 2003 R2 and made the job for Windows administrators much easier when it came to dealing with file servers.  Share and Storage Management combines a number of related tools that were previously separate, including:

  • File Server Resource Manager
  • Disk Defragmenter
  • Disk Management
  • Storage Manager for SANs

To start the tool, choose Start > Administrative Tools > Share and Storage Management.  You’ll get a screen like the one below.

Click to open: Share and Storage Management

To see what files are open on your system, from the Action pane of the tool, choose Manage Open Files.  A screen opens up that provides you with a list of the files and folders that are open on your server. The list provides you with information regarding the user that has the file open as well as the file’s location.  In the screen below, note that the administrator has three folders and one document open.  It can be hard to tell what is a folder and what is a document, but note that, for this user, Read/Write rights are available on the document, but not on the folders.  Of course, this won’t always be the case.

Click to open: A list of open files

You can easily close the open file by either choosing the file and clicking the Close Selected button, or by clicking Close All.  Note that users will lose any unsaved work if you close their file out from under them,