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Crash When Multiple Drawings are Open

Friday, July 12th, 2013

This page describes a specific crash when using our software. The crash generates an error report that you can send to us. We will direct you to this page if you are experiencing the crash. Otherwise, you can safely ignore this information.

How to Cause the Crash

  1. Use AutoCAD 2011 or later.
  2. Open multiple drawings in AutoCAD.
  3. Open a Design Master dialog box in one of the drawings.
  4. Try to switch to another drawing in AutoCAD. Try to switch back to the original drawing in AutoCAD.

What Should Happen

On step 4, when you try to switch to a different drawing, AutoCAD should not allow that. This is what happens 99% of the time. Even for people who experience the crash, this is what will happen most of the time.

What Happens During the Crash

When the crash happens, on step 4 they are able to switch to the other drawing. They cannot run any commands in it. Sometimes the crash happens here. Other times, they switch back to the original drawing. Sometimes the crash happens when they switch back. Finally, they close the dialog box, and sometimes the crash happens then.

Cause of the Crash

This crash is caused by a bug Autodesk introduced in AutoCAD 2011. In that release they made significant changes related to supporting the Mac that caused a number of other bugs we’ve run into.

Our software depends upon being loading in AutoCAD. When the crash happens, parts of our software have been unloaded from AutoCAD. We try to use that part of the software, and we crash, because there’s nothing there.

It looks like a crash of our software, but it is being caused by a bug in AutoCAD.

Short-Term Solution

One potential solution to the problem that will work immediately is to set the TASKBAR system variable to 0. To make the change, type TASKBAR in the AutoCAD command line, then type 0.

The TASKBAR system variable controls whether multiple open drawings are displayed separately or grouped on the Windows taskbar. Changing it to 0 will group all the drawings on the taskbar. If you make this change, you will lose the ability to select different drawings from the Windows taskbar.

This solution should solve the problem. Unfortunately, it changes the behavior of AutoCAD and has to be performed on each computer individually.

Long-Term Solution

Long-term, it would be better to have a solution that does not require a change in the behavior of AutoCAD and happens automatically. Since this is a bug in AutoCAD, Autodesk will have to be the ones to fix the error.

We have contacted Autodesk about the error, and their answer is that they are not going to look into the error unless we can consistently recreate it. So far, we have not been able to figure out how to do that.

If you are able to consistently recreate the crash, we would like to hear from you. Our goal would be to document the steps and conditions necessary to recreate the crash to send to Autodesk so they can eventually fix the error for us.

4 Responses to “Crash When Multiple Drawings are Open”

  1. Tim Gaston says:

    My 2cents? The fix so far sounds to be for us Users to manage our open DM dialogs. Can you assign a reactor to the switch window function to auto close DM boxes? Lock out the switch window function when boxes are open? Obviously, there should be a better fix, but until then?

  2. As I was writing my reply, I came up with a potential individual solution to the error. I added it as a short-term solution to this page. The solution would be to set TASKBAR to 0. I’m not 100% sure it will solve the problem, but there’s a pretty good chance it will, and it definitely won’t hurt anything.

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can directly do to solve the problem. It is a bug that is pretty deep in the AutoCAD code. Any potential place we have to detect the error is too late to recover from it.

    The problem with attempting to fix the problem is that even for people who see this error, it only happens very rarely. If you attempt to recreate it, everything will work fine the vast majority of the time.

  3. Bryant Jenks says:

    I don’t believe this problem only happens when switching AutoCAD drawings. You can also have a dialog box open and then tap on the windows explorer taskbar to copy some data to a dialog box and when you paste the info and close the dialog you will get the same error, almost every time.

  4. Bryant, if you set TASKBAR to 0, does it prevent the error for you?

    How consistent is almost every time? One major problem we have is recreating the error. If you close and reopen AutoCAD, how times do you have to copy and paste data to a dialog and close it to get it to crash?

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