Monday, March 31, 2008

Solution to problem to open images in Vista

Problem: I have an image on the desktop or some other folder and I cannot view it or open it. It does not matter if I double click on the icon or right click and select preview or "open with" and "Windows Photo Gallery". It doesn't matter if it is a jpg, bmp, png, gif or some other image file format I'm still unable to open the image. If I right click and edit the file it opens up in my image editor. File association works as I can open pictures in other locations. The problem is the same if I have a shortcut to an image. I have Windows Vista SP1 installed.


Solution: If any Internet shortcut has an URL with 260 characters or more you will find that you cannot open any picture file in that folder with Windows Photo Gallery. Right click on any shortcut and on the Web Document tab you find the URL. When you delete or move this shortcut to another folder it will work again. If you have hard to find the shortcut or shortcuts you can create a folder and move half of the shortcuts to that folder and then try to double click on the image again and that way isolate the problem.

Another tip that probably is the easiest one is to open Windows Explorer (press ÿ+E) and right click on any column header, click on "More..." and in the Choose Details dialog box check URL. Make the width of the column URL large so you easily can identify the long ones.

Notice the first Internet Shortcut's URL in the image below,

Windows Explorer

There is obviously a bug in Windows Photo Gallery and an alternative solution is to change the default application for viewing your photos.

Why does this happen? You browse the Internet and find a website, make a shortcut of it and place it on the desktop. It can be for "Google Image Result" after searching for some pics or something else. These links have often URLs with more than 259 characters. You can reproduce this by for example visiting this link (with 309 characters) and create a shortcut on the desktop:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

XCLIPFRAME no plot tip for AutoCAD 2009

AutoCAD 2009 makes it easy to make changes to clipped xrefs or blocks.


XCLIPFRAME controls the visibility of xref clipping boundaries. It is 0 as default and not visible. If you set it to 1 it is visible and you can grab the grips, stretch them and make changes to the boundary. The problem is that if you plot the drawing the boundary also will plot.

A workaround to have it visible but not plotted is to make use of named plot styles (STB). Create one that is invisible by setting Screening to 0. Then use this plot style on the clipped xref object. If you use color dependent plot styles the closest you can come to a workaround is to assign a dotted linetype and set the linetype scale so high that only a few dots shows.

Wish for AutoCAD 2010 is to add XCLIPFRAME=2 that is visible but does not plot. Another wish is to be able to add and remove vertex points on the xref clipping boundary. If you need to make these changes you now have to redo the boundary either by creating it from scratch or generate a polyline and edit it and use it for the new boundary.

If you want to clean out a drawing from objects that are outside the boundary XClipClean is a software that delete and trim to the boundary automatically.

Windows Search 4.0 Preview installed

This was good enough reason to make me install Windows Search 4.0:

Great improvements have been made with regards to performance. Even now as Preview, Windows Search 4.0 has query response time about 33%faster than search queries in Windows Vista RTM.

Restart of the PC was needed.

I recommend doing the installation the last thing you do and leave the computer running as the index needs to be rebuilt. If you have Outlook make sure to have it up and running as well or the mailboxes will not be indexed. I also suggest that you run SCANPST to fix any potential problems with your PST files.

Outlook indexing

Many hours later the re-indexing was done. It really is a notable speed increase when searching among the thousands of emails.

For more see the Vista blog post Announcing the Windows Search 4.0 Preview

Friday, March 28, 2008

NVIDIA Quadro for AutoCAD 2009

NVIDIA has a website dedicated for AutoCAD users and now I mean AutoCAD 3D users. If you are serious about doing design work in AutoCAD in a BIM or PIM environment I fully agree that a graphic card like NVIDIA Quadro make a big difference so hardware acceleration can be used as fully as possible. When I worked as CAD Manager I made sure IT only purchased my recommended and tested Quadro cards for the CAD users. At minimum they should have an entry-level card and those working with larger 3D models had at least a mid-range card.


