When you save and open files across a network or from removable media, many variables affect application performance. Consequently, some problems occur more frequently when you work across a network or removable media than when you work from a local hard disk (for example, damaged files, denied access, or slow performance). In these situations, Adobe Illustrator may return one of the following error messages:

  • "Could not complete this operation because this file is in an unknown format."
  • "Could not complete the request because the file is locked."
  • "Could not save because of a disk error."
  • "File is busy."
  • "Can't save the illustration."
  • "Missing file."

Note: Problems using Illustrator files across a network or from removable media can be intermittent or delayed.

Adobe Technical Support only supports using Illustrator on a local hard disk. It's difficult to re-create or accurately identify network- and peripheral-configuration problems. 

Illustrator supports working across networks and from removable media and is vigorously tested across multiple network configurations. However, not all existing network configurations which include different software, hardware, settings, and access rights have been tested. Therefore, your network or network configuration can cause errors, crashes, or unexpected behavior.

Issues when working from networks or removable media

Illustrator is a resource-intensive application, requiring more RAM and hard disk space than most other applications. While you can use Illustrator files from networks and removable media, you can compromise the performance and reliability of the application. For example, Illustrator reads and writes file data while you work on a file. Therefore, the access speed of the disk containing artwork or Illustrator scratch disk files determines how quickly Illustrator can process image data. Internal hard disks have faster access speeds than network servers (that is, a hard disk accessed over a network) or removable media.

Note: Illustrator does not support network or removable drives as scratch disks, or folders of file sync services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Additional variables when using networks

Organizations use many different network configurations (for example, multi-launch, client-server, or peer-peer) and types (for example, ethernet, token ring, or IP). Each configuration requires specialized software and hardware, with varying set-ups, preferences, and updates. This additional layer of software and hardware can impact application performance. (For example, the amplitude of line noise, RF interference, or packet collisions are all factors that impact the reliability of the network.)

Multiple factors affect data transmission along a network, including file servers, routers, bridges, network cards, software, cables, connectors, power cables, and power supplies. Network connections can suddenly become unavailable, increasing the risk of data loss and application error. During transmission and reception, network software verifies that data has been sent and received. The depth of verification depends on the network software package, and may not be accessible by the operating system. Saving files on a network drive or placing linked files in Illustrator from a network drive can slow down Illustrator, or corrupt your files. Additionally, you can receive the error, "Could not complete the request because the file is locked," or "Could not save because of a disk error." However, the network and operating system may not notify you if an Illustrator file or scratch disk file contains damaged or incomplete information.

Additional variables when using removable media

There are many kinds of removable media (for example, portable external hard drives, flash drives) that many companies manufacture. They all require your operating system to recognize cables or connections and device drivers. Also, removable media are more easily damaged than internal disks, increasing the risk of damaged image data or scratch disk files.

Recommended workflow

Technical Support strongly recommends working in Illustrator directly on the local hard disk. To prevent data loss, save files to your hard disk first. Then transfer them to the network or removable drive in the Finder or in Windows Explorer. To retrieve files, copy them in the Finder or in Windows Explorer from the network or removable drive to your hard disk. You can then open the files in Illustrator. This workflow avoids problems that occur when network system setups or removable media device drivers are incompatible with the operating system or Illustrator.

Suggestions for troubleshooting

If you work directly from networks or removable media and you experience problems, use the suggestions below to troubleshoot. Different factors can cause problems, including memory conflicts among device drivers, damaged or conflicting files, operating system software, hardware, or low-level DOS (Windows) problems.

Disclaimer: The following instructions are provided as a courtesy. Adobe Systems doesn't support troubleshooting of networks or of removable media products.

  • Make sure that you install the latest update for Illustrator.
  • Transfer the file to a local hard disk, and then open it in Illustrator.
  • Use another computer connected to the same network or type of removable media.
  • Set the scratch disks to a local hard disk.
  • Check with your network administrator to determine if there are any known issues with the network or if a network configuration (for example, updated drivers or changed access privileges) has been changed.

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