Accessing Your Archive Files

Reference Number: KB-00099
Last Modified: January 15, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


Recently, I experienced a computer malfunction while working in the software and now when I try to open my plan file, an error message tells me that it cannot be read by the program. What can I do to recover at least some of my work? 


Whenever you give a plan or layout file a name, either by saving it for the first time or by using Save As to save an existing file using a new name, the program will automatically create an archive folder for that file and will save a copy of the file in that folder, or update the most recent file in that folder whenever you save your work. 

In the event of an improper shutdown, you may be able to recover some of your work from the Archives file location.

To open an Archive file

  1. Launch the program and select Open Plan .

  2. Browse to your program's Data folder, which is located in the Documents directory by default, and open the Archives folder.

    For example:

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


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

  3. Locate the Archive folder with the name of the file that you're hoping to recover and open it.

    Locating and opening a project folder located in the Archives file location

  4. Open the most recently saved file in this folder,

    Opening the most recent archive

  5. Note any error or warning messages that may appear, and examine it for missing data or other problems.

  6. If the file appears to be affected by corruption, close it without saving and open the file that was saved prior to that one.

  7. Repeat steps 4 - 6 until you find a version of the file that does not appear to have any problems associated with it, then select File> Save As  from the menu.

  8. In the Save Plan File dialog that opens:

    • Save the file in the same location on your computer as the original file.

      Do not save this file in the Archives, nor in the programs Data folder.

    • Give the file a new, unique name.  

    • Click Save to save the file at the new location using the new name.

  9. In the future, this newly saved file is the one that you will work on.

To use an Archive file

Once you have saved a copy of the Archive file you plan to use to resume your work, you can make a few changes to your file names for the sake of good file management:

  1. Rename the original file from which some of your work was lost.

    • If you can open the file in the program, select File> Save As  from the menu;

    • Give this file a short, descriptive name that indicates it is missing data.

    • If you cannot open the file in the program due to corruption, feel free to delete this for remove this file from your system.

  2. Open the Archive copy that you saved in your project folder and select File> Save As .

    • Assign the original name of the file to this newest copy.

  3. The end result will be that you have three copies of this file: the original with a name that indicates it is missing information, the recovered Archive file, and the drawing that you will continue to work in.

    Three different copies of the same plan file

  4. *Chief Architect and Home Designer Pro only - If the file is a plan from which you have sent views to layout, you may need to re-link those views. 

    To learn more about re-linking layout files, please see the article "Message: Could not successfully open all of this layout's associated plan files" in the Related Articles section below.

It is extremely important to understand that Archive files should not be used as an alternative to regularly backing up your files yourself. Archive files may not reflect the progress you have made in a given project, the state of the model, or any other criteria that you might consider to be important.

In Chief Architect Premier and Chief Architect Interiors, you can specify how many Archives are created on the File Management panel of the Preferences dialog. However, it is important to note that these settings cannot guarantee full, exact restoration of your plan files under all circumstances.