An easy way to find what graphic card and driver version you have is to run DXDIAG.EXE (Microsoft DirectX Diagnostic Tool) in Windows. In AutoCAD use

Visit AutoCAD Graphics Hardware website and find out if your graphic card is certified and recommended for AutoCAD 2009 (including verticals like AutoCAD Architecture) and what driver version you should use. Does it support Gooch hardware shader, Full shadow display, Smooth line display, Texture Compression and Per Pixel Lighting or not?

How do I check to see if AutoCAD is using hardware acceleration?

In AutoCAD 2007, AutoCAD 2008, or AutoCAD 2009, enter 3DCONFIG at the command line. In the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog box, click the Manual Tune button. In the Manual Performance Tuning dialog box (shown here), see whether Enable Hardware Acceleration is selected. The Manual Performance Tuning dialog box also indicates the 3D display features that are supported by your graphics hardware.

AutoCAD 2009 certification introduces the following new features:

  • Support for per-pixel lighting.
  • Hardware acceleration support in 2D drawings when running on Windows Vista.
  • The Certification XML file can be updated automatically by selecting Check for Updates.

Why was my card certified for AutoCAD 2007 or AutoCAD 2008 but now fails for AutoCAD 2009?

Newer features and optimizations may require more of the video cards. Because of performance and stability issues, AutoCAD no longer supports cards with 32 MB of RAM or less. Support for some older graphics hardware that manufacturers no longer provide driver updates for has also been dropped.

Why is there no OpenGL option in Windows Vista?

OpenGL® software is currently not supported in AutoCAD 2009 when running on Windows Vista. AutoCAD 2008 uses Direct3D® software to enhance 3D performance.

Is Quadro better than GeForce or Quadro vs GeForce?

If the GeForce card is newer than the Quadro card and has better specs it might be better for CAD work. But in general the Quadro cards are better for CAD work. The Quadro GPU is optimized for 3D CAD, without sacrificing visual quality while GeForce is optimized for high-speed renderings of games. If you have a laptop I would say that in most cases a GeForce card will be good enough compared to the often more expensive Quadro. This technical brief document describes more about NVIDIA Quadro vs. GeForce GPUs. It is from 2003 but many of the details are still valid even though it would be good to have it updated for 2008 as some of the features not available in GeForce at that time probably are included nowadays.

Why Quadro for AutoCAD Overview (Download PDF 571k)

Recommended Quadro Solutions for AutoCAD according to NVIDIA. High-End -NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 Mid-Range -NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700 Entry-Level -NVIDIA Quadro FX 570 -NVIDIA Quadro FX 370

Mobile -NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M -NVIDIA Quadro FX 1600M -NVIDIA Quadro FX 1500M -NVIDIA Quadro FX 570M -NVIDIA Quadro FX 360M

If you have any links for good performance tests feel free to add a comment below.

Update. A good link in the comments is to theses test comparing professional cards with gaming cards.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

DWG TrueView 2009 includes measuring ability

DWG TrueView 2009 is Autodesk's free viewer for DWG files and is found here:

DWG TrueView 2009

The big news are:

  • Measure objects with these new inquiry commands: Distance, Area, List, Locate Point, Region/Mass properties, and Object Snaps.
  • Enhanced UI with the addition of Ribbon Navigation
  • Measure objects with these new commands: Distance, Area, List, Locate Point, Region/Mass properties, and Object Snaps
  • Navigate drawings in 2D and 3D with SteeringWheel
  • Enhanced 3D view selection with ViewCube
  • Restore views and play new "animated" views with ShowMotion


It is quite a big install on almost 200 MB for the 32-bit version and bit more for the 64-bit version.

DWG TrueConvert is available from within the program and can convert from and to different versions of the DWG format.

DWG TrueView 2009 can be installed side by side with for example AutoCAD 2009.

Here is a tip I maybe should keep quiet about as I might sell fewer licenses of SmartPurger because of it. You can with some limitations batch purge drawings using DWG Convert as there is an option to purge included and even "Check and Fix Errors" (When active, drawings are checked for the presence of errors. Drawings are automatically recovered if errors are found).

