• Index/Approve Error: Collection files are busy (8/4/2011)

Need assistance for CONTENTdm?

Index/Approve Error: Collection files are busy

Last review: August 4, 2011

Description: When trying to approve records or build the search index, an error displays stating that the collection files are busy.


When writing to collection files, CONTENTdm creates a lock file that is deleted when the operation is complete. This is a safety feature to prevent database corruption. It is possible this error is being received because another user was simultaneously working on the collection. It is also possible that the lock file was not properly removed, and the error message is incorrect.

Following are some reasons why the lock file may not have been deleted:

1) Two requests came in simultaneously, either from two different users or an accidental double-click in CONTENTdm Administration.

2) A build or approve operation did not complete successfully.

3) File permissions problems in the collection data files prevent the user account from modifying the files and creating the necessary temporary files to complete the index or approve operation.

One way to narrow down the cause of the problem is to try to approve and/or index using the command-line utilities. Since they do not operate through the Web server, reasons 1), 2) and 3) can probably be eliminated as the cause. For more information on using the command-line tools, see the following Help files:

Building the Index
Approving Items

If the index process continues to give the "busy" message (even when run at the command line) and you are sure there is no other index or approve process running on the data, you can manually clear the lock. In any given collection, the busy message is triggered by the presence of:


There may also be additional locks in place for the CONTENTdm Administration web interface. Those files are:


Deleting those two files will allow CONTENTdm Administration users to issue submit Approve or Index request to the server.

If you are experiencing difficulties on an earlier version of CONTENTdm, your issue may have been fixed by a later release.

See CONTENTdm Downloads and Add-ons.