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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

How to troubleshoot and rescue your corrupted Revit Models ?

Is your Revit model corrupt or causing crashes? Is the team unable to work and is losing productivity? In this article we will share with you our knowledge and the tools required to analyze and identify issues using the journal files and slog files to troubleshooting your Revit model. 

1. Signs of the error

Signs of error can appear in many ways. It could be something as obvious as a warning message or fatal error or something as inconspicuous as a family that can’t be edited.
Recognizing when something isn’t right is your first clue. If things just don’t feel right, it may be worthwhile to stop for a bit and check the pulse of your model before it flatlines on you.

Signs of the corrupted Revit model
Some signs of the error

Other signs of corrupted Revit model

  • Inability to Sync or Crash when syncing
  • Crash on saving file
  • Crash on editing an object
  • Failure to open or crash when opening a view
  • Crash when purging
  • Crash when auditing
  • Can’t print
  • Visibility Graphics won’t open

2. Steps of troubleshooting and rescue your model

2.1 Assess the Basics

Before performing any operation on the actual model, it is advisable to check the Vital Signs of the model and the overall system, one should always check the basics first. Such as…

Model Vitals
  • Can you open the model?
  • Can you open the model with ‘audit’ toggled on?
  • Can you open the model closing all worksets using the specify option?
  • Can you open the Local model from a user and recreate a central?
  • Can you open the model isolating it from network?
  • Can you rename the model and open it?
System Vitals
  • Do I have the most recent updates for Revit installed?
  • Do I have the latest video card driver installed?
  • Were there any recent Windows updates?
  • Do I have enough free space on my computer?
  • Is the issue isolated to a user/computer/model?
  • Have I checked the Autodesk Knowledge Network and online forums?
Updated information for each version
2.2 Submit the Customer Error Report (CER)
In cases where Revit crashes and you the user is presented with the Customer Error Report submission dialog, it is highly advisable to submit the Error Report along with a brief description of what led to the crash. If an email address is provided, Autodesk will send an email right away or sometimes in the future if an update is needed or fixes the issue that caused the crash.
If you refer to release notes for a specific Revit version, i.e. 2017 http://bit.ly/2ygIptO Autodesk keeps track of the errors reported both via the CER and posts from the Revit forums and tries to proactively fix them and notify the customers.

2.3 Check the Revit Build version installed?
  • Build Version can be found under Help>About, in Journal file, or SLOG file.
  • Visit http://autode.sk/2fZS8Nt to check latest released Revit updates and identify Build numbers & Build Version. You can search this http://autode.sk/2gcrl0E page for a complete list of updates for various versions of Revit and if needed, you can download the available updates from your Autodesk Account Management page, or Autodesk Desktop App. https://manage.autodesk.com/cep/#products-services/updates
  • Verify the local computer has the latest build.
  • Verify all team members are on the same build.
  • If updating to the latest Build, make sure to apply the same update to all team members editing the file.
2.4 Do I have the latest (certified) video card driver installed?
If Revit is crashing intermittently, it is good practice to check for video card driver updates. Autodesk has a page dedicated to certified hardware but it’s important to note that it’s not completely up to date and just because a video card isn’t listed, that doesn’t mean it won’t work. Should you decide to update an old driver and for some reason it makes things worse in Revit, you can always roll back to a previous driver. Visit http://autode.sk/2ixu88T to check the latest Certified driver available for your video card.

2.5 Were there any recent Windows updates?
A lot of random issues lately have been attributed to Windows updates and the 4.7 version of the .NET Framework. This is especially more prevalent in the older versions of Revit because they simply don’t support the newer advances in Windows technology.
In case of major windows updates, i.e. Fall Creators, check hardware driver updates from manufacturers, including video card drivers. Windows 10 tends to update hardware drivers and they can cause issues as well. In that case a roll back may be necessary.

