Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who's in the CENTRAL?!

Haven't you ever heard someone yelling that phrase across the office? Well today I was more collected as I tried to solve a problem that popped up in one of our Revit projects. And oh by the way, there are cases where you could work in the central file, but unless you REALLY know all the nuances of worksharing in Revit, I wouldn't risk it (talk to your local BIM Manager for details...)

A user was complaining that he couldn't Save To Central (STC). I went to take a look and found that he was getting a dialog with a Cancel button and a key symbol, saying that the Central is being accessed by someone else (don't you wish it would also tell you the username?). This dialog typically disappears after a while and can pop up if two users try STC'ing or borrowing elements simultaneously, or if your network is really slow. For some reason, this dialog was persisting and would not go away.

My first instinct was to see what the Worksharing Monitor tool was reporting. The tool wasn't installed so first, we saved the local file, exited Revit and installed the tool (by the way, if you have an early build of RAC 2008, this tool will report and recommend that you install a newer build as it is not compatible with the June 2007 build). The Worksharing Monitor reported that two users where working in the Architectural Central file.....both where in the Structural group. Let the blame begin!

A few seconds later, one user dropped off the list and I could swear that the remaining user knew better. So I go to his desk and as expected, he wasn't in it (Revit wasn't even open). I tried opening the central file from this machine and auditing it, but the same dialog popped up. Even a Detach from Central resulted in the same thing. Next I tried to rename the file to confirm it wasn't physically open on some machine and it let me, which confirmed that no one had it open. This started to hint at a network problem.

I called up our Network Administrator (another David!) to see if anyone was accessing the Central file, but no one was. Interstingly enough, the Backup folder in the Central File folder showed up as being accessed by the user that raised the flag the first time, even though he closed out of everything. So David worked his magic and forced him out. We tried opening the Central and....ahhh...it worked! We were able to re-open the local file and save the work back to central.

The Backup folder contains a lot of rws and dat files that Revit writes so it can keep track of permissions etc. You should never mess around with this folder. So if something like this happens in your office, take a deep breath and lay that brick sample down (ouch!) and troubleshoot for any network issues before assuming that the central file has become corrupt.



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