You may or may not have heard that Autodesk’s Vault family of products has undergone a major rebranding in the current release (Vault 2010). Vault remains as Vault, but Productstream has changed its name to Vault Manufacturing. There are also two other new versions of Vault; Vault Workgroup and Vault Collaboration. As well as the major rebranding, significant effort has been invested into developing new and existing functionality within each version of the software. My intention is not to digress into other those details as this new functionality is documented within the help and other online resources.
The implications of implementing this new functionality has led to some supported workflows, requiring a certain degree of tweaking. One example of this would be the Object Security (file and folder level) in Vault Workgroup, Collaboration and Manufacturing 2010. In Productstream there was the ability to lock files. This happened automatically (by default) when a file was assigned an Item and then Released. It was also possible to lock a file manually. However, File Locking is relatively inflexible compared to permission based Object Security. (A file is either locked or not locked for all users). A more flexible method might be to use the "Access Control List" model (you may hear someone referring to ACL's as "Ackle's") which is more familiar to Windows users, where you can explicitly Allow or Deny a user or a group of users permission to Read, Modify or Delete a file or folder.
Object Security and Access Control Lists are not a new feature in Vault Manufacturing, but in 2010 its functionality has expanded to the degree that the original problem intended to be addressed by File Locking (to block all users from changing a file) has effectively been duplicated and rendered obsolete by this more recent and more flexible solution.
One popular aspect of file locking was that it was easy to display to the user, the locked status of the file with the "File Locked" System property. However, displaying this dynamic information provided by the ACL for every file did have a major impact on performance. With the shipping version of Vault Workgroup, Collaboration and Manufacturing 2010, this status is not displayed, and this was noted during the beta testing. How to make this work, without significantly impacting performance is still being investigated.
For users wishing to simply prevent anyone else from making changes to a file, there is always the ability to check the file out (preferred), or you can Assign Item to the file and release it, or you can select the file and from the pull down menus, select File>Properties and click the Security tab. Then click the Override Security option to apply the necessary security restrictions. (See movie below)