Migrating Home Designer to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-02972
Last Modified: March 8, 2017

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.

  • If you purchased a physical disk, 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 and they can set up a Digital Locker for you in order to re-download the software.

Before you begin

  • Make sure to deactivate your license on the original computer before attempting registering on the new one.  See Installing Home Designer on Multiple Computers to learn more.

  • The current version of Home Designer is Home Designer 2018.  If you are using an earlier version, please review the System Requirements for your version before attempting to install it onto 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:

    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 Mac:
    /Library/Application Support/

  • Locate and open the folder with the name of the program version you are using (for example, "Home Designer Architectural 2018").

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

      The Program_Data folder and dont_change.dat file both contain encrypted registration information and MUST 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 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 backup library content from the User Catalog

    1. Launch the version of the program that you are using and open a plan.

    2. If it is not already open, select View> Library Browser.

    3. Right click on the User Catalog, or a particular folder or item within it, that you want to move to the new computer, then from the menu that displays, select Export Library.

    4. Chose an easy to find location, such as your Desktop, give the file a unique name, and click Save.

      Note: Folders can take some time to export, depending on their size. If you have an extensive User Catalog and it is taking a considerable amount of time to export it may be necessary to separate the catalog into smaller folders to export.

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

      A new folder on your Desktop or Documents folder is a good place to save these files.

    6. Launch Home Designer on the new computer and start a new plan.

    7. Select Library> Import Library from the menu.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.