Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is your AutoCAD acting up? Fixing the User Profile...

This one goes out as a thanks to our uber CAD Manager, Nick Seman, who works in the home office at Camp Hill, PA. I'd been having trouble creating projects in AutoCAD P&ID, where I kept getting failures trying to create a new project. Since we push our software to our users over the network, sometimes it;s not an easy task to just "reinstall the software", as support is prone to telling us. One important note - if you're not comfortable editing the registry, then don't try this - get some help from someone who one of your kids, or the neighborhood computer geek...

Make sure your AutoCAD program that's giving you issues is closed. If you've customized your AutoCAD, back the user folder (usually something like this: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\
Autodesk\AutoCAD 2015\R20.0\enu) up to a different location (Microsoft Windows stores user profile data in the registry, and you can help AutoCAD rebuild their profiles by simply renaming a couple of keys (don't delete them, in case you screw this up). To get to the registry editor, look at the start menu (if you don't have this in Windows 8, that's a whole other issue - get yourself a start menu app to fix this). Use the Search section to type in "regedit" and press enter to continue. If you get a security warning, select OK to continue.

In the registry, you're looking for the HKEY_CURRENT_USER section - don't make this change in the local machine, as it won't fix the problem.Browse to the Software > Autodesk > AutoCAD key:

You'll see the version first - for example, R19.1 is the 2014 product line, while 20.0 is the 2015 product line. Since this is an AutoCAD issue, you may see several keys that start with ACAD. Each one of these represents a specific product, such as AutoCAD Plant 3D (which is where I had the problem, in the database connection part). To see software a key is used for, select it - the E017:409 key displays the program info in the right pane. this way, you know that both E017 keys are related to Plant 3D. In my case, E006 is related to AutoCAD MEP, and E001 is related to plain AutoCAD 2015.

This fix is easy - simply right click on each key for your product, and then choose Rename. Add an "x" in front of the name - do NOT delete the key. Renaming these forces the program to repair the user profile. When you re-open the software, you'll get an installation dialog - let it run, as this is fixing the problem. Check your program after it opens to make sure it's working correctly.

If this doesn't correct the problem, you can repeat the same steps, but this time, rename the C:\USERS\(your username)\Appdata\Roaming\AutoDesk folder for your product, such as AutoCAD P&ID 2014, or MEP 2015...whatever program is giving you the problem. Simply rename it to have an "X" at the start of the name.

If this fixes the problem, go back and delete the renamed keys and folders...after you're sure it's all working correctly. You might want to check the old folder for plotter PC3 files, CTB files, CUI's and anything else you may have customized. These items should be pointed to a custom folder if you're going to be editing them for company standards...and updating the user profile is one of the big reasons why.

Try this out if the traditional fixes don't work, and you can't get a good explanation for why your program is buggy. Make sure you have administrative privileges to the computer and user folder when you do this - if you don't, get your IT guy to take care of it for you.

Happy de-bugging - David B.

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