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How do I backup the Vectorworks Preferences



For the second time in a month, I've gotten a message when I started up Vectorworks that it couldn't read my preferences, and it set them back to default. This is like having my automobile mechanic telling me that he relocated the steering wheel, gear shift and pedals, and if I'm lucky enough to figure out where he put them, they now work backwards compared to the way they used to be. In other words, I can't get any work done until things are back to the way they were. I spent over an hour trying to get things back to being usable and still didn't catch everything. I have no idea why it randomly decides that it can't read the preferences, but this is affecting my productivity, and I can't have this happening when I'm trying to get work done. So, once I get everything back to normal, I want to make a backup copy of the preference file(s).


I'm running VW2016 on MacOS. Is it correct to assume that the preferences are in Library/Application Support/Vectorworks/2016/ ?

Do I need to backup all of the files in that directory, or just certain ones?

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@BobWeaver I have syncthing syncing my preferences between my home and work machines.  As of reading of your terrifying troubles, I'm going to add a read only syncthing instance of that folder on my laptop, where I occasionally CAD but won't change prefs, so that will effectively act as a backup.  You could also automate a versioning backup of the folder to whatever drive or cloud server you use for backing things up, or just remember to manually do it every time you make changes (I''d automate, because I'm constantly tweaking).


I don't know of any built in solution, though.

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I'm using Time Machine to do regular backups on my Mac, and I assume that it's backing up all of the VW pref files, so I could try restoring from the Time Machine backup. My only concern is that, in doing this, I might restore some license related file. Then Vectorworks might notice a difference in the modification date and refuse to run. That's why I'd like to know which file or files are used to save just the user preferences, so I could leave all of the others alone.

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17 minutes ago, A.D.K. said:

Yes, but some are device specific. I've had to unsync a few to get it to not break stuff on different machines, for example. I'll have to check which ones, and I don't have it totally figured out yet 

Most are text files, so you could compare.between your two machines, what they have for settings.

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20 hours ago, Nicolas Goutte said:

See the "Setting" folder in your VW user folder. There are all settings.

Thank you.

I checked /Library/Application Support/Vectorworks/2016/Settings/

and I see these xml files:

Vectorworks Preferences.xml


I had a look at them in a text editor, they appear to be what I'm looking for. This will save me a lot of grief, if the problem happens again.

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Okay, now I'm confused. Why would Vectorworks save what appear to be user prefs files in the application support directory if it uses a copy that's in the application directory? I had assumed that the copy of the file in the application folder is the factory default settings that it reverts to when it can't read the one with the user's saved settings.

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User folder is in your user/library/application support.

Workgroup folder is anywhere you define.

Default settings are in App Folder.


Same named settings and library files will prioritized in

an order. The hierarchy is :

workgroup folder overwrites Default App sttings,

User folder overwrites workgroup folders settings.

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