Tableau Server Locks the Output Excel File After It Has Been Overwritten Several Times

Published: 12 May 2023
Last Modified Date: 21 Jul 2023


After running a flow on Tableau Server several times, "The action can't be completed because the folder or a file in it is open in another program." or "The action can't be completed because the file is open in tabprotosrv.exe" message appears when attempting to delete the overwritten output Excel file in Network Drive.

The issue may occur when output file is located under maestro.input.allowed_paths.

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  • Tableau Server 2021.3-2022.3
  • Excel



Follow the steps below to identify the process that is locking the file and kill it on the node where the Flowprocessor or Backgrounder resides. Make sure no other flows are being run at the time of doing this, to avoid causing flow failures.
  • On Windows, open Resource Monitor, go to CPU tab, selecting the process that might be causing the issue (tabprotosrv or flowprocessor), and looking at "Associated Handles". Type in the file name. If process shows up, then the selected process (tabprotosrv or flowprocessor) should be killed.
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  • On Linux, run "lsof /path/to/file" to see which process has a handle on the file. Kill that process.

Below are steps and options for the permanent fix/solution of the issue.

Option 1:

Upgrade to Tableau Server 2023.1 or later release.

Option 2:

Specify an output path that is not included in the maestro.input.allowed_paths.

Option 3:

Move the Excel file before Tableau Server overwrite it.


The output Excel file is locked by Tableau Server process.
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