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macOS Catalina (10.15) Compatibility

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I am sorry if I offended you with my "good luck" comment. All I can say is that my (and apparently the majority of users) experience is very different than yours. VW would love to be able to track down and fix the crashing issues you are seeing.


There are about 30,000 users on the forum. That is about 2% of the worldwide installed base of VW. There have been about 35 different users posting to this thread. A very small subset of a small subset.


When you did your clean install, did you happen to bring forward a custom workspace? We have seen some people have issues with upgraded workspaces.

Did you bring forward older template files? If so you might want to recreate those as well. If there is something corrupted in your template it could be giving you issues in all your files.

Is there any consistency to a specific action that causes the crash? If not, it is possible that your machine may have a problem or bad memory.


I am not trying to put down your experience and would like to try and help you figure it out. I am a user like you and I also run the Los Angeles users group, but other than that I have no relation with Vectorworks.

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I would agree with Pat that there is probably something in the files or workspace that is causing this.


we have lots of reports of migrated workspaces, settings, Favorites [sic] and templates causing issues because they have been sequentially upgraded from earlier versions some as far back as minicad 7.


we have issues with some files converted from earlier versions on some OSs but not all files or all OSs.  The state of the file is often an issue particularly if it has been used to import DWG data into directly etc as is:


- running software update and not downloading and running a combo update.


- certain server connections


- allowing a full download of vss content.


- fusion drives


- the size of the autosave folder. we have had users with 100s of GBs of Backup files dating back to 2011 on their computers where their account was simply migrated from one Mac to the next without a fresh install of data or applications. PerformNce is definitely improved by deleting almost all autosave content.


- server or Mac capacity if within 20% of full will slow things down.


- deleting content from the default libraries


we had an issue during this lockdown of a user unable to work at all. Draw a wall, and beach ball for 5-10 mins.  We find out that the mac was not prepared for home use and was still looking for the office server at system level, nothing to do with Vectorworks but was causing the processor to work overtime and that of course affected all software but, of course, that was Vectorworks’ fault too.

I would be surprised if there is not something very straightforward that would fix the issues you are experiencing.

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Upgraded Software to Catolina 10.15.5 and since had issues with layers where ive switched layers but it still shows me the layer it was opened on, if it switches layers it then sometimes leaves layers ive selected off and layers setting as active only on display as a print on the design layer. Any solutions to this?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would be surprised if there is not something very straightforward that would fix the issues you are experiencing.


Thread 0 Crashed:: CrBrowserMain  Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread
0   libsystem_kernel.dylib            0x00007fff71f1733a __pthread_kill + 10
1   libsystem_pthread.dylib           0x00007fff71fd3e60 pthread_kill + 430
2   libsystem_c.dylib                 0x00007fff71e9e808 abort + 120
3   libGPUSupportMercury.dylib        0x00007fff5921b0a5 gpusGenerateCrashLog.cold.1 + 95
4   libGPUSupportMercury.dylib        0x00007fff5921218f gpusGenerateCrashLog + 89
5   com.apple.AMDRadeonX4000GLDriver    0x000000011fd688b1 gpusKillClientExt + 9




gpus_ReturnNotPermittedKillClient causing huge number of crashes




The crash happens mostly after a save action. The file isn't saved.



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I understand that 2018 is not officially supported to run on Catalina. Display issues can be overcome (previous poster mentioned these), however what is incredibly frustrating and feels like a small fix, is that when hitting 'tab' to enter a value in the data bar (drawing a line or moving an object for instance), the constraint angle is lost. This makes the programme unusable and for a small studio, simply purchasing the upgrade is not an option.

We have had to switch over to Catalina as a major partner of ours is running collaborative keynotes as an immediate and primary means to work. This means a roll-back is impossible.


Can anyone help overcome the issue described?

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Deaf ears- VW's reply is "vw18 is not supported in Catalina" I'm in the same spot having quit service select thinking I could coast for a few lean years. Not the case as support for VW18 didn't even last two years after a stable version [under Mojave] was issued. I too need Catalina for its interface with communications among other features. VW won't even let me resume service select for VW'20 given I've been a user since MiniCad days. I've resorted to dual-boot Mojave and Catalina. How about a compensation program for early end-of-life?

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We worked on Apple equipment for many years. At some point, we got tired of their backward compatibility policy and switched to Windows. I just don't understand how you can blame the software developer for lack of compatibility while categorically excluding the OS manufacturer.
Have a look at other software forums. No CAD works longer than 2-3 years on MacOS. In every forum there are with every MacOS update complaints about serious bugs and warnings of the manufacturers that you should not update. At least during half a year. The problem is not limited to CAD. Even Adobe is plagued by problems with every OS update. This is due to changes to MacOS, not to the software. The software vendors may be responsible for not fixing the issues fast enough. But Apple alone is responsible that the incompatibility occurred in the first place.
On Windows it is standard that after every OS update every software continues to work normally. Obviously MacOS has a problem if every major program has to be adapted with every upgrade. Still no complaints in Apple forums, only in the software manufacturers forums. I just don't understand.
Apple's promise that it simply works and you don't have to worry about anything may be true for average users but not for us who use complex software.
If you want to take the consequences, it would be obvious that you change the OS. That way, you'll completely avoid the problem.

