Crashes and Errors and Lags, Oh My!


To say that there are never any problems that occur with Cad products is not a stretch, it’s just flat out untrue! For those of us in the Cad industry, we have dealt with all kinds of errors and crashes and performance lags as almost an expected occurrence in our daily routines. I would love to tell you that I have a “magic button” for you to download or a virtual box of Calgon (Calgon, take me away!) but unfortunately, this is the real world! However what I can and will do, is to provide you with some tips that hopefully will improve machine performance and show you how to deal with drawings that routinely crash. Does that sound good to you?

First, let’s talk about machine performance. I always start off talking about my own personal recommendations for your machine to run Civil 3D. 3 GB of RAM is a good place to start. Remember, that if you are running XP, it only utilizes 2GB of RAM so you will have to go into the registry and flip the 3GB switch. For those unfamiliar with how to do this, go to the following site:

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/item?siteID=123112&id=9729516&linkID=9240697

Great. This will show a definite improvement in performance; especially when working with large data sets. Anything else? Yes! Besides the RAM, video cards are extremely important. I recommend at least (very least) a 512 MB card, but if you can get a 1GB card, even better! And the other recommendation for your machine is a large hard drive. Huh? What does this have to do with machine performance? When your computer starts to run low on RAM, it uses empty hard drive space as a resource.

Now let’s discuss drawing crashes and errors. When you have a drawing that crashes often, or gets to a point where you can no longer even open it up, there are a few things you can try.
Run a recover on the drawing. This is done without the drawing being open and will perform an audit and fix found errors in the drawing. This is a great tool that works in a lot of cases, especially when you can’t even open a drawing! If you have tried this and still couldn’t open a drawing, never fear! I have something else for you to try and I will talk about it in a minute.

If you can open the drawing, there are two things you can try. The first is to run an audit. This works in a lot of instances, but if you have tried it and still have issues, the next step I would recommend would be to write block your drawing objects out to a clean new dwg. BE CAREFUL! DO NOT SELECT ALL when you are writing the objects out! If your drawing has corruption in it (the main source of crashes and errors) you may bring that corruption with your objects into the new drawing! Be sure to manually select the drawing objects to be written out.

Ok, so what was it I told you I would mention later? Oh yeah! What if I do a recovery and I still can’t open my drawing?
This can be the result of regapps in the drawing that really “gum up the works”. Ok Einstein, how do I get rid of them? Go to the following link to download an awesome utility:

http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/ps/dl/item?siteID=123112&id=11807875&linkID=9240698

This will take you to the regapp id cleanup utility download page. This page explains all about the utility, but in a nutshell, it performs a seek and destroy for these regapp id’s that were left in your drawing. You don’t even have to be in Civil 3D to run it. And, since you pick a folder to run it in, you can have it check several drawings at once! It rocks!

The last thing I want to talk about is how to improve machine performance. There are a few things to mention here. By no means, are these cure all techniques, but they should help. First, run a registry scanner and cleaner regularly. This can help track down issues and get rid of them. If your registry is good, you will see better performance. Also, run a cleanup utility to help get rid of unnecessary junk. The following site has an excellent product to check out:

http://www.stevengould.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=69

This thing gets rid of files that you may not have even known existed! Another tip is to get rid of any junk that you are not using. Why keep unnecessary stuff around knowing how disc free space can be utilized by your machine?
Lastly, close unnecessary applications. I don’t need to have every Microsoft product open at once with 10 instances of Autodesk products open while I’m connected to 25 websites and streaming 15 music sites while I’m messaging everyone and replying to the whole staff’s emails!

Hopefully, these tips will help you get back some performance and you will have an easier time dealing with corrupted drawings.

Civil Infrastructure software is my main professional interest. Civil 3D, Infraworks, and Recap are what I work with mostly. I have been with CADsoft Consulting for over 10 years now. I got my start using Softdesk and AutoCAD R12 in DOS. My wife and I have four children and I am a die hard Red Sox fan.