2.6 Do I have enough hard drive space available?
  • This one isn’t as obvious as the other but it’s just as important. Without adequate disk space, Revit won’t be able to save backup and temporary files. These days with computers being upgraded with smaller SSDs (128GB or 256GB) it is critical to monitor the space usage and cleaning periodically is highly recommended.
  • Whether the computer has enough hard drive space or not, it’s important to clear the %TEMP% folder. If you can’t delete everything, that’s okay. Crashed Revit sessions will leave large temporary files.
  • The Revit journals folder (for each version of Revit you have installed) is not an obvious location to check for temporary bloat. When saving a non-workshared model to a network drive, Revit will save a copy of the model to the journal folder and if for some reason Revit crashes, the copy of that model will be left behind. This folder also contains backups of the families edited in a particular session.
  • Refer to these tenforums.com articles (most topics are applicable to older versions)
  • How to Free Up Drive Space http://bit.ly/2ydTSKo
  • Run Disk Cleanup http://bit.ly/2ycAttl It will also find extraneous window update files including %TEMP% files.
2.7 Is the issue isolated to a user / computer / model?
Below is a list of troubleshooting questions to ask about the model:
  • Are you able to open other models without any issues?
  • Can other users open the same model without any issues on their machines?
  • Can another user log onto your machine and open the model?
  • Is this happening only for remote users at another location?
2.8 Have I checked the Autodesk Knowledge Network (AKN) and online forums
Lastly, check the forums. Most likely, you’re not the only one who’s had this particular issue.

  • Autodesk Knowledge Network http://autode.sk/2zpYw9H . The AKN search has improved and includes forum results.
  • Autodesk Revit forums http://autode.sk/2zp6UGo. If you cannot find the particular issue, post the issue. Autodesk has invested in staffing the forums with Autodesk Expert Elites and Autodesk employees who can help. As mentioned before, Autodesk tracks the errors reported on the forums tries to proactively fix them.
  • Revit community has a sticky topic where all new AKN articles related to Revit are listed. http://autode.sk/2iG0PNG
  • https://www.revitforum.org/ is another source to search for the problems and post items for discussions. However, the Autodesk forums are monitored by Autodesk Technical support employees.
  • Of course, there is always Google, Bing, etc.

3. Resuscitating Revit

Before diving into fixing the model, at times Revit application may need fixing it self. This may be true in case the Revit application is crashing. We have talked about the basics of checking for Revit updates, Windows updates, Video card drivers, and other system related checks and fixes. Let's look at fixing Revit application itself

3.1 Turn off Hardware Acceleration

Sometimes when encountering graphic artifacts or Revit crashing when interacting with the view, such as zoom, pan, orbit, try turning off the Hardware Acceleration. Refer to the Autodesk Knowledge Network article http://autode.sk/2zptGxJ to toggle the acceleration setting.

3.2 Reset Revit application settings

It may be that Revit application needs to be reset back to its default settings. Follow the steps below to reset Revit.
  • Navigate to and rename the following directories:
    • OLD NAME: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x
    • NEW NAME: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x_backup
  • Current User Settings
    • OLD NAME: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x
    • NEW NAME: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x_backup
  • Open the registry editor (Start >Type REGEDIT hit enter) Rename the following registry key:
    • OLD NAME: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\Revit\<Product Name>*\Workspace 
    • NEW NAME: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Autodesk\Revit\<Product Name>*\Workspace_backup
    • Replace <Product Name> with the Revit version, such as "Revit 2018"
    • Once those are renamed, restart Revit again. If user had any customized Keyboard shortcuts, close Revit and copy the keyboardshortcuts.xml file from the C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x_backup to the C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 201x folder and overwriting the file that was recreated during the reset.

3.3 Repair Revit Installation

  • Before following this procedure make sure to back up the Current User settings mentioned in the last topic as this will reset the Keyboard Shortcuts customizations.
  • In windows launch the Programs and Features control panel
  • Highlight the Revit version and click on Uninstall/Change.
  • Select Repair or Reinstall in the installer window.
  • Select Reinstall
  • Verify if this fixes the Revit crashing issue
  • TIP: another way to check what is the current Revit version is to look in the Program and Features Version column. Visit http://autode.sk/2fZS8Nt to figure out the Version listed in the Control Panel relates to the Revit update number.

3.4 Uninstalling and Reinstalling

As much as this being others and our least favorite thing to do, completely uninstall and reinstall Revit. Before embarking on this task, make sure to perform the Reset Revit applications settings procedure to backup your custom keyboard shortcuts.
The process is the same as Repair Revit installation, instead of clicking Repair, click Uninstall.
Autodesk Uninstall Tool
This http://autode.sk/2AAI2vx Autodesk AKN article goes over some additional methods of uninstalling in case simple methods fail. The only thing it does not mention is where to find the Autodesk Uninstall Tool in case it is not in the Start Menu as mentioned in the article. This is a great tool if one needs to uninstall Autodesk suites, or multiple software. It is located at:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Autodesk Shared\Uninstall Tool/R1/UninstallTool.exe