Silent installation of DWG TrueView 2009 could be done with a VBScript like this:
on error resume next
Set WshShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
runstring="msiexec /I ""\\DWGTrueViewx86InstallImage\DWGVIEWR.msi"" /qb! " & _
"INSTALLDIR=""C:\Program Files\DWG TrueView 2009"" " & _
WshShell.Run runstring,1,true
msgbox "Ready"

This previous post describes more details on silent installation.

For more important details like how to handle drawings created with a vertical like AutoCAD Architecture or 3:rd party applications that creates custom objects see the FAQ.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Usage of mpt.lsp in AutoCAD

I got the following question regarding the free AutoLISP program mpt.lsp.

"I don't understand the use of these. How do I use them in a way that does not cancel my running command?"

I guess it could be that this user added for example the command MPT to a menu using ^C^CMPT. To have the command running transparently it needs to be 'MPT instead.

Below is a small video showing the usage of the four helper commands:

  • MPT - Midpoint of 2 points
  • 3PT - 1/3:rd point of 2 points
  • 4PT - 1/4:th point of 2 points
  • MPT3 - Midpoint of 3 points

First mpt.lsp needs to be loaded and acaddoc.lsp is a good way or the APPLOAD command's Startup Suit.

CUI can be used to create a command that is then added to the Object Snap Cursor Menu.


And now it is available on the object snap menu.

Right click menu

I used AutoCAD 2009 in this short demonstration.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First hotfix for AutoCAD 2009 with NLM IPv6 Support

This update enables the Autodesk Network License Manager to support IPv6 networks.

Knowledge Base document: Hotfix - Autodesk Network License Manager IPv6 Support

AutoCAD 2009 New Features Workshop

Without having to install anything (you need to have Flash Player) you can access NFW for AutoCAD 2009 here. This is one of the best ways to start getting familiar with the new release. The User Interface has been changed a lot and hopefully you will find it to be better (eventually). I think the Quick Properties will be useful for many.

New Features Workshop Menu

AutoCAD 2009 download

Available from now on you can download AutoCAD 2009. Download is free as one would expect and you can use it without limitations for 30 days. But there is a bad restriction. This offer is valid only in the United States and Canada. You must be located in these countries to be able to download as your IP number is controlled. Trying to download from Sweden I got this error:

Location Error - Trial Download Request
Trial Not Available
This trial program is not available in some countries.

I think it should be available to download more freely.

AutoCAD 2009 Software Family of Products

Here is from a media advisory on AutoCAD 2009 product availability:

Autodesk today announced that it is shipping AutoCAD 2009 software, one of the leading applications for conceptual design, drafting and detailing. The AutoCAD 2009 portfolio includes updates to AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, as well as the discipline-specific applications AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical, and AutoCAD MEP software applications.

AutoCAD 2009 features significant user interface enhancements along with new productivity tools to help AutoCAD customers of all levels work more efficiently toward competitive design ideas and compelling presentations:

• Improved User Interface & Usability – The new AutoCAD 2009 software task-based user interface is designed to make new and experienced users more productive and has been optimized to reduce the number of steps it takes to reach commands. Furthermore, it is customizable and extensible, can be migrated forward using the standard migration tools and offers a “classic workspace” that provides access to the traditional toolbar and menu interface. In addition, the new AutoCAD 2009 user interface provides a common toolset for operations such as file open and close, rotate, pan, and zoom, into the next several releases of Autodesk products, streamlining the transition between products and reducing learning time.

• Faster Drafting – AutoCAD 2009 can boost productivity by helping automate tedious tasks. The action recorder provides a simple to use macro recorder, and the interactive layer manager instantly makes changes appear in the drawing.

Autodesk Impression – AutoCAD 2009 subscription customers will receive Autodesk Impression illustration software for the creation of presentation-ready graphics with a hand-drawn look.

AutoCAD LT 2009, one of the world’s highest selling 2D drafting and detailing product, also features the new user interface to increase productivity for experienced and new users.

The AutoCAD 2009 Portfolio of Industry-specific Solutions Autodesk is also shipping the latest version of the AutoCAD software portfolio, which includes discipline-specific applications built on AutoCAD technology.

