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Lock Command

Locks or unlocks a file or folder to deny or restore the right of users to check out an item for edit into a different workspace or to check in pending changes to an item from a different workspace.

Required Permissions

To use the lock command, you must have the Lock permission set to Allow. Having the Unlock other user's changes permission set to Allow is required to remove a lock held by another user if you do not have Write permission for that user's workspace. For more information, see Permission reference for Team Foundation Server.

tf lock itemspec /lock:(none|checkout|checkin) 
[/workspace:workspacename] [/recursive] [/login:username,[password]] [/collection:TeamProjectCollectionUrl] 




Identifies the file or folder to lock or unlock. For more information about how Team Foundation parses itemspecs to determine which items are within scope, see Command-Line Options.

Note Note

You can specify more than one Itemspec argument.


The user-provided value for the /workspace option.


Provides a value to the /login option. You can specify a username value as either DOMAIN\UserName or UserName.


The URL of the team project collection that contains the file or folder that you want to lock or unlock (for example, http://myserver:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection).




Specifies a lock type or removes a lock from an item. For more information, see Understand lock types.

Lock Options:

  • None

    Removes a lock from an item.

  • Checkin

    Enables an item to be checked out and edited in all workspaces but prevents users from checking in changes to the item outside the specified /workspace until you explicitly release the check-in lock. If the specified item is locked in any other workspace, the lock operation fails.

  • Checkout

    Prevents users from checking in or checking out the specified items until you explicitly release the lock. If users have locked any one of the specified items, or if pending changes exists against any one of the items, the lock operation fails.


Specifies the name of a different workspace in which to apply the lock. By default, the lock is applied in the workspace in which you are currently.


Specifies the user name and password to authenticate the user with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.


Specifies the team project collection.

You can use the lock command to temporarily freeze the Team Foundation version control server version of an item so that you can check in a pending change without having to resolve any merge conflicts. If you want to permanently prevent access to an item in the Team Foundation version control server, you should use the Permission Command instead.

Note Note

As a courtesy to your teammates, notify them when you apply a lock to an item, explain why you are doing this, and estimate when you plan to remove the lock, if you can.

For more information on how to find the tf command-line utility, see Tf Command-Line Utility Commands.

How to Lock an Item

You can lock an item using the lock command or by specifying a lock option during the commission of several other commands of the tf command-line utility that includes:

For add and branch, the lock is placed on the namespace where the new item will be created. Locks placed with rename apply both to the old and new namespaces. For more information, see Lock and unlock folders or files.

Lock Types

Team Foundation provides two types of locks: checkin and checkout.

A check-in lock is less restrictive than a check-out lock. When you apply a check-in lock, users can continue to make local changes to the item in other workspaces. The changes cannot be checked in until you explicitly remove the check-in lock from the workspace.

A check-out lock is more restrictive than a check-in lock. When you apply a check-out lock to a version-controlled file or folder, users can neither check out the file for edit nor check in pre-existing pending changes. You cannot acquire a check-out lock if there are currently any pending changes to an item.

For more information about when to apply a check-out lock and when to apply a check-in lock, see Understand lock types.

How Locking Works

If you have a file checked out when you lock it, its status is modified to contain the new lock type. If the files are not checked out, a "lock" change is added to the set of pending workspace changes. Unlike the checkout command, lock does not automatically make a file editable.

Locks on folders are implicitly recursive. If you lock a folder, you do not have to lock the files it contains unless you want to apply the more restrictive check-out lock to a file in a folder that has a check-in lock.

Unlocking an Item

You can unlock a locked item using the none option. Additionally, Team Foundation unlocks an item automatically when you check in pending changes in the workspace.

You can determine which files are locked in the Team Foundation version control server and by whom the files were locked using the Status command.

The following example prevents other users from checking out 314.cs.

c:\projects>tf lock /lock:checkout 314.cs

The following example prevents other users from checking in changes to 1256.cs but enables them to check it out in their workspaces.

c:\projects>tf lock /lock:checkin 1256.cs

The following example prevents other users from pending changes to any items in the src/ folder in the Team Foundation version control server.

c:\projects>tf lock /lock:checkout $/src

The following example unlocks and makes all files in the src/ Team Foundation version control server folder available for check-out and check-in by other users.

c:\projects>tf lock /lock:none src/