A deadlock error is a situation where a process or program cannot start because the resource it needs is being used by another process or program.
In other words, the processes or programs that are already using the respective resources are preventing other processes from accessing them. The only solution to solve this issue is to release the resources.
Deadlock errors are specific to operating systems where multiple processes require access to the same resources. Two or more processes may sometimes come into conflict over the same resource.
When a process is unable to access the resources it needs to run properly, it automatically enters a waiting state. If the resources remain blocked, the processes won’t launch. However, the duration of the waiting state is often limited. If the system resources remain unavailable, the waiting ends, and the process that failed to start throws an error message.
A Simple Analogy
Image two cars coming toward each other on a one-lane road. The cars cannot move once they’re in front of each other. Something similar happens when a process is waiting for a resource acquired by another program.
Deadlock Errors in Windows 10
Here are some quick examples of deadlock errors in Windows 10:
- Another program is using this file.
- The document is in use by another application and cannot be accessed.
- The file is in use by another program/ process/ user.
Some of you may already be familiar with these errors. We also covered some of them here on Technipages:
- Fix This Device is Waiting on Another Device to Start
- Windows 10: Another Program Is Currently Using This File
As you can see, all these error examples indicate that another program is using the file (the resource, if you will). As a result, if a second program requests access to that file, permission is denied.
⇒ Did You Know That?
Windows 10 uses Driver Verifier to detect deadlocks. Microsoft also offers a utility named Application Verifier which is included in the Windows Software Development Kit. The tool analyzes programs while they’re running to detect potential design or execution flaws that could cause deadlocks.
How to Prevent Deadlock Errors
Two of the simplest ways to avoid deadlock errors consists in:
- Adding multiple instances of the same resource type.
- Allowing processes to share resources with other processes.
However, these solutions are not always feasible on certain computer configurations.