AutoCAD Architecture 2009 features intuitive architectural drawing and design tools within a familiar AutoCAD workflow, offering users the flexibility to learn new tools at their own pace and increase their productivity.

AutoCAD Electrical 2009 is purpose-built to design electrical controls systems quickly and accurately with automated tasks, comprehensive symbol libraries, and an electrical-specific workflow designed to increase the productivity of controls engineers.

AutoCAD Mechanical 2009 is designed to accelerate the mechanical design process with standards-based symbol libraries, engineering calculators and a mechanical-specific workflow created to significantly improve productivity for AutoCAD users in manufacturing.

AutoCAD MEP 2009, the AutoCAD software for mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) businesses, features intuitive system drawing and design tools and built-in design calculators for more efficient and accurate designs.

For more details on AutoCAD 2009 see this website dedicated for AutoCAD 2009.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome Autodesk NavisWorks

NavisWorks has now been added to Autodesk's website (time for a visit as it has been updated for the 2009 product launches). You find the products at If you are into 3D construction, BIM, PIM or the like NavisWorks is a great solution to review and manage your project.


The products are now named:


NavisWorks is now also possible to license using FLEXnet like most other Autodesk products and that means JTB FlexReport can be used for network license monitoring and statistics.


Panda3D a free 3D engine

If you want to make a 3D game or 3D software using Python or C++ consider Panda3D. It comes with Shader Generation, Performance Monitoring, Full Python Integration, Modern OpenGL features exposed, Debugging Tools and more.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

PC magazine on Pirate Bay

If you read Swedish (don't you?) you can now fully legally download the PDF torrent of the Swedish "Allt om PC" on Pirate Bay. It is the chief editor that uploaded it and I hope he can continue to do it.

I also noticed that BitTorrent distribution was tried by NRK in Norway and now CBC Canada to release high-quality, DRM-free copies of a prime-time show using the popular P2P file-sharing technology.

Via Jag laddar upp min tidning till Pirate Bay and Canadian public TV to try out BitTorrent

Friday, March 21, 2008

AutoCAD history for the AutoCAD nerd, historian or the like

You now find the AutoCAD Release History site on Between the Lines.

You will find that AutoCAD R13 added Tooltips on the toolbars and TrueType Font Support among other things. AutoCAD 2000 added the Properties Window. AutoCAD 2002 added Associative Dimensioning. AutoCAD 2007 was the big 3D release. These are just a few things you can find if you are curious.


Via AutoCAD History from Version 1 to Release 2009 Which is the 23rd Release

PS. For my take on and experience of AutoCAD I have so far AutoCAD 2004 to AutoCAD 2009 covered on my AutoCAD site.

Acrobat 8 installation including all patches

For all details see this TechNote: Install all of the Acrobat patches in one step using the Adobe Bootstrapper and patch sequencing

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vista SP1 installation problem 800704C8 and solution

SP1 is available for quite many now and I tried to install it but it failed with the error code 800704C8.

To isolate the I used MSCONFIG.

Disable all startup items and third party services when booting. This method will help to determine if this issue is caused by a loading program or service on computer startup. Perform the following steps:

1. Click the Start Button, type "msconfig" (without quotation marks) in the "Start Search" text box and then press ENTER.

2. Click the Services tab, check the "Hide all Microsoft services" box and click "Disable all" (if it is not gray).

3. Click the "Startup" tab and take note of the items that are checked and the items that are unchecked, as we will want to return your computer to this configuration when we finish troubleshooting. Once the checked items have been noted, click "Disable all".

4. Click OK to restart the computer.

If it still does not work there might be Microsoft services that you can try to disable.

In my case I found it was related to my previous post. When I disabled the Carbonite service I was able to install Vista SP1.

Vista SP1

I reported the problem to Carbonite and got this reply:

Carbonite and other backup software use a Windows component called VSS (Virtual Shadow Service) to back up open or 'busy' files, but at times other applications on your system may be delaying Carbonite from accessing VSS, which in turn may delay the backup of your open files and cause an error with the Vista file copy feature. It uses the same VSS and the programs cannot use it at the same time. Disabling Carbonite while copying the file will allow you to use that feature.

