Troubleshooting Chief Architect Software Closing Unexpectedly on a Mac

Reference Number: KB-02940
Last Modified: January 30, 2018

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


I keep encountering errors, lockups, or the program closes unexpectedly when I run Chief Architect on my Mac computer.  What might be the cause?


There are a number of different reasons why Chief Architect may be encountering errors or suddenly exiting, including the Mac not meeting the System Requirements for running the software, needing to have updated drivers (particularly for the video card), or a third party application may be conflicting with the software's operation.


Since there are a number of possible causes for the undesirable software behavior, some basic troubleshooting is required in order to identify the reason for a particular issue.

Please follow ALL of the recommendations in this article in order, from most to least common, until the issue has been corrected.  When followed, the steps below resolve almost all known issues with Chief Architect software programs crashing on a Mac.

To troubleshoot issues on a Mac

STEP 1 - Verify System Requirements

First, it is extremely important to make certain that your computer meets the minimum system requirements for running the software.

The minimum, and recommended, system requirements for running the software can be found on the website at the appropriate link for your program below.

Please note that running in an emulator, or virtual machine environment, such as Parallels, VirtualBox, or VMWare Fusion is NOT supported for any version.

If your Mac does not meet the minimum system requirements for your version, then you should consider installing on an alternate system that does meet, or exceed, the requirements.

In addition, it is important to be aware that working on files stored on a network server, external hard drive, or usb flash drive device is NOT supported.  When working with Chief Architect files, always make sure they are saved on the local machine's hard drive to avoid slowness, file corruption, and data loss.  To learn more, please see the Guide to File Management.

Having automated backups that run when files are not in use to back up to a network server or cloud drive is a great idea to ensure that in the event of a computer crash, hard drive failure, computer theft, fire or other natural disaster that you do not lose your important files.

STEP 2 - Download the most recent program update

If your computer meets the System Requirements for running the software, then the next step is to make sure you are using the most current program version of your Chief Architect software program.

In Chief Architect and Home Designer software programs, you can verify whether you have the latest program update by selecting Help> Download Program Updates from the program menu.

  • If you have the most recent update, then the updates page will state this.

  • If you are not running the most recent update, then selecting this option under the Help menu will take you to the most recent update for your version of Chief Architect. Follow the instructions to download and install it.

You can also access the Program Updates page on the website at the appropriate link below for your version.

STEP 3 - Basic Initial Troubleshooting

If your Mac computer meets or exceeds the System Requirements, and you are running the most recent update available for your software, then all of these additional basic troubleshooting steps bulleted below should be tested.

  • Check to see if your video card's driver needs updated.  On a Mac computer, these are typically included as part of operating system updates.

    To make sure that your hardware drivers are up-to-date you must make sure that your operating system is up-to-date by selecting the Apple menu, clicking on About this Mac, then select the Software Update... button.

    Some Quadro and GeForce cards may also have updated Mac drivers on NVidia's website directly at:

  • If your Mac has both an integrated chipset and an actual video card that it switches between for better battery life, then you may want to disable off Automatic Graphics Switching so that the best graphics will always be used.

    Instructions on how to accomplish this can be located on Apple's website at:

  • If the slowness or exiting on the Mac appears to be particularly linked to 3D camera views, dialogs which display object previews, or accessing particular objects in the Library Browser where a preview is displayed in the panes below, and you have already followed the previous steps in this article, then go through the steps to Adjust the Render Preferences in your version of the software.

    Chief Architect Adjust Render Preferences
    Home Designer Adjust Render Preferences

  • If you are using a trackpad or wireless mouse, plug in a wired mouse and attempt to use it to navigate the software instead.  If there is no change to the behavior you are seeing when using a wired mouse, you can return to your preferred input device.

  • If you are using an iMac, with a 5k monitor, and Chief Architect is full screen, reduce Chief Architect's window size (so that it is not full screen) and then test to see if Chief Architect runs without issues.

    If running Chief Architect so that it is not full screen resolves the slowness or software failures you had been seeing previously, you can either continue to run in this configuration, or consider lowering your monitor's resolution, as discussed in this Apple support article:

  • If the program locks up specifically when attempting to send a view to the Layout*, Force Quit and relaunch the application. Then, Open the saved layout file, or start a New Layout. Keep the layout view within the same window as the Chief Architect program, and do not drag it outside of the main window or move it to a secondary monitor.  With the layout open, and in the same window, attempt to resend the view from the plan file.
    *Chief Architect Premier, Chief Architect Interiors and Home Designer Pro only.

