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VWX backup File Strategies


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So I have VWX set for autosave after every twenty operations because, well, crash monster. Yes, even 2020 will disappear from my screen, sometimes without warning -POOF- begone. Awhle later a system sheet will appear, incoming me VWX has crashed, would I like to report it? 

My poor old lappie recently went slowly along to it's resting place, and an emergency purchase of a new machine ensued. The emergency portion of this event contributed to me buying a 2018 MBP 2.4 i9 eight core w/ the Radeon Pro Vega 20 4GB GPU + 32 GB ram. 1 TB SSD. Ouch. But emergencies are emergencies so buy I did.

I ported over the entire 'Documents' Folder from old machine to new, as well as  many other folders.

After doing so, I of course found my SSD almost as full as the old dear. In order to gain space I finally decided to check how much storage space VWX backup files hold in the aggregate on the drive. Suffice it to say I found and deleted over 100GB VWX backup files. I apparently still have 118GB VWX backup files remaining. I'll go through and delete many more, keeping some as in-process files. 

I'd enjoy hearing how others manage autosave and retention / deletion of VWX backup files.


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I use a separate external drive specifically for automatic backup files.  It keeps things off my main drive(s).  


You can set the save location from Vectorworks (menu)-> Preferences... -> Autosaves  -> Autosave a backup copy to -> A custom location -> Choose...

Edited by E|FA
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3 hours ago, E|FA said:

I use a separate external drive specifically for automatic backup files.  It keeps things off my main drive(s).  


You can set the save location from Vectorworks (menu)-> Preferences... -> Autosaves  -> Autosave a backup copy to -> A custom location -> Choose...

Awesome, thanks. Do all your VWX backup files go there? Any folder/file sorting you do there?

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No organization at all.  In the rare case I need to find something I can sort by file name and date.  My only use for these files is in case of a VW crash since my last save or if I head down the wrong path and need to exceed the number of available undos.  They aren't my "real" backup for file preservation purposes. I have Time Machine, cloud backup, and weekly offsite backup taking care of that.

Edited by E|FA
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I just run them all into a separate sub-folder in my jobs area:


I set "keep recent backups to " 2, and save once a minute. Currently I have 10Gb of backups, plus my normal daily backups to off-system drives


It's odd that  "keep recent backups to "  can't be set on a per file basis, in fact it's a really basic error of Nemetschek.

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Every workflow is a bit different and my situation certainly doesn't match yours exactly, but I thought I'd share the auto save procedure I've developed over the years that works very well for me at the moment.


I make heavy use of layers to organize multiple versions and various parts of a drawing, and all my symbols remain in the file for the duration of the project. I do mainly trade show design, so most of my jobs are based on show cycles that repeat on a yearly or bi-annual basis. Each cycle is based on the previous unless we're doing a complete redesign, so the 2020 file is a copy of the 2019 file, which was a copy of the 2018 file, etc. I will generally purge the new file of unused resources from the last year, but those resources remain in the old plan, so those act as a backup. For the duration of the project I keep one backup every 15 minutes in the same location as the original. I used to keep more, but because I never delete resources from a file until purging before the next show, there is really nothing to lose. That means if I do experience a crash (which is rare, as I will explain in a moment), I never need to go back more than one backup, therefore is no reason to keep more than one. There is nothing in a 30 minute old backup that's not in the 15 minute version, and if I accidentally purged something I need it's in last years file. So my total backup file size is just that one file.


As for crashes, I used to experience them so frequently that I once wrote a haiku about them, but no longer. There are often crashes that accompany upgrades, or anomalous behaviors that Vectorworks is famous for (some time ago my rig crashed every time I selected a blue fill from the menu, though it worked fine if I typed in the RGB number), but those are eventually fixed through a service pack (usually), and we can put those aside. I find that the crashes in our office mainly occur due to the user asking too much of the computer in one shocking moment. That's not to let VW off the hook. They should be able to let you know that you're overloading the system and stop your process without crashing the entire program. But I did find that crashing practically disappeared when I began diligently organizing my file into manageable visibility chunks, used Saved Views to navigate them, and kept my geometry as simple and streamlined as possible. If you ask the computer to manipulate too much geometry all at once, it will likely crash. Ultimately, I find that exquisite organization is the key to a happy Vectorworks experience. I described the details of that in an other thread that I participated in some time ago in relation to keeping file sizes manageable (see link below).


Another thing I noticed is that auto saving itself can cause crashes, I think when it tries to save while in the middle of some process. So, auto saving too frequently can be a problem because it creates more opportunities for a crash.



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