I have developed a working BIM360 to on-premises backup mechanism. There were a few different ways to go…


I initially considered:

  • Hacking Windows Explorer to touch the files in the BIM 360 node and try and trigger the BIM360 Docs download and copy to local PC or network location
  • Developing a Forge app that essentially pulls the desired models out of the BIM 360 cloud to desired location?

In the end, I decided to use the Revit API (Dynamo and Python), along with VirtualBuiltApp, to essentially reverse engineer a folder structure from the local CollaborationCache folder. These ideas are hinted at here.


In simple terms, the BIM 360 Docs on-premises backup workflow is:

  1. Create a super federated BIM 360 model (with all other BIM 360 models linked into it)
  2. A Dynamo script reloads all links in order to cache them locally
  3. The same script interrogates, then determines the target file name and folder from VirtualBuiltApp
  4. Dynamo then copies the files into their ‘backup’ location on the local network


Some more detail is presented below:


A) Cache Cleaner CMD Script (may not really be necessary, as the ‘reload’ should overwrite superseded cache anyway):

Kill Revit if Open… be careful of below steps, particularly if Revit has crashed recently. You might need these local copies 🙂

cd "%LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2018"
cd CollaborationCache
rmdir oldCache
mkdir oldCache
for /d %i in (*) do move "%~i" oldCache


B) Manual steps to setup Revit model environment to run the script:

  1. Open Revit
  2. Open Federated BIM 360 file (worksets closed)
  3. Unload all links
  4. Open all Worksets


C) Dynamo Script:
Run Dynamo (Python) script that reloads and unloads all links (this collects .rvt into cache). Key Python commands to use are: RevitLinkType.Load() and RevitLinkType.Unload(None).

Potential Problems:

  • Coordination Monitor alert, no longer exists
  • Instance of link needs Coordination Review
  • “Some numerical data within the imported file was out of range. This numerical data has been truncated.”
  • “Geometry in the file … has extents greater than 20 miles (33km).”

Local cached Models appear into

%LOCALAPPDATA%\Autodesk\Revit\Autodesk Revit 2018\mainCacheFolder\hostModelIdFolder\LinkedModels\*.rvt


D) Dynamo Script continues to:
Rename and copy to desired target location. How do we determine this?

Using proprietary VirtualBuiltApp schema:

  1. Use known directory data along with known JSON data for the BIM 360 files (harvested previously by our proprietary systems)
  2. Build list of target paths
  3. Run copy from Dynamo to copy to target network directory

Part of the script:


Note: you can actually browse some BIM 360 Docs data in a .sqlite3 file located in path shown below. You can use DB Browser for SQLite as a viewer.

Revit creates a bit of a mess sometimes, leaving behind backup and journal files that can take up disk space and clog your system. I have posted about a few cleanup tools before, including:

You may also have heard about MoveBackup. This tool was created by Maxence Delannoy and has now been renamed to Wormhole for Revit. It comes as a 30 day trial and it can move your Revit backup files to a directory that you choose.

You can download the Revit 2016 – 2018 version here and the 2015 version here.

Set Path
Backups moved automatically

From the main page:

Wormhole for Revit with 2018 support (version 0.5

en-US version: https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B_UzIApsl084UEdEb2dCQ2dsckU

fr-FR version: https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B_UzIApsl084eFlHdjZNbTEwWms

Support for Revit 2015 has been dropped. So if you’re still using this version of Revit, please download the 0.4 here : https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=0B_UzIApsl084dG9wWTYxUmRoTlU

There is a nasty little bug that sometimes causes Backups (and any attempted Restore) to fail on a workshared project.  The way to avoid this problem is so simple that it should probably be implemented on all workshared projects in your office:

check Regenerate if view/sheet is not up-to-date.  This will create a thumbnail for the non-opened view to be included with the initial backup version and eliminate the error message when saving the backup version.
Cannot Restore Backup Version an Unknown Error Occurred – The Revit Clinic

However – if you have already come across this problem and it is too late to check the above box … you may be able to get the Restore to work IF you reinstate an appropriately named preview.xxxx.dat file into the _backup folder.  Its worth a try if you are struggling to recover some important data.

I had to format and re-install Vista on a laptop over the holiday break. Given that it was an OEM version, and the original disks were not available, I was faced with a bit of a conundrum. How will I restore the activation data without having to contact Microsoft?

Perhaps you have faced a similar problem. Often, OEM installation media is packed with software you don’t need, and it only serves to slow down your PC right from the get-go. However, you can install Vista using standard installation media, and then ‘backup and restore’ the Vista activation data. This way, you are starting with a truly ‘clean’ system. Of course, you will then need to download and install all the necessary drivers for your system.

Before starting the process, I backed up the activation data using the software at the link below. After obtaining some installation media, I installed Vista without providing any product keys (you should be able to do this with any retail Vista media). Then, I restored the activation data. It worked perfectly.

You can download the activation backup and restore utility at http://directedge.us/content/abr-activation-backup-and-restore

You can find a pretty good guide to re-installing a clean system at http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=120228