When opening a drawing, you might receive an error message like this one:
Infection detected!XXXXX objects detected Land F/X has detected a virus-like contamination in this file. We do NOT recommend you continue to work in this file until you use the Autodesk cleanup utility.
You might see this message every time you open a drawing file, in only a few files, or even just one.
If you clicked Why is this happening to me? in the error message, you ended up here. So what's the story with this error, and what can you do about it?
You have corruption in your drawing from objects known as Registered Applications, or RegApps. Although RegApps are necessary for smart objects to function correctly within CAD, a flaw in their basic design structure can cause them to accumulate and result in corruption.
In almost all cases, the problem originates from RegApps in external references (Xrefs) that are attached to your drawing.
Land F/X doesn't cause corruption – we just detect it!
Drawing corruption is not an issue that originates from our software, although you might encounter it when using our software. It's the result of AutoCAD objects that can be present in any drawing, and often originate in files created by civil engineers and other consultants. See the following links for more information:
"There's one thing I want to ask you about: There's that big orange box that comes up that warns about RegApps. How much would I have to pay you so I can have it and distribute it internally to my CAD users who never clean their files? They come to me saying I'm getting this message and I ask did you read it?"
–Adam Bauer, IT, Olsson Associates
Autodesk provides a cleanup utility that can fix this issue by correcting corruption in any number of DWG files. In fact, we've provided a link to it right in the error message!
1. Click the Autodesk RegApp Cleanup Utility link to go to a page where you can download the Cleanup Utility.
Download the 64-bit version of the cleanup utility for your year version of CAD.
In case you've already closed the error message, the following links will also allow you to download the Cleanup Utility for your year version:
Take care to download the 64-bit version of the utility.
Download it to a location where you can easily find it, such as your desktop or Downloads folder.
2. You'll now have a file named Regapp_ID_Cleanup_Utility_for_AutoCAD_(your year version)_64bit.zip in the location where you downloaded the utility (AutoCAD 2019 shown as an example).
Right-click this file and select Extract All... .
3. Click Browse, and browse to the folder C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD 20xx (where 20xx is your year version of AutoCAD or F/X CAD.
Select that folder, then click Extract.
4. Navigate to the folder where you just extracted the cleanup utility.
Right-click the file CleanupRegapp.exe and select Create shortcut.
Create a shortcut for this file on your desktop, or another location that's easy to navigate to.
You'll be able to use this shortcut to clean files in the future without navigating to the folder where you extracted the cleanup utility.
5. Run (double-click) the file CleanupRegapp.exe, either in the location where you extracted it or from the shortcut you created.
Click Browse, then browse to the DWG file(s) you want to clean. Note that you can choose to search files or folders.
You can choose to clean just your drawing set, or every drawing file on your file server.
You should now be able to open your drawing without seeing the error.
The Cleanup Utility is safe to use. It will only remove Unreferenced RegApp IDs, which are no longer being used by anything in your file. More information about the Autodesk Cleanup Utility
This warning message is your friend!
Although we understand it can be irritating to keep seeing this warning when you open a drawing file, we assure you that it's anything but a nuisance. It's a legitimate warning that at any point, any number of the smart objects in your plan may become nothing more than plain AutoCAD entities – that is, lose all their assigned data. We've had clients with entire sheet sets of detail callouts wiped out in this way, as the common Xref was present in all sheet files. Others have had seemingly random numbers of plants suddenly stop being plants. Or entire irrigation plans that were now unresponsive. That's hardly a loss in functionality – it's a virus-like issue that can cause literally days of downtime.
The hope is that we can instill an appreciation (and healthy fear) of the massive cost of re-creating an entire plan. Even if it takes an hour to locate the source of drawing corruption and address it, it's time well spent – plus it's a fraction of the time required to deal with a massively corrupt drawing.
Further issues and questions
If the AutoCAD cleanup utility isn't working for you, you can also try a few additional steps.
Complete the following steps in the following files:
- Your main drawing
- All Xrefs you've attached to the main drawing (remember to detach them first)
- All detail drawings containing details you've placed in your drawing or the Xrefs
To correct the problem, you'll need to physically open each Xref and run the DelRegApps command on on your main drawing and each Xref (including any nested Xrefs), as well as any details you've placed in the drawing or Xrefs
Type XREF in the Command line, then press Enter.
The Xref Manager will open, listing all Xrefs in the current drawing.
Double-click an Xref to open it.
Although you'll want to delete the RegApps from every single Xref in the drawing, note that the Xrefs with large file sizes (more than a couple of megabytes) are the likely culprits causing the error.
Type DelRegApps in the Command line, then press Enter. The excessive RegApps will be deleted from the file, and the Command line will show the number of RegApps that have been deleted.
Repeat these steps for the remainder of Xrefs shown in the Xref Manager to delete the rest of the RegApps from your drawing.
Have you cleaned all files and Xrefs, and the RegApp warning keeps appearing? What about your details? You'll also need to edit each and every one of your detail drawings and clean those drawings as well.
What If I Don't Have Access to All Xrefs?
In a large multi-discipline office, it's quite common that Xrefs will be attached with full paths to the original files prepared by the civil or other discipline. Those files are commonly updated at irregular times, making it difficult to know when each file has been changed. In these cases, it's imperative to communicate with your colleagues in the other disciplines so they can clean the files themselves.
Civils will usually not have access to software as helpful as Land F/X, so they may not be receiving automatic reminders that they are sending out infected files.
It's also important to recognize that the software responsible for this issue has been out of production for more than a decade, yet these infections are still common. So it's obviously extremely virulent, if not a true virus.
If this warning is popping up when you open each of your drawing files, it could be that a file such as the drawing containing your standard title block is actually causing the infection.
We recommend "etransmitting" the drawing set to a separate location. You can then sort all the Xrefs by file size and then methodically determine the source of the infection.
You can prevent this issue by implementing our drawing corruption prevention strategies as an office-wide standard.
This includes cleaning each of your drawings (including Xrefs) as you receive them. It's important to note that excessive RegApps can spread from one drawing to another – in the act of Xrefing a file, or even when you have a corrupted drawing open when you open another drawing.
You can use one of the following methods to clean your files:
- Run our Nuke tool on drawings received from others
- Complete our recommended manual drawing cleanup steps
Moving forward, it's absolutely imperative that Xrefs undergo a quarantine process and are thoroughly cleaned before you Xref them into production drawings and details. You simply don't have the time to fix the problems that arise when drawing corruption has spread not only through an entire drawing set, but through all associated details as well.
Our users are often told by a CAD manager they can’t clean colleagues' drawings, often in the case that an in-house Civil 3D user has created the drawings that are the source of the corruption.
This is a reasonable request, but the CAD manager should also know about the consequences of that decision. The warning message referenced in this article is a serious one – the Civil 3D users are providing corrupted drawings to other departments. In this case, you essentially have two options:
- Keep using the corrupted drawings, and deal with the known issues those errors will cause: file slowness, problems with Xrefs, block scaling, crashes, ACAD commands misfiring and not working, etc., or
- Create a system of only Xrefing in a cleaned copy of the other department’s files until they can fix the errors in the source drawing
If you absolutely need to keep the proxies in the drawings from the Civil 3D users, you can try completing the manual drawing cleanup steps but not running the AECTOCAD command at the end. If you test the file(s) and determine that AECTOACAD is the only fix, your Civil 3D department will need to understand that they have to fix their templates.