3.5 Launching Revit without Add-ins

As Revit API evolves, the access given to 3rd Party add-ins and scripting language is increasing. However rare, these sometimes can cause issues with the model or Revit application stability.
Refer to this AKN article http://autode.sk/2zqchoV for the procedure of disabling add-ins in-lieu of uninstalling them.
There is an open-source tool available developed by Stantec team that makes it easy to Enable
/ Disable Add-ins. http://bit.ly/2zxUMTx

4. Resuscitating a corrupt Revit model

There are many variables that can cause the Revit model to become corrupt. We talked about the symptoms:
  • Crash on Sync
  • Inability to Sync
  • Crash on Saving File
  • Crash on editing an object
  • Failure to open or crash when opening a view
  • Crash when purging
  • Crash when auditing
Here are a few reasons what can cause model corruption:
  • Read Write error to the storage media
    • Hard drive out of space
    • Connection interrupted while syncing
    • Program crash during a write event and other operations where the model is in the process of being modified.
      • Train the users to submit the Customer Error Reports, as mentioned before Autodesk monitors these proactively.
  • Bugs in the application.
    • These are usually fixed via updates or sometimes there are work arounds to prevent the bug from occurring. If your Revit is crashing, it is best to make sure ALL team members are on the same latest Revit update.
    • Examples of some of the latest bugs in the software:
      • Sun settings getting corrupted in 2017.
      • Families getting corrupted
  • Add-in modifying Revit database incorrectly or not completing transactions completely.
  • Sync operation interruption. Pressing cancel while syncing, or Undo after sync. AKN has a great article on this topic titled: What causes data corruption?
  • http://autode.sk/2zqNQaQ. It also gives excellent tips on how to prevent the issues which were also discussed in this handout under Assess the Basics. In our recent experience while working on Autodesk Support tickets via Directly, we have seen a lot of the symptoms have been caused by either corrupt families or corrupt views.
Here are some articles on AKN that can assist in the basics of file recovery

5. Tools for Troubleshooting Unexpected Behavior in Revit

Note: When using Revit tools for troubleshooting purposes, you might make changes that you will not want to keep. To avoid accidentally making unwanted changes to your project file, before going through any of the steps below, make a copy of the project (and if necessary linked project files) and only work with the copied file.
When troubleshooting a project-specific issue, get the following information. (This information is good for troubleshooting most software issues):
  • What is happening exactly, and why is it unexpected? (If you are the one with the issue, this information should be easy to get.) This information is important because if you don't have a clear idea of what you are trying to fix, then it is hard to know if (and when) you have fixed it.
  • Has this function worked in the past?
  • -- Yes - Find what has changed between when it last worked and now (different computer, network, hardware, software, add-ins, etc)
  • No - You may also need to verify that the process is supposed to work.
  • Is your product updated? Check to make sure there are no updates that you can apply.
  • It is a good idea to apply product updates when troubleshooting unexpected behavior (as updates often resolve such issues). In addition, if you are working with someone else to troubleshoot the issue, make sure everyone is using the same product version.

6. Minimizing File Corruption with Diet and Exercise

As proper diet and exercise are healthy for the human body, Revit, being a complex "animal", also needs a similar regimen.
The process of maintaining a healthy model relies on these major concepts. We have covered this a few times at the beginning of the document, however, it still needs to be repeated.

6.1 Computer Maintenance:

  • Apply latest updates to all team members simultaneously
  • Keep the video card driver relatively updated
  • Monitor Hard disk space ensuring there is at least 5GB available
  • Empty the %TEMP% folder regularly

6.2 Model file maintenance

  • Increase the number of backups
  • Audit the project and linked files periodically. At least once a week
  • Selective Purge
  • Compact
  • New locals. "A local file a day, keeps support away." – Harlan Brumm, 2009
  • New Central's occasionally
  • Review Warnings and keep them to a minimum.

6.3 Prevention

  • Vet the families from other sources, manufactures, consultants.
  • Periodically check your model for corrupt families. http://autode.sk/2i6ovOu
  • CAD files
    • Avoid Importing CAD
    • Avoid importing CAD and Explode CAD in project or families. Always use an interim file to convert CAD linework into Revit lines. In a new project or family Import the CAD, Explode and then remap the lines, patterns to match your company standards or OTB types and styles. Copy the cleaned up version into your actual project or family.
    • Link CAD files. It is advisable that CAD file should be cleaned up (especially civil files), purged, audited, PROXYGRAPHICS set to 1.
    • Unload/remove unneeded CAD files. CAD files add a considerable bloat to Revit. IF CAD files are visible in the view, the view navigation performance is affected.
    • Avoid CAD objects in families.
  • Avoid using Undo command after sync with central, or canceling a sync process. This leaves the model in an inconsistent state.

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