What is interesting is that the problem I had described in that post where solved after SP1 was installed.

The Vista blog has more useful details.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

JTB FlexReport 4.1.1 released

JTB FlexReport 4.1.1 is now available. Check the revision history for details that only affects very few if you already have installed 4.1. If you have not installed 4.1, now might be a good time to upgrade as 4.1.1 is as stable as it can be with several customers already using 4.1 or 4.1.1 and I have even tested that it works on Windows Server 2008. If you you on the other hand have old Excel 2000 consider upgrade Excel or stay with an older version of the graphic reports.

JTB FlexReport

It probably is needed to uninstall the old version before installing this one. To be sure the latest version of the reports are installed rename or delete JTB FlexReport Detailed Reports.mdb and JTB FlexReport Graphic Reports.xls.

AutoCAD Plant 3D coming this year

It was possible to get a preview of AutoCAD Plant 3D at AU 2007. A few more details in this AECCafé article with indication that AutoCAD Plant 3D might be released in 2008. Not a big surprise that it will be AutoCAD based as AutoCAD P&ID is AutoCAD based. It has probably been a lot of thoughts behind the selection as Revit was the other platform candidate Autodesk has. It shows a firm commitment for AutoCAD and those with AutoCAD Architecture might feel less threatened by Revit.

Will it be AutoCAD Plant 3D 2009 then? If Revit is the BIM platform, is AutoCAD the PIM platform (Plant Information Modeling)? Both can at least end up in NavisWorks.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vista File copy Error 0x8007045D or Error 0x800704C8

Trying to install AutoCAD 2009 I get this error message: "The copy functions cannot be used.Failed to copy the following files: F:\x86\eula to C:\Users\JTB\AppData\Local\Temp\_AIA.tmp"

I tried then manually copy the files and instead got either of these messages:

An unexpected error is preventing the operation. Make a not of this error
code, which might be useful if you get additional help to resolve this

Error 0x800704C8: The requested operation cannot be performed on a file with a user-mapped section open.

Error 0x8007045D: The requested operation could not be performed because of an I/O
device error.

I tried the following and was able to install as well as copy the files after disabling Microsoft OneCare virus protection. Not sure if it was related or not or what made it work for sure.

  • Goto computer properties > Advanced system settings > System protection tab.
  • Uncheck all drives, hit apply.  This will turn of shadow copies and clear them.
  • Reenable the drives, hit apply.  I then hit the create button to repopulate at least one shadow copy.

Update: It might have something to do with Carbonite backup as well. When I disabled their service and kept OneCare running I was able to have everything working normally. Solved with Vista SP1 as seen here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Urban pictures

I subscribe to the Urbanity blog to see all amazing buildings. Even though my Spanish is not as good is it should, looking at the images is enough.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

FolderShare - free file sharing in the cloud

I've used FolderShare from Microsoft for PC to PC sync for some months recently and pushed it to the limits synchronizing files over Internet larger than 1GB (2GB is the limit) and with a file count of just less than 10,000 files (10k is the limit and a bit low in my opinion) and it has worked really good except a few hiccups. Now there is a new version and a new blog and it should be even better. It has crashed a couple of times though.

Keep files in sync across your computers.
Share folders with friends.
Access your files from any computer.

When I moved a bunch of files from one folder to another FolderShare only sent a move message so the files were not sent over Internet something that would slow down things.

Some features missing are being able to sync the desktop, shortcuts (.LNK), excluding file types, files or folders. It can also be useful if it was possible to synchronize a whole drive.

For sync on a PC only or on a network SyncToy is a better option.

Highly recommended as one of several Microsoft's useful freeware.

Ps. answers to some common questions on the FolderShare blog.

Friday, March 14, 2008

JTB FlexReport 4.1 released

JTB FlexReport 4.1 is now available. Check the revision history for details on the performance improvements and the news.

