Migrating Home Designer to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-02972
Last Modified: September 20, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

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


I am getting a new computer and want to run Home Designer on it. How do I move the program and all of the files that I need onto my new computer?


If you purchased the software from Chief Architect directly, or if you registered your license on our website, then you can re-download and install the program following the instructions in your Digital Locker, just as you did on the initial installation on the old computer.  Make sure to deactivate your license on the original computer before registering on the new one.  See Installing Home Designer on Multiple Computers to learn more.

If you purchased a physical disk, or a download from a third party, and do not have your product in your Digital Locker,
contact our Customer Service team with your proof of purchase and they can set up a Digital Locker for you in order to re-download the software.

If using a discontinued version of Home Designer, please double check the System Requirements for your version before attempting to install it on to a new computer, as it may not be supported on the new computer.

For example, Home Designer 2015 and earlier versions were never supported under the Windows 10 operating system.

If your version is not supported on the computer you want to install on, please see your Upgrade Options and contact our Sales team with any questions on purchasing the current version of the program.

If you want to install Home Designer on to multiple computers, please first review the instructions in the Related Articles section below.

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

  • Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer library catalogs
  • Library Content from the User Catalog
  • Plan and Layout* files
    *Layout files available in Pro only.

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

To backup Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer Library catalogs

  1. First, you will need to locate these files on your computer, which will vary based on your operating system.

  2. Please use the guide below to locate these files.

  • Catalog locations for Windows 10/8/7/Vista*: C:\ProgramData\

    Note: The Program Data folder is a hidden folder. Please visit Microsoft's Support page on how to 'Show Hidden Files and Folders' if you have trouble finding this location.

  • Catalog locations for Windows XP*: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\

    *Please note that Home Designer 2016 and newer software programs are not supported under Windows XP or Vista.

    To learn more about the System Requirements for the different versions of the software, please see the Related Articles section below.

  • Catalog locations for Mac: /Library/Application Support/

    Note: Only Home Designer 2015 and newer are natively supported on Mac OS X.

  • Locate and open the folder with the name of the program version you are using (for example, "Home Designer Architectural 2017").

  • Inside, you will see a number of folders, including Bonus Libraries, Core Libraries, Manufacturer Data, Manufacturer Libraries, Program_Data, and Referenced Files, as well as a file named dont_change.dat.

    The Program_Data folder and dont_change.dat file both contain encrypted registration information and should NOT be copied or backed up.

    The other folders, however, contain library content and can be copied and placed in their respective location on a different computer.

  • When placing these files on the new computer, make sure that Home Designer is not running.

  • To backup library content from the User Catalog

    To ensure that all material textures are included when you copy your User Catalog to a new computer, export the contents of your User Catalog and then import them into the library on your new computer.

    To learn how export the contents of the User Catalog, see the Related Article on Migrating the User Catalog linked at the bottom of this article.

    To import your User Catalog on a new computer

    1. Copy the exported contents of your User Catalog onto the new computer's hard drive. 

      A new folder on your Desktop or in the Documents folder are good places to save these files.

    2. Launch Home Designer, open a new plan and select Library> Import Library from the menu.

    3. In the Import Library Data dialog:

      • Browse to the location where you saved your .calibz files.

      • Click on the name of one of the .calibz files from your User Catalog to select it.

      • To import multiple library files at once, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click any additional .calibz files to add them to your selection.

      • With the desired .calibz file(s) selected, click the Open button to import the selected libraries into your User Catalog.

    To backup Plan and Layout* files

    *Layout files only available in Pro.

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

    Remember to migrate related support files like images, and custom textures, as well by using the Backup Entire Plan tool. There is an article on using this tool linked in the Related Article section below.

    In Home Designer Pro, to preserve the links between plan and layout files, it is best to maintain the same file structure as on the old computer. 

    If your plan file gets unlinked from your layout, you can restore these links using the steps outlined in the Related Article "Message: Files not found in Layout" linked below.