All it takes is one bad bit — the importance of FileFixer.

A long time ago, in a design firm not too far away, toiled away a lonely designer. After laboring for days on this one submittal, he checks his watch “11:23pm”, sighs and closes his MicroStation. The next morning, he comes in to work hoping to pick up where he left off and be done with this revision. His boss greets him on the way to his desk with a stern, “Tom, I expect that revision to be done today.” Tom smiles and reassures his boss that the deadline will be met. Tom double-clicks on the “B” icon on his desktop and selects the file he was working on the night before. Then, it happened. “Unable to open design file”. “The file is unopenable!” Tom panics. He thinks about the last backup. “It’s three days old.” There is no way Tom can get the project submitted on time. Or, is there?

Years of experience are what allow Axiom to provide “miracle” solutions to common workflow problems. The situations handled by Axiom tools are not MicroStation shortcomings. The purpose of Axiom tools is to optimize MicroStation and enhance the user experience. Repair of design file corruption is an example of this.

Corruption happens. It is due more to bad luck than lack of skill or a faulty CAD application. It is due to electrical anomalies in your hard drive, your network and your power company. It could even be due to a janitor vacuuming too close to your CPU! In fact, lots of times corruption is out of the end-user’s hands. The only thing we can all hope for is that when we come to work, the project design files will open smoothly and we will be able to work uninterrupted by corruption. But, sometimes, things happen.

Design file corruption parallels genetic mutations. One glitch in the design can change the color of a person’s hair from black to blonde. In the case of design files, one flipped bit (fundamental unit of information having just two possible values, as either of the binary digits 0 or 1) can lead to: a file not being readable, an element disappearing, a range being incorrect, or in V8, a model being unselectable.

FileFixer repairs most totally corrupt MicroStation files automatically. Also, FileFixer helps prevent future MicroStation file catastrophes and helps you figure out what is wrong when MicroStation isn’t working the way you expect by repairing minor, unnoticeable MicroStation file corruptions before they become serious. No similar curative or preventive solution exists for MicroStation. FileFixer is, and will continue to be, the unrivaled champion against design file corruption.

How does Axiom stay ahead in the battle against design file corruption? Broadly speaking there are two ways we do this: 1) Lots of research and development and 2) listening to you — our MicroStation managers and users.

FileFixer enhancements
Most enhancements made to FileFixer are requested by our customers. They usually come about from specific, real-world problems MicroStation users are having with design files. For example, because of a specific problem an Axiom customer once had, the latest FileFixer for V8 release includes the ability to create a backup copy of a design file prior to processing while leaving the modification time and date the same as it was prior to creating the backup copy.
Another customer had the interesting problem of mysterious invisible elements in his design files. MicroStation V8 has a feature that allows elements to be set as “invisible”. These invisible elements are neither displayed in MicroStation’s GUI nor plotted. But, when the customer viewed his design files though Cimmetry’s AutoVue DGN reader, the invisible elements were displayed, which was confusing to our customer. To handle his problem, we have added a new FileFixer error number (240) and included the option to correct these invisible elements by either making them visible or deleting them.

FileFixer now does the job faster than ever too! Recent programming enhancements have resulted in optimizations that have vastly increased processing speed when finding and fixing corruption. Test cases have shown that the most recent release of FileFixer repairs corruption, on average, five times faster than the previous version.

Conclusion
The internal complexity of the workings of a design file are quite staggering. Maintaining their delicate balance is truly a scientific marvel. FileFixer gives MicroStation users a tried-and-true solution with over a decade of refinements that help preserve the reliability of their invaluable design files. Much like modern science, FileFixer is constantly revamped to meet the new and changing demands of its users, and will continue to grow and evolve as long as Bentley marches forward enhancing MicroStation.

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