February 18, 2014

Posted on February 18, 2014 by Kevin Spear, Synergis Civil Solutions Engineer:

How many times are you called over for pipe network “issues” only to find out that the catalog path has somehow been changed from the network share to the local cache?
** Wrong catalog path **

We could open this dialog, browse for the right location, select it, and click OK. But where’s the fun in that?

One solution is to create a registry key that resets the correct value, place that key file on the network and send a link to create a desktop shortcut pointing to this registry file.  Then, users can double-click that desktop icon to reset the pipe catalog path.  Easy-peasy as my girls like to say…  But, how do you do all of that?  Let’s dive in.

First the registry key.

The key we’re looking for is found under HKEY_Current_User\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD.

Next comes the version. If you’re on 2010, then you dive into R18.0 or if you’re on 2011 then dive into R18.1. So now your path looks like this with 2011:

If you have more than one 2011 application installed, they will all be listed here. Here’s a snapshot of my laptop:

r18-1-versions3Civil 3D happens to be ACAD-9000:409. Our path is now;


Now that were at the specific version and flavor of AutoCAD, we need to find the actual key. It’s buried in the profile keys; which may be another reason why the path is different from your company default. Here’s the rest of the path;

HKEY_Current_User\Software\Autodesk\AutoCAD\R18.1\ACAD-9000:409\Profiles\{Profile Name}\Preferences\AeccUiNetwork80

Once here, we are looking revise each key.  It’s value should include the network resource location.

The simplest fashion to create this external key file is to make the change in Civil 3D, open Regedit and right-click on the “AeccUiNetwork80” folder and select Export. Pick a place to save the key file and you’re almost done!


Now, make sure to revise the directory location in the key file before you export OR just open the key file in a text editor, do a ‘Find and Replace’ to correct the value. Notice that the network file path requires double back-slashes to resolve correctly.

cad-0000-1-4-2011-8-42-10-am6Next step create the batch file.

What we want a batch routine that copies that shortcut to the desktop for users to double-click if and when this happens again.
The contents of the batch file might look like this:

echo off
REM —– Copy Icon —–
cd %userprofile%\desktop
if not exist “2011 Pipe Catalog Reset.lnk” goto CLEAN
del “2011 Pipe Catalog Reset.lnk”
copy “I:\Civil3D\_Admin\BAT\2011 Pipe Catalog Reset.lnk” c:

The batch above will remove an existing shortcut in case it may have been modified and replaced with the shortcut stored on the network.

This batch routine is then what will be linked in the email you send to your staff.

Third, we need a shortcut that will point to the registry key file.

Side note: why do we do this?  Primarily because most email programs block .REG file attachments as that is an easy way for malware/spyware/any crapware to infest your system.  Also, including a shortcut in an email has the same effect of being blocked.

To create the shortcut, right-click on the registry key file already located on the network share and select “Create Shortcut.” You may want to rename it to something shorter for clarity sake.

folder-view-of-shortcuts7Last, create an email.

Create an email, type some text in the email, select a word you want them to click, then right-click and select hyperlink and paste in the shortcut network path and file name and click OK. Send the email out and when users respond, they will get a new desktop shortcut they can click themselves to fix the problem.


To sum up, the user gets an email with a link. The link copies a shortcut to the desktop. The shortcut triggers the registry key being updated. When that happens, a warning comes up like below:
Click YES and then this dialog confirms the action:


NOTE: This will take effect immediately, no need to restart Civil 3D.

Now, this same “delivery mechanism” could be used to resolve other issues.  So instead of creating a specific batch file to an issue, you have a master batch file that resolves all of these types of problems.

If you have any questions contact us!

-Kevin Spear

Check out the Land Development Engineering blog for more posts from Kevin…

KevinSpear300x389Kevin joined Synergis in 2012 with over 20 years’ experience as a civil engineer. Most recently he worked for Kling Stubbins. Kevin has a lot of experience with Civil 3D, all the way up through the current release, having been a Senior Applications Engineer with another Autodesk reseller and part of the Autodesk beta program. In his time at Synergis he is using his expertise to provide training, technical support, and consulting services to Civil 3D, Map 3D, and Revit Structure customers. Kevin is an Autodesk Certified Instructor.

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