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File Checker?
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* September 21, 2009, 11:21:10 AM

Not used Dcad much for some time but am now renovating an old house and trying, amongst other things, to plot the new electrics and plumbing layouts.  But I'm frustrated by really frequent crashes after just a few seemingly simple 2D operations eg adding a few straight lines, moving a piece of text, turning on and off some layers.  This is happening time and time again.  I'm having to save after every change which is ridiculous!  I'm still on v.17.2 running on a dual core, XP MCE, 2Gb RAM PC with an NVIDIA 7600GS video card.  According to the drawing info box, I'm using 74 layers, 3,316 entities, 22,319 points and the file size is about 2MB.  It sounds a lot but it's only 2D stuff!

I'm guessing there must be something in the file that's really upsetting DCad - is there such a thing as a file checker that can scan the file and spot troublesome entries?


September 21, 2009, 04:26:57 PM
Have you tried exporting to DXF, then import the DXF to a new DC file?


* September 22, 2009, 02:44:34 AM

The file appears to export happily enough but, on importing, the moment I click the screen to start the import an hourglass appears and the program "stops responding" ie hangs!!!  I've repeated this exercise 3 times now!

Is that a clue to an underlying cause?!  :-\



September 22, 2009, 06:02:07 AM

My next effort would be to copy the whole DC drawing (Ctrl-A) to a new blank drawing and see whether that fixed anything.


September 22, 2009, 09:40:19 AM
Hi Andrew,

Don't be discouraged by "not responding" especially in Vista. I get that a lot with all sorts of programs in Windows Vista, but usually they come back fresh and fine and have done the job.

However don't wait for hours or even

It's a kind of magic!

* September 22, 2009, 04:46:10 PM
You're right, magic, even though I'm using XP and not Vista - leaving it for 5 minutes HAS resulted in it saving the file and giving me back control to the program DESPITE the Not Responding message from the OS!!!

Meanwhile, my investigations have moved on as it wasn't just happening to the one file . . .

I use Versomatic to keep version backups of files saved and its directory was up to its limit.  I SUSPECTED this had been contributing to the problem by slowing down the OS's Save function due to the need for it to release space before it could save the latest version: I gave it more space and DCad ran for longer before hanging.  I had been thrown by the hanging occurring after making a simple drawing change (as well as when performing a Save command) but it then occured to me that the Autosave function (which I have set to every 5 minutes) was what was causing the hanging - not the drawing changes per se.

But my joy was short-lived as it still hung albeit not quite so frequently.

I fired up Process Monitor just before issuing a Save command to see what was going on under the covers.  Very interesting although rather an overwhelming amount of information.  What I could see was that DCad was doing multiple write/read attempts on font files!  Particularly, arialn.ttf the Arial Narrow font.  Now this font is a pukka Monotype font that is pre-loaded on my PC so why on earth is Dcad checking it out multiple times before writing away the file?  It's not just that font file either but the other ones in the drawing.  It also does a lot of registry checking as part of the process.  What's a bit disconcerting is that you can see the file being written away in chunks and that, allegedly, it is successful in reaching end of file YET, when re-loading the file, you get back to the previous Save state of affairs!

It does seem that the cause is all to do with the saving of files (and I can confirm that none of the other programs on my PC exhibit any such problems) so, DT, does DCad use some sort of non-standard processing when it saves its files?

Of course, this doesn't help answer the problem I incurred when following Bob P's first suggestion about importing a DXF version of the file.

Time for bed and the hope that tomorrow will bring new inspiration!


September 23, 2009, 04:05:00 PM
I don't know of any reason why DesignCAD would ever *write* to a ttf file!

Just for grins, try changing all your text to use a vector font, then save under a new name... does that make any difference in the response time?

25 years with DesignCAD

September 25, 2009, 04:14:42 PM

Another trick for cleaning up a file is to save it in an older DesignCAD version.

CAUTION! V19 will screw up the file and make it unreadable if there are any dimensions in it. However, V17.2 will save the files correctly.

Try saving in V15 format and then open that file in V17. This does occasionally flush out some weirdness.

If you save as DXF or DWG any 3D objects may "disintegrate" in the process, so the reimported DXF/DWG drawing will be different. Saving in a different DesignCAD format will not corrupt drawing entities.

DesignCAD user since 1987

* November 26, 2010, 12:08:56 AM

Sudden flash of guilt that, having thought I'd wait a while after following your suggestion to see if it worked, I had completely forgotten to post back a "thank you" as your solution has worked a treat - and that's 14 months of on/off working on the file!!!

Many, many thanks


November 26, 2010, 12:11:27 PM

Glad it worked. I have had occasional similar problems with DesignCAD files and occasionally with Word files. However, I use DesignCAD far more than any other program so you would expect that to be the place I saw more problems.

For what it is worth, I had the greatest number of problems with V17.2. I had several files that did very strange things. After moving on to V18, V19 and V20 I have seen very few problems that were not actually the result of some mistake that I made. A huge number of bugs and shortcomings have been corrected since V17.

One thing you should watch out for with V17 is an overflow in the group count. It has a limit of only about 16,000 group IDs over the entire life of the file. Every time you create a new group a new Group ID is created and the Maximum Group ID counter is incremented. If you use the file as a starting place for a new drawing (for title block, borders, etc.) the Max ID counter is carried over to the new drawing. Deleting all the groups in the old drawing will not change this.

Deleting existing groups does not roll back the Max ID counter. It keeps increasing steadily as you work on a drawing. Since you have been working on your drawings for years it is possible that this counter will overflow, even though you may currently have a relatively small number of groups in the file. After this happened to me in a V17 file the program would crash any time I tried to edit the file. I could open the file and look at it (rotate the view, zoom, etc.), but if I tried to edit the file it was CTRL-ALT-DEL time.

Solutions to this problem have been posted on the Forum, but they are not perfect. The problem has been fixed in later versions by increasing the Maximum ID number to a truly huge value and adding a function that repacks existing group IDs and resets the Max ID counter.

Based upon my experience you would be wise to upgrade to V20. However, you may see a few problems with dimensions. Occasionally text will be positioned differently than it was in V17, and arrows on arc dimensions sometimes do odd things. You may have to edit these to get them back like they were, and dimensions do not work exactly the same in newer versions. But for the most part you should have fewer problems in V20.

DesignCAD user since 1987

* November 27, 2010, 07:43:05 AM
Dr PR, thank you VERY much for your advice.   I'm heartened by what you say about the stability of subsequent versions as I'd been thinking that the program had been getting progressively fickle with each version - my start point was the Win95 version it back in 1996! - which is why I've continued with v17.  I don't want to risk upsetting my current project (which should complete early in Jan) and I note that new versions usually appear each Feb so I think I might wait until v21 comes out then and, once it gets the all-clear from the main testers (aka power users!), I'll upgrade at that time.


November 27, 2010, 11:47:32 AM

An update is in progress and beta testers have been beating the brush for bugs and have been doing their best to keep DT busy. The main focus of V20 (and V21 to follow) is eradicating bugs and improving performance.

DesignCAD user since 1987