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Crash When Multiple Drawings are Open

Friday, July 12th, 2013

This article 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 article if you are experiencing the crash. Otherwise, you can safely ignore this information.

When the Crash Happens

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

What Should Happen

On step 3, when you try to switch to a different drawing, AutoCAD should stop you from switching. Even for people who experience the crash, this is what happens most of the time.

What Happens During the Crash

When the crash happens, on step 3 you are able to switch to the other drawing but cannot run any commands in it. Sometimes the crash happens here. Other times, it occurs upon switching back to the original drawing. It can also occur after switching back and closing the dialog box.

Cause of the Crash

This crash is caused by a bug Autodesk introduced in AutoCAD 2011. In that release, they made significant changes that caused several bugs.

Our software depends upon being loaded in AutoCAD. When the crash happens, parts of our software have been unloaded from AutoCAD. The software then tries to use the unloaded parts and crashes because there’s nothing there.

It is our software that is crashing, but the crash 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 zero. 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 zero will group all of 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 need 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.

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