STEP 4 - Restart in Safe Mode

After testing the basic troubleshooting steps above, if you are still experiencing issues with the operation of your Chief Architect software program on a Mac computer, then you should try restarting the system in Safe Mode by following the instructions in this Apple support article:

Once you have completed the Safe Boot instructions, launch Chief Architect and test to see whether the issue still occurs.

If starting up your Mac in Safe Mode resolves the behavior, and if it continues to fail when restarting up the Mac normally, then there is likely a conflict with a third party application running on your system.

STEP 5 - Modify Accessibility Settings

The most common third party application conflicts that we have recorded have to do with software that modifies the Accessibility settings of the Mac.

To troubleshoot if this is the case, first Save your work then select File> Exit to close out of the Chief Architect software if you have it open.

Next, navigate to System Preferences> Security & Privacy> Accessibility.

If there are any checkmarks next to a program application, remove them.

Note: You may first need to unlock the dialog by clicking the padlock on the lower left and then entering in your Administrator password to make changes. 

Once you have unchecked the applications from controlling your computer, restart your Chief Architect software program and verify whether or not the problem still occurs.

If it does not, you can return to the Accessibility settings and recheck each application, one at a time, and test to see which is conflicting with the Chief Architect program.

Once you've determined the culprit or culprits, you can leave just those applications disabled and report the conflicting app to our Technical Support team.

STEP 6 - Repair Disk Permissions

If adjusting the Accessibility settings does not resolve the issues that you are experiencing on your Mac when using the Chief Architect software, then you may need to repair permissions.

  • In OSX Yosemite and earlier Mac versions, go to Applications> Utilities> Disk Utility. Click the First Aid button. Select the drive and click on Verify Disk Permissions.

    When your computer has finished verifying disk permissions, click on Repair Disk Permissions.

  • Repairing disk permissions in El Capitan 10.11 and newer can no longer be accomplished via the Disk Utility.

    Instead, please search online for specific instructions on repairing disk permissions using the command line in the Terminal utility, or contact your Apple technician directly to assist with this process.

  • After Repairing Disk Permissions, you must complete the following.
    1) Uninstall the software.
    2) Shut down and restart your computer.
    3) Re-install the software.
    4) Then test to see whether or not the software failure continues to occur after completing these steps.

STEP 7 - Create a New User Account

If none of the above steps have resolved the issues on your Mac, then you should create a brand new Administrator User Account, log in using that Account, and attempt to use the software using the new account to test whether or not you continue to experience problems with regards to running the program.

For information on creating a new user account, please see this Apple support article:

STEP 8 - Advanced Troubleshooting

Finally, if you continue to experience problems with the software closing unexpectedly on a Mac after first going through ALL of the steps above, then please contact our Technical Support department directly, and include ALL of the following files listed below in order to continue troubleshooting.  Please note that the initial steps in this article must have already been completed before contacting Technical Support with these files.

To report the issue to Chief Architect Technical Support for additional troubleshooting

  1. When the error or crash occurs, it is a good idea to take a moment to write down what you were doing just prior to the error, including what kind of view was open, what tools you were using, and what objects you were drawing or editing.

  2. If the issue only seems to occur in one particular file, use the Backup Entire Plan tool to create a folder with a copy of the file in which the error occurs, along with all referenced files.

    See Knowledge Base article Using the Backup Entire Plan Tool.

  3. If you are receiving an error or warning dialog box, include the exact wording of the message, or attach a screen capture image of the message.

    See Knowledge Base article 
    Creating a Screenshot.

  4. If the software freezes or crashes, then we will need the Diagnostic Report (also commonly known as a "crash log") which contains data on what the software was attempting to do just before the issue occurred.

    Click on the magnifying glass "Spotlight Search" and in the field that displays, Copy then Paste the following path into that field.

    ~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports/ into the text field.

    Press Enter.

  5. Locate the Message Log to send to Tech Support.

    See Knowledge Base article Locating the Message Log.

  6. Export your System Information.

    See Knowledge Base article: Finding Information About your System.   

  7. Log in to the Online Support Center and create a new ticket to send to Technical Support.

    Online Support Center -  

  8. Give the ticket a short but descriptive title,  In the text of the ticket, type a detailed description of the problem, including the exact steps that caused the error to occur if at all possible. 

    The more detailed you are, the more likely we will be to reproduce the error and identify the problem.

  9. Click the Browse button and attach the Backup, Screenshot,  System Information, and Message Log to your ticket, then submit it.

    It is possible that Technical Services may need additional information regarding the issue, which they will request via a reply in the Online Support Center.
Note: Some of the requested information may identify you, as well as specific information about your computer, but it will also help us determine the source of the problem. Please be assured that any files submitted to Chief Architect Technical Support will be used for troubleshooting purposes only.