Migrating Chief Architect to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-00001 Last Updated: 11-04-2014 03:03 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I am getting a new computer and want to run Chief Architect on it.  How do I move the program and all of the files that I need onto my new computer?


There are a number of different files that can be migrated from one computer to another to make Chief run on the new computer much like it did on the old.

  • Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer library catalogs

  • Library Content from the User Catalog

  • Toolbars, Hotkeys, and File Templates

  • Plan and Layout Files


You can move some or all of these files to best suit your needs.

Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer Library Catalogs

Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer library catalogs are located at:

For Windows 8/7/Vista:

  • C:\ProgramData\

    Note: The Program Data folder is a hidden folder. Please visit Microsoft's Support page on how to 'Show Hidden Files and Folders' if you have trouble finding this location.

For Windows XP:

  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\

For Mac:

  • ~/Library/Application Support/

Note:Only Chief Architect X6 products are natively supported on Mac OS X.

Look for a folder with the name of the program version you are using -  for example, "Chief Architect Premier X6" - and open the folder.

Inside, you will see a number of folders - including Bonus Libraries,  Core Libraries, Manufacturer Data, Manufacturer Libraries,  Program_Data, and Referenced Files - as well as one file named  dont_change.dat.

  • All but two of these items - the Program_Data folder and the dont_change.dat file - contain library content.

  • Program_Data and dont_change.dat both contain encrypted registration information and MUST NOT be copied or backed up.

The other folders, though, contain library content and can be copied and placed in the same location on a different computer.  When placing these files on the new computer, make sure that Chief Architect is not running.  For more information about selecting and copying these files, see the article on backing up library content linked at the bottom of this article.

Library Content from the User Catalog

To ensure that all material textures are included when you copy your   User Catalog to a new computer, export the contents of your User  Catalog  and then import them into the library on your new computer. To  learn  how export the contents of the User Catalog, see the article on backing up library content linked at the bottom of this article.


To import your User Catalog on a new computer

  1. Copy the exported contents of your User Catalog onto the new computer's hard drive.

    • Your Documents folder is a good place to save these files.

  2. Launch Chief Architect and open a new plan.

  3. Select Library> Import Library from the menu.  In the Import Library Data dialog:

    • Browse to the location where you saved your .calibz files.

    • Click on the name of one of the .calibz files from your User Catalog to select it.

    • Hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click on additional .calibz files to add them to your selection set.

    • Click the Open button to import the selected libraries into your User Catalog.


Toolbars, Hotkeys, and File Templates

Custom toolbars, hotkeys, template files, and other user-specific data is saved in the program Data folder. The program Data folder is located in your Documents directory and its name will begin with the full name and version of your Chief Architect program followed by the word Data - for example, "Chief Architect Premier X5 Data".

You can copy the entire program Data folder from one computer to another and simply place it in the same location.  As with library content, do not make this change while Chief Architect is running.

If you also want to migrate your User Catalog to a new computer, you can save time by exporting its contents into the Database Libraries folder located in the program Data folder and then copying the Data folder to the new computer.  Then import the User Catalog content as described above.


Plan and Layout Files

Although they do not affect the functionality of the program, you will probably also want to copy your drawings onto the new computer, as well.  To preserve the links between plan and layout files, it is best to maintain the same file structure as on the old computer. To learn more, see the article on File Management linked at the bottom of this article. If your plan file gets unlinked from your layout you can restore these links using the steps outlined in the Message: Files not found in Layout. article

Remember to migrate related support files like images, and custom textures, as well.  One way to ensure that all files associated with a particular plan or layout are copied to the new computer is to use the Backup Entire Plan tool.  There is an article on using the Backup Entire Plan tool linked at the bottom of this article.