Migrating Chief Architect to a New Computer

Reference Number: KB-00001
Last Modified: March 28, 2017

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.

A video that walks through the process can be located at: Migrating to a New Version of Chief Architect.

To backup Core, Bonus, and Manufacturer Library catalogs

  1. Locate the location on your computer where these files are stored.

    Catalog locations for Windows 10 / 8 / 7:


    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.

    Catalog locations for Mac:

    /Library/Application Support/

  2. Locate and open the folder with the name of the program version you are using (for example, "Chief Architect Premier X9").

  3. Inside, you will see a number of folders, including:
  • Bonus Libraries
  • Core Libraries
  • Manufacturer Data
  • Manufacturer Libraries
  • Program_Data
  • Referenced Files
  • 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, bolded in the list above, contain library content.  These 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 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 backup library content from the User Catalog

    1. Launch the version of the program that you are using and open a plan.

    2. If it is not already open, select View> Library Browser.

    3. Right click on the User Catalog, or a particular folder or item within it, that you want to move to the new computer, then from the menu that displays, select Export Library.

    4. Choose an easy to find location, such as your Desktop, give the file a unique name, and click Save.

      Note: Folders can take some time to export, depending on their size. If you have an extensive User Catalog and it is taking a considerable amount of time to export it may be necessary to separate the catalog into smaller folders to export.

    5. 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.

    6. Launch Chief Architect on the new computer and start a new plan.

    7. 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 X9 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.