As anyone who’s ever looked at the lower end of the front-page sidebar will know, I’m a major WordPad fiend, not because it’s a wonderful text editor it’s okay, but nothing spellbinding, as it were but because I’ve been using it so long that I’ve managed to pound it into some semblance of submission: ninety-something percent of the time, I can get it to do what I want with no fuss.
A couple of weeks ago, I was working up a Vent, and at some point shy of completion I decided I’d better save my work. Up popped a telltale Microsoft box to the effect that “The document is in use by another application or user and cannot be accessed.” I copied out all the text to another file, canceled the save, rebooted, and later pasted it back. No problems.
A few days later, on a project at work, I got the same message. Trini wondered if maybe this was NTFS telling us that it couldn’t rewrite the file because of bad disk sectors, and we cranked up a long and tedious disk diagnostic, which reported no errors. After a couple of hours, I offered a suggestion, but had no real way to test it until last night, when it cropped up once more.
Rewind about twelve months, to the point where I installed Copernic Desktop Search, which gets used on a regular basis on both these boxes, mostly because Microsoft’s own search facility, functional in Windows 98, descended to the level of farce in XP. Copernic spends a lot of time indexing your files at first; once it’s done, it sneaks in under the radar to add any new ones when it sees you’re not especially busy.
Reasoning that well, what the hell else could it be, I got the dialog box, canceled my save, and suspended Copernic’s index function. It complained, of course; but once it had been ordered off the premises, the save worked as it was supposed to. Apparently once it’s spotted a file, it puts a lock on it until it’s finished updating the index which, if your nonbusy periods fall at the wrong time, might not have taken place yet when you’re ready to resave.
Mystery solved. I’d be unbelievably smug were my track record better than 1 for X, where X is a larger integer than I’d care to admit.