Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AutoCAD is a devil in saint's clothing

Whenever problems arrise with AutoCAD it's a frustrating experience. I'm sure that is coupled with my inexperience with troubleshooting this particular program. It all boils down to two things (in Windows) when a program fails:

1) It's a registry key gone crazy (incorrect permissions, wrong setting, wrong type, etc.)
2) It's a file that's become mangled (incorrect permissions, wrong version)

That's it. Every problem in Windows is related to one (or both) of those two issues.

AutoCAD is intimidating at first having never dealt with it. We have a custom menu that is activated when AutoCAD is run. On one particular user's machine, her AutoCAD was throwing up errors when trying to build this menu (cui file is write protected). In attempting to troubleshoot this, I found the cui file referenced is indeed write protected. But that wasn't the problem. Checking with other users, they could not write to the file so her AutoCAD was trying to write to the file for some reason. Launching her AutoCAD under my user account resulted in success... So it could not have been the AutoCAD program installed on the machine. This left two things:

1) Some file in her profile is causing the issue and AutoCAD calls that file
2) A registry key is incorrectly set

Removing AutoCAD from her HKCU resulted in AutoCAD reconfiguring itself on launch and we did not get the error message but got a very slimmed down menu missing many functions.

This indirectly is telling me that the registry is not the issue. If the registry was the issue, the total removal of AutoCAD from HKCU should have resulted in it coming up no problem. This leaves the other issue... A file is causing the headaches. But, before I continued I had the user log on to another machine to ensure it was not her account causing the issue --> AutoCAD worked fine on another machine under her account. So it was computer specific. Some file in her profile...

AutoCAD keeps files in the following two folders in the users profile:
C:\Documents and Settings\USER ACCOUNT\Local Settings\Application Data\AutoDesk
C:\Documents and Settings\USER ACCOUNT\Application Data\AutoDesk

A file or couple of files in one (or both) of those folders must be causing my issue.

Renaming those two folders to AutoDesk--old should resolve the issue if my troubleshooting is correct.

Because I haven't and won't troubleshoot further to determine the exact file I won't know exactly which file caused or causes that issue but the solution is effective and cheap anyways.

Other places preferences maybe stored are the My Documents folder. So watch out there as well if your still having problems.

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