Edited by herbieherb
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No CAD works longer than 2-3 years on MacOS.

I can't see that as being a problem if you upgrade your CAD software annually. Apple does change the OS, frequently to cope with security problems but it also issues beta versions of operating systems which developers can download. The problem with VW is mostly that their release cycle is just one month away from Apple's. If it was delayed, then they would have a better chance to fix bugs caused by changed APIs.



We got tired of their backward compatibility policy and switched to Windows


Well that's certainly something I could do… but wait a minute, I'm a designer! I could not sit in front of Windows for more than a few minutes without wanting a headache pill!


Some years ago, we had a French intern who had big design aspirations and was a big Windows fan. I grabbed his laptop and turned it upside down alongside mine and asked him which, as a designer, he preferred. One looked like the underside of a 55 Chev. The other didn't.


But that's just a matter of taste. If I go into our computer graveyard, there are as many PCs as Macs. But we use 6 times more Macs than PCs. My previous Mac was 2013 and still works brilliantly.


I do hear what you are saying about constant updates through. I'm well over it. However Adobe is not the best example to use since every update is just moving the furniture and increasing their interface nightmare!


We're all on an update bandwagon which is impossible to get off.



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Please do not start the discussion about which operating system is better. In the end, this is only a question of your requirements, preferences and taste. I only mentioned Windows to point out that it is a conscious decision by Apple not to pay attention to backwards compatibility, while this is not a problem with other OS. Just to show that the lamentations go to the wrong party when they are posted in the software vendors forums. If this is a problem for you, go to Apple and tell them so they can improve their product.

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On 6/13/2020 at 1:49 AM, herbieherb said:

do not start the discussion about which operating system is better.

Thanks @herbieherb. I wasn't intending to start anything, only provide some perspective and hopefully some soft of relief for those affected by Apple's way of doing things. Hence my final (encouraging) remark: 

On 6/12/2020 at 3:57 PM, Jeremy Best said:

No one and nothing is perfect, so work as best you can with what you've got!


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It is worth noting the history of WYSIWYG interfaces


1. Xerox Parc

2. Mac

3. Windows


Without that we may all still have command line word processor commands for all CAD functions.  Despite adapting to a graphical interface, Autocad still retains a command line. 


Although we complain, without Graphsoft Minicad (Graphisoft is the Archicad company,) an excellent CAD app would be hard to find.  So whereas we complain, unless Nemetschek had agreed, after purchasing both companies, to continue developing in both Apple and MS environments, we would not have the option to choose. 


The issue of compatibilty and upgrades is something we have to live with to retain our choices.  I appreciate the continuing efforts of Nemetschek to maintain the options in an ever changing environment. 

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  • 1 month later...

I didn't say Windows is better. I said:

On 6/12/2020 at 3:49 PM, herbieherb said:

In the end, this is only a question of your requirements, preferences and taste.

I just mentioned that other OS don't have these issues with backwards compatibility. It's a MacOS thing, not the issue of lazy software programmers. (Backwards) compatibility is simply a very small priority in the Mac world. It's your choice so deal with it.


You are the one who continues the pointless discussion about which operating system is better.


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My installation of VWX 2020 crashes on launch in my Catalina installation.


I am current with SP5. The machine is a MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017) running a 3.1 GHz Quad Core i7, 16 GB Ram and GPU 4GB Radeon Pro 560 + Intel HD Graphics 630 1536 MB.


I have repaired the VWX installation (run from the installer app - 101 files repaired).


Any help would be appreciated. 


The application ran on this machine prior to my upgrading to Catalina.

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1 hour ago, briland23 said:

The application ran on this machine prior to my upgrading to Catalina.


Hi @briland23,


Excuse the obviousness of this suggestion, but if you haven't tried restarting your Mac, do that first. No dice? Then, ensure you're opening Vectorworks from within the Application folder, not your Dock. - Just in case that has become troubled. 


If the issue persists;

Based on what you've described, while there's a couple of further actions that could remedy this situation for you I'm not confident they're worth entertaining. I suggest you just jump right up to the most silver of silver bullets and uninstall, then reinstall Vectorworks, accounting for the possibility your Vectorworks User Folder might be part of the problem: 

  1. Download a fresh installer of Vectorworks 2020 (currently SP4). While that's going on…
  2. Back up your Vectorworks User Folder but just in case it contains the problem, disable it before proceeding by prepending its name with an 'x'
  3. Uninstall Vectorworks using the dedicated uninstall app in the Vectorworks application folder. 
  4. Reinstall Vectorworks, then re-test for the problem. 
    • If no issue occurs, reinstate your Vectorworks User Folder. 
    • If the issue recurs, consider software conflicts or save yourself detective-time and query your region's distributor/tech support provider. 
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