CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — Even though MicroStation J and V8 are robust and stable applications, file content can still be damaged. It only takes one problematic design file to slow or halt a project. That is why MicroStation sites all over the world keep FileFixer around for emergency file repair and routine checkups of their important design files.
The beauty of FileFixer is its ability to diagnose design file problems and repair most problems automatically. But regardless of its powerful existing features, the variety of new problems reported by MicroStation users keeps Axiom’s Support and Development teams on their toes, fine-tuning the V7 and V8 versions of FileFixer. Any problem file that FileFixer does not handle automatically is given top priority by Axiom staff. FileFixer owners with active maintenance are eligible for these enhancements at no additional charge.
Frankly, typical FileFixer enhancements are so intricate and technically detailed Axiom would not normally describe them. Axiom sweats over the tough stuff so you don’t need to. But, in this article, Axiom invites you to take a look under the hood of both FileFixer and MicroStation, to show you things you may have never seen before.
Structured storage and file corruption?
Traditional file formats, such as the original V7 design file format, aren’t ideal for efficiently storing dissimilar types of information (like graphical data, non-graphical data and Windows file properties) in a single file. So, along with the many other enhancements introduced in MicroStation V8, Bentley adopted a new file format for V8.
Each MicroStation V8 file consists of multiple internal directories and sub-files. This data organization scheme, also used by Microsoft Word and Excel, is called structured storage. Per Microsoft documentation, “The purpose of structured storage is to reduce the performance penalties and overhead associated with storing separate objects in a flat file.” When saved to disk, MicroStation V8 design file elements are compressed and nested in the sub-files of the structured storage file.
The structured storage system is normally reliable and robust, but as with any computer application and file type, data can become corrupted. If one of the structured storage folders or sub-files is damaged, the data therein is likely to become inaccessible, even when other portions of the compound file are intact.
Analysis of MicroStation V8 files submitted to Axiom reveals that structured storage errors do occur in production. This is a new phenomenon with MicroStation files. If you’re working with V8, you might have encountered structured storage errors without realizing it. Typical symptoms of structured storage errors are missing elements or “MicroStation Problem Notification” dialog boxes.
In response to customer demand, FileFixer for V8 was enhanced to detect and handle the most serious structured storage problems. The details are a bit much for this article, but we encourage you to contact Axiom for an online demonstration of FileFixer for V8.
Going from V7 to V8?
The best way to guarantee your V7 files import into MicroStation V8 healthy and whole is to first process all V7 files with FileFixer. FileFixer’s “Search for Problems” mode identifies files which manifest the most severe problems — possibly just a few true troublemakers. Once the most severe problem files are isolated, use FileFixer’s “Automatic Repair” mode to repair the most severely damaged files before importing them into MicroStation V8.
To do this, open FileFixer (V7 version) and select “Options | Search”. Within that dialog box, select the “Design File” category of options and check the “Build a list…” option:
Then, back on the main FileFixer dialog box, select the “Search for Problems” mode, type in *.dgn in the “Which files?” field, and click <Start> to analyze all of your design files. You can even fine-tune the severity of errors that are reported (see above). The resultant list will contain those files with the most serious problems — repair those files with FileFixer, and afterwards they will be a lot less likely to give you problems while and after importing them into V8. FileFixer veterans routinely use FileFixer’s “Build a list…” option to isolate and handle the true trouble-maker files.