AutoCAD is a computer-aided design and drafting software. It is used by engineers, architects, urban planners, automobile designers and many other professionals to create virtual drawings and plans. In this article, we will look at how to recover AutoCAD drawings that fail to open.
AutoCAD is an essential software to any modern day designer. The drawings created are saved in DWG files (filename extension .dwg). You might be surprised however when you open a DWG file and find it blank after having worked on it. AutoCAD could also display an error message, “Drawing file is not valid.” Some of the major causes of DWG file corruption are:
- AutoCAD stopped suddenly especially when saving the .dwg.
- System issues such as system crashes.
- Accidental modification of a file that was not created by AutoCAD. You could have added the .dwg extension accidentally to a file created by a third-party software.
- Hard disk issues such as bad sectors.
- Opening a DWG file from recent AutoCAD in outdated software.
Before trying to recover the DWG files, you should try the following steps:
- If the file was sent by email, you can have the sender ZIP and resend it.
- Confirm that your storage is working properly.
- Extract the DWG files from ZIP before opening them or copying them to a new location.
- If you used media such as an external hard disk or flash drives for transmission, confirm their integrity.
- Open the file directly from Windows Explorer instead of using the recent menu.
If the file is still not opening, delete its .dwl files. DWL files are used for the WHO HAS command and display information about the currently open files. To locate .dwl files, you need to unhide hidden files in the file explorer first. Using windows 10,
- Open file explorer.
- Click on the view tab.
- Check the hidden items check box.
In the file explorer, locate the problematic .dwg file. Find the .dwl or dwl2 files next to it. Delete them and try to reopen the .dwg file.
Recovering from Autosave
- Go to the autosave folder. In most cases the path is C:\Users\<user>\Appdata\local\Temp.
- Search for files with the .sv$ extension.
- Locate the .sv$ with a similar name to that of the corrupt .dwg file.
- Copy the .sv$ and rename the extension of one copy to .dwg.
- Open the new dwg.
Using Backup Files
- Find the corrupt .dwg file in windows explorer.
- Look for the files back up near the file with the extension .bak.
- Make a copy of the backup so as not to lose it before renaming its extension to .dwg.
- Open the new .dwg file.
Inserting the File as a Block
- Open a new blank .dwg file.
- Run the INSERT command.
- Select the corrupt .dwg file.
- If successfully inserted, run the EXPLODE command and choose the inserted block.
- Run the AUDIT command followed by the PURGE command.
- SAVE AS to create a new DWG file.
Depending on the level of corruption of the DWG file, the above methods might not work. That’s where data recovery tools like DataNumen DWG Recovery come in. This tool will recover your drawing regardless of its level of corruption. Furthermore, it will recover lost DWG files that you can’t find in the files explorer or you deleted accidentally.