Migrating Home Designer to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-02972
Last Modified: May 3, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

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


I am getting a new computer and want to install and 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 the program by accessing the Digital Locker located in your Chief Architect Online Account, just as you did for the initial download on the old computer.

If you purchased a physical disc, or a download from a third party, and do not have your product in your Digital Locker, please contact our Customer Service team with your proof of purchase.

If you're using a discontinued version of the Home Designer 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 Home Designer run on a new computer, much like it did on the old one:

  • Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer libraries
  • 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.

Before you begin

  • Make sure to deactivate your license on the original computer before attempting registering on the new one. See article "Installing Home Designer on Multiple Computers" in the Related Articles section below to learn more.

  • If your version of Home Designer is not supported on the computer you want to install on, please see your Upgrade Options or contact our Sales team with any questions you may have.

To backup Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer Library catalogs

By default, Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer library content is 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 Library Content" article in the Related Articles section below.

In Home Designer Pro 2019 and newer Pro versions, the ability to move where these libraries are stored was implemented. If you are using Home Designer Pro and 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 Home Designer program is running.

To backup library content from the User Catalog

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

You can export your library by opening Home Designer, 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 Home Designer by navigating to Library> Import Library. For more information on this process, please see the "Backing up 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 Plan and Layout* files

*Layout files are only available in Home Designer 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. 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.

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 "Message: Could not successfully open all of this layout's associated plan files" article linked in the Related Articles section below.