Troubleshooting Chief Architect Software Closing Unexpectedly on Windows

Reference Number: KB-03049
Last Modified: February 13, 2019

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


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


There are many different reasons why Chief Architect may be encountering errors or suddenly quitting, including the PC 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 software failures, 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 and do not skip any steps. When followed correctly, these instructions resolve almost all issues with Chief Architect software crashing on a Microsoft Windows computer.

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.

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

STEP 2 - Download Program Updates

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

  • First, please note 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 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.

  • Update your video card's driver. Basic instructions on this process can be located in the Knowledge Base articles below.

    Chief Architect - Video Driver Update Information
    Home Designer - Video Driver Update Information

    Ideally, you want to see a Driver Date from within the past 12 months listed for your video card.

    If your system has switchable graphics, and the wrong chipset or video card is listed in Preferences, please contact your computer's manufacturer directly for instruction on how to adjust the system settings.
    If the unexpected closure of the program 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 the appropriate article, then make sure to continue through the steps on Adjusting the Render Preferences as well.

    Chief Architect - Adjust Render Preferences
    Home Designer - Adjust Render Preferences

  • If you are running Chief Architect on multiple monitors, test disconnecting one of the monitors and use Chief Architect on only one screen. If the program failure does not occur when only using a single monitor, then it is likely that your video card is not capable of handling more than one monitor display, and you may want to look in to upgrading the video card hardware on the system.

    If you are running Chief Architect using a multiple video card and monitor setup, Chief Architect will encounter problems if its processes are split between graphics processors that are not configured properly with NVIDIA SLI or AMD Crossfire. Please refer to the graphics card manufacturer for specifications on this type of setup.

  • If you are using a touchpad 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 the program seems to hang or close unexpectedly when attempting to print, please see the appropriate article below for additional troubleshooting specific to printing.

    Chief Architect - Troubleshooting Printing Issues
    Home Designer - Troubleshooting Printing Issues

Step 4 - Restart in Safe Mode

After testing the basic troubleshooting steps above, if you are still experiencing unexpected software termination with your Chief Architect software program on a Windows PC computer, then you should try restarting the system in Safe Mode by following the instructions in the appropriate Microsoft support article listed below.

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

Note: Please note that you will likely receive a warning that your customized video driver is not in use, which is expected behavior in Safe Mode.

If starting up your Windows PC in Safe Mode resolves the program error, and if it continues when restarting Windows normally, then there is likely a conflict with a third party application running on your system.

  • One known application that can result in a conflict is called Nahimic for MSI which can be uninstalled. Click on the appropriate link below to learn how to uninstall applications on your Windows operating system.

    Windows 10 / 8
    Windows 7

    Once uninstalled, this app should no longer cause issues when the Chief Architect software program is in use.

Step 5 - Run the System File Checker tool

To scan your computer for corruptions in the Windows system files, you can run the System File Checker tool included with Windows. Information on this utility can be located in the appropriate following online Microsoft article.

STEP 6 - Create a New User Account

If none of the above steps have resolved the software closing unexpectedly on your Microsoft Windows PC, then you should create a brand new Administrator User Account on the computer. Create it with full administrative rights, log in using that Account, and then attempt to use the software using the new account to test whether or not you continue to experience the same behavior.

For information on creating a new user account, please see the appropriate Microsoft article below.

STEP 7 - Advanced Troubleshooting

Finally, if you continue to experience problems with the software closing unexpectedly on your Microsoft Windows computer after going through all of these steps, please contact our Technical Support department directly, and include ALL of the following files listed below.

Please make sure you have already completed all of the earlier troubleshooting steps listed in this article before following the steps below, as these files will not be helpful unless all of the preliminarily steps have already been completed.

  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. Locate the program's Message Log to send to Tech Support.

    See Knowledge Base article Locating the Message Log.

  4. Export your System Information.

    See Knowledge Base article Finding Information About your System in Windows.

  5. 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.

    See Knowledge Base article Chief Architect has encountered a problem and needs to close if you receive that specific warning message for instructions on creating a dump file to submit to Technical Support when the problem occurs in addition to the other files.

  6. Sign in to the Online Support Center and create a new support case to send to Technical Support.

    Online Support Center -

  7. Give the case a short but descriptive title. In the text of the case, 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.

  8. Click the Browse button and attach the Backup, System Info, Message Log and screenshot to your case before submitting it.

  9. It is possible that Technical Services may need additional information regarding the issue, which they will request via 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.