It probably is needed to uninstall the old version before installing this one. To be sure the latest version of the reports are installed rename or delete JTB FlexReport Detailed Reports.mdb and JTB FlexReport Graphic Reports.xls.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Riverbed and DWG 2007 file format workaround

It has been mentioned on, and SearchStorage how the file 2007 DWG file format used in AutoCAD 2007, AutoCAD 2008 and now also AutoCAD 2009 might affect users of WAN acceleration appliances like Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances. The performance has been a real problem.

Autodesk now has added a Knowledge Base document on this issue: Potential for reduced write performance for Riverbed WAN links when working with AutoCAD 2007 DWG files

Users of Riverbed or other affected WAN acceleration solutions can implement the following immediate workarounds that improve write productivity.

  1. Using a feature in AutoCAD called “Incremental Save Percentage” (ISP), and setting it to 50
  2. Using a version of the DWG format other than the AutoCAD 2007 DWG format

 AutoCAD Options

Notice that there are some commands that does not respect this setting to save in another version. Using Saveall and the drawings will be saved in 2007 format.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

AutoCAD Automation Tools released

AutoCAD Automation Tools are some tools for AutoCAD that JTB World have released that can be a real time saver if you need to make justifications on hundreds or thousands of drawings.

Typical usages are if you have a template drawing but text in the title block and some attributes or other text needs to be different on each drawing. Use for example Excel to enter or populate all values. Depending on your computer performance and the complexity of the drawing you can generate around 100 drawings in just 60 seconds.

AutoGen Excel template

You can change text or attribute values on a lot of drawings. It could update a title block with revision, date or some names for example.

You can add text, blocks or xrefs to existing drawings.

It works with AutoCAD 2000 or later (tested also with AutoCAD 2009) or verticals based on AutoCAD.

The AutoCAD Automation Tools are great for the CAD manager or administrator but also very easy for any AutoCAD user to use.

Monday, March 10, 2008

FLEXnet issues when restarting the server or service

If and when you restart your FLEXnet/FLEXlm server or service it can be good to know that the status will be incorrect if lmutil.exe or lmtools.exe is used.

If the user has an application running and restarting the license server or just the license service the following can happen:

USER1 HOST1 HOST1 (v1.000) (HOST1/27000 103), start Sat 1/19 08:24

Restarting server or service and it will not pick up that a license actually still is in use and it will look like the license was checked out just after the server restart notice also how the license handle can change.

USER1 HOST1 HOST1 (v1.000) (HOST1/27000 101), start Sat 1/19 12:26

It affects the report like this one jtbflexreportHTML2.htm where used hours are showed and it is the same with borrowed licenses that you cannot fully rely on when the license was borrowed:

USER1@HOST1 Checked out license at 2007-04-28 06:33  Hours used: 2:52

Friday, March 7, 2008

Purge of DWG takes forever - solution

I got an example drawing that needed to be purged and cleaned using SmartPurger. The problem was that it took forever. Increasing the timeout did not help.

Here was my tip.

I suggest you select only the Purge Regapps using ASDKCleanRegAppARX and set the script timeout to something high like 1000 seconds.
After that you can purge using other options.

General tab

Purge tab

Using this tip it still took a few minutes to remove all the Regapps but it helped and it worked even with AutoCAD 2009 as I was using it to confirm this.

This functionality was added with the 2.6 release of SmartPurger as previously described.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

ShellRunas by Microsoft

ShellRunas is the new (already 1.01 version) must have tool for you as IT or CAD Manager/Tech or the like.

The command-line Runas utility is handy for launching programs under different accounts, but it’s not convenient if you’re a heavy Explorer user. ShellRunas provides functionality similar to that of Runas to launch programs as a different user via a convenient shell context-menu entry.

ShellRunas works on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Invalid display of polyline with negative thickness in AutoCAD

Nikolay Poleshchuk, an Autodesk Authorized Author, sent me this and I was able to reproduce the problem in AutoCAD 2009. You find the bug fully described here.

display bug in AutoCAD 2009

Monday, March 3, 2008

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