How to repair corrupt AutoCAD drawings and fix its errors

There are many reasons that can cause errors in your drawing but if you keep your AutoCAD drawing clean you can avoid many inadvertent errors. Most of the drawings containing errors can be repaired using some well-known tools like AUDIT and RECOVER.

There are also many drawings which can hardly be repaired by these tools. You can use some workarounds for repairing that kind of drawings using methods mentioned in this article. Let’s start with the most basic methods of repairing AutoCAD drawings.

AUDIT:

This command will check for simple errors in the AutoCAD file and it will attempt to fix those errors. To use this command type AUDIT on the command line and press enter, then select Yes from the command line options or type Yes and press enter.

AutoCAD will automatically look for errors in the file and it will fix those errors. The number of errors found and repaired can be seen on the command line as shown in the image below.

If you want to see the list of errors repaired then change the value of AUDITCTL system variable to 1. An ADT file will be created in the same location where the AutoCAD file is saved and you can open this file using notepad to see the list of all errors.

RECOVER:

If AUDIT fails to fix errors in your drawing then you can try using RECOVER tool as well. You can use this tool on severely damaged AutoCAD files as well, the tool will attempt to recover as much data as possible from the drawing.

To use this command type RECOVER on the command line and press enter. Select the affected DWG, DWT or DWS file and click on open. If your drawings happen to contain errors the AutoCAD will repair those errors and open the drawing file with the minimum possible loss of data.

A message will appear with the number of errors found and repaired from the drawing as shown in the image above.

Backup file:

Whenever you save a drawing a backup file is automatically created in the same folder in which drawing is present. The backup file has BAK extension and it will be created only when the value of ISAVEBAK system variable is set to 1.

If drawing shows errors after recent system failures, crashes or bugs then you can recover the previous version of the drawing from this backup file. To recover the drawing from backup file rename it to DWG extension.

Write Block:

This option should only be used if all of the mentioned methods of drawing recovery fails to recover the drawing. Using this method you can export portions of the drawing to an external file but a lot of data like layer information, custom text styles or blocks will be lost.

To use this tool open affected drawing and type WBLOCK on the command line and press enter. Select Objects from Source panel and pick a point in the drawing then select complete drawing using a selection or crossing window.

Avoid selecting complete drawing by pressing CTRL+A as this might select zero length and unnecessary geometries from the drawing.

Repair corrupt AutoCAD drawings

Specify a location to save exported drawing and click OK to export the geometries from drawing.

EXPORTTOAUTOCAD:

Many DWG compatible applications or plugins may create some custom objects which can also cause errors in the drawing. You can remove these custom objects and change them to AutoCAD compatible format.

When a drawing is opened in AutoCAD and it fails to find the application which created the custom object then it creates a proxy object which has limited capabilities compared to the original object. You can convert these proxy objects to AutoCAD supported objects using -EXPORTTOAUTOCAD command.

To use this tool open the drawing containing proxy objects and type -EXPORTTOAUTOCAD then press enter thrice. A new drawing file with ACAD prefix will be added to the same folder in which affected drawing is present.

In this drawing, all of the custom objects will be exploded to AutoCAD supported format.

Try these too:

You can also try to attach damaged drawings as XREF and then bind XREF in the current drawing. Inserting a drawing directly into another clean drawing using block import command can also recover a lot of information from the affected drawing. But these tools should only be used if you are completely unable to open the drawing using AutoCAD.

Do you have questions related to this tip? Let us know in the comments below.

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2018-09-25T03:34:29+00:00

About the Author:

I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked with Design, Manufacturing and Training industries but now SourceCAD is my full-time work and I use it to train students all over the world. I also train corporate clients and help them develop the skill set of their workforce. I am Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. I am a regular contributor of AUGI World magazine and apart from SourceCAD I also develop AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and other E-Learning businesses.

14 Comments

  1. Manohar December 5, 2018 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Hello sir i am having very strange problems. I was working on autocad and when i open the file that file showing error that the drawing file is not valid and i try to use .bak file but that also doesn’t open after rename with .dwg file. I also tried the recovery file but that also doesn’t opne. During that time i opened 3-4 file and that all doesn’t open and few are deleted automatically. Please help what to do?

  2. manish April 20, 2017 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Hello sir I have recover my acad file

  3. Dhruv January 5, 2017 at 12:36 am - Reply

    Hi Jai
    my cad file of 4.3 mb was not opening when i run recovery it worked but size reduced to some 350kb and some contents are also missing. However i restored the bak file and converted to dwg which is of 4.3 mb but whenver trying to open it asks to recover and comes with the same missing contents and about 450kb..

    Plz help.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey January 5, 2017 at 2:36 am - Reply

      There is very little that can be done because the drawing is completely corrupt as you mentioned. I guess you have to make missing components again 🙁

  4. Albert August 11, 2016 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    I just found this article and did the RECOVER and It worked.
    THANK YOU

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 12, 2016 at 1:15 am - Reply

      Welcome Albert!

  5. V Gautam June 1, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Hi
    My autocad files got deleted. Then I recovered using recovery software. After recovery when I open the file it is showing Drawing file not valid. What can I do ?

    • Jaiprakash Pandey June 2, 2016 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      The recovery software’s are not always able to recover files completely so you may find them as corrupted files after recovery. My best advice is to recover backup file (assuming its not deleted).

  6. Anonymous May 10, 2016 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    I CAN NOT THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THIS INFORMATION!!!! My computer was acting up so I saved the drawing and restart. my drawing said error and had few doors and 3 walls left. I lost 60 hours of work!!! I just found this article and did the RECOVER and It worked!!!!!! I can stop panicking now and reach my dead line today!
    THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Jaiprakash Pandey May 15, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      I am glad this tip saved lots of hours of your work

  7. mmohamed February 23, 2016 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    while working all all he drawing disappear although the cad file still have its volume

    • Jaiprakash Pandey February 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      can you share the screenshot as it’s very difficult to find the reason with this info.

  8. Subrata Ghosh December 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    working on a 2d file and a 3d file (different name & location). Autocad crash. After restarts auto cad there was same 3d contents in both 2d & 3d file. how is it possible. there was no sv$ file. cad crash on 2:03 pm. i was try to recover the drawing from the .bak file which was last save on 1:06 pm. but the content showin same in .bak file. what is the reason. now i have to re-draw the drawings again.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey December 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      It seems like your AutoCAD Autosave time is extended or disabled. Unfortunately if drawing is not recovered using all of the methods mentioned above then you need to re-create it. But you can ensure that it keeps on saving file in future for that Save this lisp file in C:Program FilesAutodeskAutoCAD 201xSupport where 201X is the version of your AutoCAD. download file from this link https://www.dropbox.com/s/dnvvvqgt89bwo55/user%20commnet.zip?dl=1

      Sometimes Autosave is disable automatically due to some scripts running in background but it fails to start again so to ensure it starts every time you start your AutoCAD application you can save the script as mentioned above, this lisp will ensure that every time AutoCAD starts it will load that file which tells AutoCAD to make an Autosave every 15 minutes.

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