Migrating Chief Architect to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-00001
Last Modified: March 28, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


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?


If your Support and Software Assurance (SSA) is current, then you can redownload and install the program following the instructions in your Digital Locker, just as you did on the initial installation on the old computer.

If you are using a discontinued version of the Chief Architect software, please verify that it is supported on your new computer's operating system by first checking the System Requirements.

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

  • 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, as you desire.

You can watch a video that walks through the process mentioned below here: Migrating to a New Version of Chief Architect

To backup Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer Library catalogs

Catalog locations for Windows 10/8/7/Vista:

Catalog locations for Windows XP:

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

Catalog locations for Mac:

  • /Library/Application Support/

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

Locate and open the folder with the name of the program version you are using (for example, "Chief Architect Premier X7"). 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 a file named dont_change.dat

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

The other folders contain library content and can be copied and placed in their respective 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 related article on backing up library content linked at the bottom of this article.

To backup 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 related 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. A new folder on your Desktop or 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.

    • To import multiple library files at once, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click any additional .calibz files to add them to your selection.

    • With the desired .calibz file(s) selected, click the Open  button to import the selected libraries into your User Catalog.

To backup 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 X7 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.

To backup 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 related article Message: Files not found in Layout, linked below.

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.