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I got this error because there was another application reading from the serial port when I tried to flash my new program. In my case, it was a python script that was monitoring serial data being generated by the arduino but I suppose it could happen as the result of just having a serial console (like putty or minicom) open while trying to flash. At any rate, look for any process that might be using the com port and kill it OR (if the process terminates when it loses serial connectivity) unplug the arduino and plug it back in.
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