Message: An unexpected error occurred while ray tracing.

Reference Number: KB-02983
Last Modified: March 28, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


When I try to create a ray trace, I receive an error message of:

"An unexpected error occurred while ray tracing." or
"Unable to open ray tracing engine - ray tracing disabled for this session."

What does this error mean, and how can I resolve the error so that I can continue ray tracing?


There are primarily two reasons to receive this error:

  • Something plan-specific in the file is stopping the ray trace from being able to start.
  • Something running on the system itself is stopping the ray trace process from being able to start.

This means that the first step to troubleshooting this error is to determine whether or not the error only displays in one particular file, or if it occurs any time you go to create a ray trace regardless of the plan itself.

To test whether the problem occurs in all plans

  1. From the menu, select File> New Plan  to start a new empty blank plan file.

  2. Select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall , then click and drag to create a simple enclosed rectangular structure.

  3. Next, go to Build> Cabinet> Base Cabinet , then click to place a single base cabinet against one of the walls in the plan.

  4. Select 3D> Create Perspective View> Full Camera , then click and drag towards the cabinet in the room to create a camera view.

  5. Finally, select 3D> Ray Trace .

  • If this plan ray traces successfully, then you have determined that there is something specific to your earlier file causing the issue with ray tracing.

    Please follow the instructions in the Related Articles section below to use the Backup Entire Plan utility to send a compressed folder of the plan, and all associated files, to our Technical Support department using the online Support Center.

  • If this plan also will not ray trace successfully without generating the error, then you have determined that there is something running on the system interfering with Chief Architect's ray tracer.

    Continue following the steps below to troubleshoot and if none of the steps resolve the issue, then submit requested information to our Technical Support department for continued troubleshooting.

If the error occurs in all files, and you are using a Microsoft Windows operating system, then to continue troubleshooting, using the links below. If you are on a Mac operating system, scroll down to the next section.

To troubleshoot the ray trace error with all plans in Windows

  1. The error may be caused by corruption in the TCP/IP stack.

    This Microsoft article contains a Fix it utility which can reset the TCP/IP for you found on their website at:

    Please make certain to only run the utility compatible with your version of Microsoft Windows, as this Microsoft article has two separate utilities, one which is compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 7, and a different one compatible with Windows Vista and Windows XP*.

    *Please note that X7 and newer versions are not supported on Windows Vista or earlier versions of Windows.

    On Windows 10, search online and follow the instructions to manually reset TCP/IP, as Microsoft had not yet updated the utility in the linked article above to be compatible with Windows 10.

    After running this utility or manually resetting TCP/IP, attempt to run a ray trace again.

    If the ray trace is unsuccessful, continue on to the next step below.

  2. The error may be caused by corruption in the Winsock keys of the Windows Registry.

  • To repair Winsock in Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7, you will need to type netsh winsock reset at the command prompt, and then press Enter on the keyboard.

    Programs that access or monitor the Internet, such as antivirus, firewall, or proxy clients may be negatively affected when you run this command. If you have a program that no longer functions correctly after you use this resolution, reinstall that program to restore functionality.

    For instructions on accessing the command prompt, see the "How do I get to a command prompt section" section of this Microsoft article:

  • To reset them in Windows Vista and earlier, you can download and run a separate Microsoft Fix it utility under the "Fix it for me" section of this article at:

  • Again, after resetting the Winsock, attempt to run a ray trace again.

    If the ray trace is still unsuccessful, continue on to the next step below.

  • Finally, if the issue still occurs after taking the above two steps, then the likely cause is an antivirus or firewall software preventing the use of the TCP/IP stack.

    This means that your next step will be to restart the computer using Safe Mode with Networking and test whether you are able to ray trace with these third party utilities disabled.

    Note: While in Safe Mode with Networking, you may receive one or more messages regarding the video card and its drivers, as manufacturer-specific video card drivers will not be loaded. Click OK when these warnings display, and be aware that the render quality of the resulting view will likely be decreased from what you are used to seeing.

    If you are able to ray trace in Safe Mode with Networking, then you should check your antivirus and firewall program settings to see how to allow the Chief Architect program to launch the ray tracer when they are running in a standard startup mode.

  • To troubleshoot the ray trace error with all plans on a Mac*

    *X6 and newer versions only.

    • There may be a process running in the background on your system which is stopping the information from the ray trace process from being able to start, in which case, you should be able to ensure that this process is disabled by rebooting your Mac system in Safe Mode.

    • For instructions on this process, please see this Apple help article:

    To contact Technical Support

    If none of these suggestions resolve the error, then our Technical Support department will need the following files attached to an online Support Center case in order to troubleshoot the computer's system issue.

    • The exact wording of the error you are receiving, along with the results of troubleshooting using the steps in this article.
    • The System Information.
    • The Message Log.
    • The ray tracer specific log text file.

    Instructions on how to locate the first of these two files, the System Information and Message Log, can be accomplished by following the steps in the Related Articles section at the end of this article.

    To locate the Chief Architect ray tracer log

    1. Select Edit> Preferences .

      On a Mac, select Chief Architect> Preferences.

    2. Select the Folders panel under All Program Paths, then click on the Show button.

    3. In the Program Paths dialog, scroll down until you see the Temporary Folder listed, click on it to highlight it, then click on the Show in Explorer option.

      On a Mac, click on the Show in Finder button.

    4. In the temporary folder that displays, scroll down and look for a text file named "ChiefArchitectRayTracer_log" in Chief Architect X7 and newer versions.

      In Chief Architect X6 and earlier versions, this was called the "Phoebe_log" file.

    5. Once you've located it, right click and select Copy, the minimize the window and Paste it on to your Desktop.

    6. Finally, submit all three files (the log file, along with both the Message Log and System Information files) to our Technical Support department for further troubleshooting.