Migrating Chief Architect to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-00001
Last Modified: January 8, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I am getting a new computer and want to run Chief Architect on it. How do I move all of my Chief Architect files onto my new computer?


If your Support and Software Assurance (SSA) is current, then you can re-download the program by accessing the Digital Locker located in your Chief Architect Online Account.

If you're using a discontinued version of the Chief Architect software, please verify that it's supported on your new computer's operating system by first checking the Minimum System Requirements.

There are a number of different files that can be migrated from one computer to another to make Chief Architect run on a new computer, much like it did on the old one:

You can move some or all of these files, as you desire.

To backup Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer Catalogs

By default, Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer catalogs are saved in the ProgramData file location on Windows or the Application Support file location on macOS. These are hidden file locations and may require you to use the "Run" utility on Windows or the "Go to Folder"  function in macOS to access. To learn more about backing up and restoring library content, see the "Backing Up and Restoring Library Content" article in the Related Articles section below.

In Chief Architect X11 and newer program versions, the ability to move where these libraries are stored was implemented. If you would like to move your library content to a custom file location or you have forgotten the file path or location where they were once moved to, please see the "Moving Library Content to the Cloud or Other Custom Location" article in the Related Articles section below.

If you have moved your libraries to a custom location for the program to access, then you will want to instead reference this location to backup these files.

Do not backup or restore Core, Bonus, or Manufacturer content while the Chief Architect program is running.

To backup the User Catalog

The User Catalog consists of user created items, of which have been added to the library browser for use in your Chief Architect files. This content can be transferred to another computer or backed up using the Export Library function.

You can export your library by opening Chief Architect, opening a new, blank plan file, right-clicking on the User Catalog folder located in the Library Browser, and then clicking on the Export Library option. In the dialog that follows, you can specify a name, along with a file location where you want to export the User Catalog to. This exported file can then be transferred to a different computer and imported into Chief Architect by navigating to Library> Import Library. For more information on this process, please see the "Backing Up and Restoring Library Content" article in the Related Articles section below.

Sub-folders, as well as individual items contained within the User Catalog, can also be exported separately if you so desire.

Do note that this export process may take some time, depending on the size of the library. If you have an extensive User Catalog and it's taking a considerable amount of time to export, it may be necessary to consolidate the catalog or separate it into smaller folders to export

To backup Toolbars, Hotkeys, and Templates

Custom toolbars, hotkeys, template files, and other user-specific data is saved in the Chief Architect Data folder. The Chief Architect Data folder is located in your Documents directory by default, and its name will begin with the full name and version of your Chief Architect program followed by the word Data - for example, "Chief Architect Premier X10 Data". The full file path for this folder on Windows may read as:

C:\Users\ [ YOUR USERNAME ] \Documents\Chief Architect Premier X12 Data

And on macOS:

/Users/ [ YOUR USERNAME ] /Documents/Chief Architect Premier X12 Data

You can copy the entire Chief Architect Data folder from one computer to another and simply place it in the same location. If you're prompted to overwrite an already existing Data folder, you can choose to do so, although you will want to ensure that the data being overwritten is not critical as the content inside will be lost.

As with other content, do not make this change while Chief Architect is running.

To backup Plan and Layout files

Although they do not affect the functionality of the program, you will probably also want to copy your drawings onto the new computer as well.

To preserve the links between plan and layout files, it's best to maintain the same file structure as on the old computer. To learn more, see the "Guide to File Management for Chief Architect Files" article in the Related Articles section below.

If your plan file gets unlinked from your layout, you can restore these links using the steps outlined in the "Message: Could not successfully open all of this layout's associated plan files" article linked in the Related Articles section below.

Remember to migrate related support files like images, and custom textures as well.

One way to ensure that all files associated with a particular plan or layout are copied to the new computer is to use the Backup Entire Plan/Project tool. To learn more, see the "Using the Backup Entire Plan/Project Tool to Send Files to Another User" article linked in the Related Articles section below.