Thursday, 20 May 2010

How to recover a central model from a backup

If you use worksets and central Revit models you will notice that you no longer get the 3 or so backup files which usually appear alongside the current file. Typically your browser folder would look something like this -->

If you enable worksets allowing multiple users to access and share the same Revit model, you will notice that these rollbacks (or backups) no longer appear.

On a workset enabled model, by default Revit stores 20 backups of the central file but it is not possible to see or access these backups like the single user file.

To rollback to an earlier version of your central file you must use the following steps...

Without any Revit project open, go to the Collaborate Tab > Restore Backup
Browse to find your central file and look for the folder which has the suffix of _backup (this is usually in the same folder as the central Revit file).

Double click to open and view the contents of this folder (but notice that nothing is in there?).

Ignore the fact that nothing is in there and click ‘Open’.

As if by magic… it opens up a dialogue box which shows the save history. It shows the date and who performed the save. In the example below I used some fictitious usernames as an example. You can see that the last save was performed by revit.user No.2 at 16:29

To preview an archived version you can simply select the version and click ‘Save As…’ and it will make a new independent model where ever you choose.

To make permanent changes to the ‘Live’ central file, use the ‘Rollback…’ button but BEWARE… this change is permanent and you will loose any changes made beyond this date.

If 20 rollback versions just aren’t enough for you, you can change this to another number (but be careful as this will increase the file size of the backup folder).  Example: Consider how many users will be working on the model and how many times they will be saving to central each day.  If you want to be able to roll the model back to the previous day, you will need to make sure your backups are more than the average daily Saves to Central.

Open your local copy of the central file and click ‘Save As…’ In the dialogue box click ‘Options’ (bottom right) and change the number of backups to suit.

Don’t bother changing the file name, just click save. If it tells you this file already exists, you can just overwrite it. That’s it done! The information is sent back to your central file and the number of backups to retain will be updated.

TIP: I would recommend the project BIM coordinator recreates the central file at least once a week.  You will notice the file size is reduced and it will be less prone to crashing - dont ask me why, it just works ;-)


Darryl said...


Nice blog! I'm looking forward to learning more from your tips.

Question regarding your bolded "TIP" at the bottom. As far as "recreating" the central file goes, what do you mean by that?

Chris Senior said...

Hi Darryl,

Recreating the central file is almost like purging the model. In this case it is only purging meta data from the database which you wouldnt normally see. I dont know the exact logic I just know it works. Here's the process

Open Revit and choose File > Open. In this dialogue box you have an option to 'Detach from Central'. This creates an independant Revit model and effectively flushes out the database. You should also check 'Audit' to repair any bugs in the database as well. Now when you save this file onto your server, you have recreated the central file (A clean file). You will find this process reduces the model file size, load/save speeds, reduces the number of crashes etc... This process requires coordination between the team members to make sure they have all saved to central before the process is carried out. Afterwards they will all need to take a fresh copy of the central model. Its quite a large topic (too much to post here) so I will probably post some more discussion on this in the near future. Not an easy one to describe - I hope this helps?

Darryl said...

Thank you for your quick reply, Chris. I'm looking forward to the increased efficiency! I will look into the "Audit" tool, as well.


Dan said...

thank you, great post and nice blog.


alsavi said...

Hi Darryl,
I doing a project and its central file is fairly big (I think? currently is 103.144 kb) my laptop:
dell precision m6400
Intel(r) Core(TM)2 Dou CPU T9550 @ 2.66GHz 2.67 GHz
OS 64 bits
is already performing not very fast, the project is 1/2 or 2/3 done and I'm very concern about getting stuck with the file. I have just fund your post and its final tip but sorry English is not my mother tongue, I don't understand what do you mean with "recreates" also with all the description given above what's the maximum file' size you recommend I should avoid.
Thanks in advance for your advice.

alsavi said...

Hi Darrayl,
What do you mean on the tip with "recreates the central file"?

Deepak Kumar Das said...

Thanks for your great insight on File backups.

Swade said...

This entry saved my life. Thank you.

Leanne said...

Crisis averted! Thanks very much.

Anonymous said...

Great post, thanks so much!

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