Troubleshooting Exception Error Messages

Reference Number: KB-00802 Last Updated: 11-10-2014 03:02 PM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials or Home Designer Landscape & Deck


I keep seeing an error message that says something about an exception, for example, "SEH Exception".  And then it says, "Please contact Chief Architect Technical Support with steps to reproduce." 

What is wrong, and what should I do about it?


There are a number of different types of exception errors:

  • SEH exceptions
  • NULL pointer exceptions
  • Assert exceptions
  • Bad pointer exceptions
  • Invalid parameter exceptions
  • Loop cancel exceptions
  • Bad reference exceptions


Exception errors can be caused by a variety of factors: some known and some as yet unknown. Common causes of exception errors include:

  • File corruption
  • Driver problems
  • Unsupported system specifications 
  • Software issues


Since there are a number of possible causes of exception errors, some basic troubleshooting is required in order to identify the reason for a particular error.

To troubleshoot an exception error

  1. The first step to troubleshooting an error in any program is to make sure you are using the most current program version.

    • In Chief Architect, you can verify whether you have the latest program update by selecting Help> Download Program Updates from the program menu.

  2. File corruption and data loss can be caused by working in an unsupported fashion, such as working on files saved on a network server, external hard drive, or USB flash drive.

    • If you work in this manner, we recommend that you copy plan and layout files to your local hard drive before you open them in Chief Architect. When you are finished working, exit out of the program and then copy them back to their original location. For more information, see the Guide to file management for Chief Architect files articles linked in the Related Articles section.

  3. Make sure that your computer meets the minimum system requirements for running the software.

    • The minimum and recommended system requirements for running the current version of Chief Architect linked in the Related Articles section.

    • If your computer does not meet the minimum system requirements, you should consider purchasing a system that meets, or exceeds, the minimum requirements.

  4. If your computer meets the minimum system requirements, you may still need to update your video card drivers.

    • Basic instructions are available in the Troubleshooting 3D Display Problems article linked in the Related Articles section.

  5. If you have the latest program update installed and are running the program in a supported fashion, then the cause of the error is likely within the software itself.

    • If you would like to help us determine the cause of the problem so that it can be resolved, please follow the instructions below.

If you would like to report the error and help us find a solution, please send the following information to our Technical Support department. Some of the requested information may identify you as well as specific information about your computer, but it will also help us determine the source of the problem.  Please be assured that any files submitted to Chief Architect Technical Support will be used for troubleshooting purposes only.


To report an error to Chief Architect Technical Support

  1. When an error occurs, it is a good idea to take a moment to write down what you were doing just prior to the error, including what kind of view was open, what tools you were using, and what objects you were drawing or editing.

  2. Use the Backup Entire Plan  tool to create a folder with a copy of the file in which the error occurs, along with all referenced files.

    • See Help Database article "Using the Backup Entire Plan Tool" linked in the Related Articles section.

  3. Locate the Message Log to send to Tech Support - Navigate to the Chief Architect application data folder on your hard drive.

    • For Windows:

      • Press the Windows key on your keyboard and press the letter R at the same time to open a Run dialog.

      • Type %appdata% and click OK.

      • This will take you to the AppData\Roaming folder. For Chief Architect X6 based programs we need to go to the AppData\Local folder.

      • Click on the AppData heading in your address bar then open the Local folder

    • For Mac:

      • Open Finder and from the menu click Go> Go to Folder

      • In the Go to Folder dialog type in /Users/<YourUserName/Library/Application Support/ and click Go.

      • This will open the Library directory

  4. Next, open the folder with the name of the program you are using and locate the file named Message Log.txt file.

    • Right-click on this file and select Copy.

    • Navigate to the folder that you created using Backup Entire Plan , and Paste a copy of the Message Log file into it.

  5. If you have a screen capture of the error message, you can save a copy of it in your Backup Entire Plan folder, as well.

  6. Once you have all of the necessary files located in your Backup Entire Plan  folder, exit out of Chief Architect and compress the folder.

    On Windows right click on the folder, and select Send To> Compressed (zipped) folder from the menu.

    On a Mac right click the folder and select Compress from the menu.

  7. Log in to the Online Support Center and create a new ticket to send to Technical Support.

    • If you have not used the Online Support Center before, you will need to take a moment to register a new account.

    • For more information, see the Using the Online Support Center article linked in the Related Articles section.

    • Online Support Center -

  8. Give the ticket a short but descriptive title, and in the text of the ticket, type a detailed description of the problem, including the exact steps that caused the error to occur.

    • The more detailed you are, the more likely we will be to reproduce the error and identify the problem.

    • Include the exact wording of the error message, or attach a screen capture image of the error message box.

  9. Provide information about your system, such as its:

    • Operating system

    • Video card

    • Type of mouse

    • Printer

    • Driver dates

  10. Click the Browse button to browse to the zipped copy of your Backup Entire Plan  folder and attach it to your ticket, then submit the ticket.

It is possible that Technical Services may need additional information regarding the issue, which they will request via a reply in the Online Support Center.