A Virus in a Design File?

Written by Rod Wing.

A design file virus? Not exactly.Virus

In my 25+ years of supporting MicroStation I’ve seen this happen more times than I can count. A user, or a group of users, has dgn files that all have the same type of corruption. These corruptions range from missing reference attachments to actual corrupted design file elements.

In every case these files were created from the same corrupted seed file, an infected file so to speak. As new files were created from the infected seed file, they all carried the same infection. This resulted in the problem spreading across multiple files and amongst multiple users, much like a typical computer virus. There are a number of ways to fix these corrupted files which we cover in our CAD Manager class. The best method is to prevent them from happening in the first place.

When setting up a new seed file ensure you start with a clean design file. Many times seed files are created from other project files that already have the desired working unit and other settings configured. From there graphic elements are deleted to start with what the user thinks is a “clean” file. There are some additional steps you need to take to verify you are starting with a good seed file.

  • Remove all unnecessary attachments (Reference files, Rasters, Point Clouds, etc.)
  • Compress the file with all of the Compress Options toggled on
    • Levels, Text Styles, etc. should be referenced from a dgnlib, not defined in a seed file.
  • Run the verifydgn mdl add-in to find and take action on any hidden problems
    • Use the MicroStation key-in: mdl load verifydgn;verifydgn verify

Before you start making copies of a design file, verify you are not spreading a “virus”.


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Rod Wing

Rod is the Senior Systems Analyst at EnvisionCAD and has extensive experience in GIS, cartography, plotting, scanning, raster editing/manipulation, publishing, and file/data translations. He instructs MicroStation classes ranging from fundamentals to advanced.

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