How to resolve ‘This version of drawing file is not supported’ error?

September 24, 2019 |

greater than 14 minutes

AutoCAD is one of the most popular computer design and drafting programs ever released for the Windows operating system. Understandably, the program has its faults, but the CAD support and development teams are generally quick in assisting users and rolling out patches or fixes to bugs.

There is one problem, though, to which a definitive solution is yet to be found or established. Here, we are referring to the issue where users try to import or export files from the DWG format into the AutoCAD software they use and vice versa. The problem in view can manifest itself on almost any AutoCAD version, but the same procedures or workarounds can be employed to rectify it regardless of the application builds involved.

For one, if you came here to learn how to remove the ‘this version of drawing file is not supported’ error in AutoCAD or a similar notification, you will be pleased with the solutions we have prepared.

How to resolve the Drawing file is not valid error when opening a file in AutoCAD on Windows 10

To maximize your chances of getting good results as fast as possible, we recommend that you go through the procedures described here in the order they appear below.

Verify that the file you are trying to open is compatible with your AutoCAD application:

Generally, when users encounter CAD program format compatibility or invalidity issues with their files, we advise them to try to use the correct or precise version of the app – on which the files were originally created – to open them. If you know what AutoCAD build was used to create the item you are struggling to open, you will do well to employ it to open the file with which you experienced the error.

Well, if you are not sure of the AutoCAD version used to create the original file, you can go through these steps to find out:

  • Open the File Explorer application on your computer and then locate the file with which you encountered the invalid or unsupported file error message. Right-click on the troubled file to see some options and then choose Open with.

From the list of applications that come up, you have to choose Notepad or any other text editor you know how to use.

  • Once the Notepad or text editor application window comes up, you must check for a value code on the first line of the text displayed.

For example, you might see something like AC10222, which is the code that corresponds to the AutoCAD build or version that was used to create or save the file.

Now, assuming you now know the AutoCAD application on which the file was created, you can check for it online to download and install it. You must understand that files in the DWG and DXF format can be edited on other CAD builds newer than the versions on which they got created. In other words, you can actually download the newest AutoCAD version to open items that were created on old or previous AutoCAD applications.

Anyway, you can continue with these steps:

  • Fire up your web browser and then search the web for the AutoCAD build you need to use. Download and save the application package.
  • Run it and follow the appropriate on-screen instructions to install the AutoCAD program.

If you cannot obtain the exact AutoCAD build on which the file was created, you will do well to get the latest AutoCAD version available.

  • Here, assuming you have finished installing the required AutoCAD application, you must proceed to use it to open the troubled file.

Open the File Explorer app, locate the required file, right-click on it to see some options and then select Open with.

  •  Once the list of available applications comes up, you must choose the AutoCAD app which you recently installed.

If you manage to open the troubled file using the AutoCAD app you just downloaded, then you can export it as a new file in the DWG or DXF format that is compatible with the AutoCAD build you tried to use earlier to launch it.

If the launch operation for the troubled file fails again, you can try to use any other compatible program on your computer to open it. AutoCAD mobile, for example, is known to open files that were created on other AutoCAD programs or application packages; you can try it out.

How do I recover a drawing in AutoCAD?

If you suspect that the file you are struggling with is corrupted or damaged in some way, you have to repair it. Corrupted files generally exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • The AutoCAD file refuses to open
  • The AutoCAD file crashes on launch
  • The editing or manipulation operations involving the file are slow or sluggish
  • Error messages appear or crashes happen frequently when the file is being worked on the AutoCAD application fails to execute some commands on the file, or the execution operations go very slowly
  • The troubled file increases in size without cause
  • Drawing elements for the file go missing

In case you are interested in learning why the file fell to corruption or became broken, you can go through this list of potential causes or events that lead to the issue:

  • There are problems involving third-party applications, utilities or even add-ons that are operating within the AutoCAD application on your computer
  • The DWG files were saved on unsupported AutoCAD applications or non-Autodesk utilities; they might have been created using non-real DWG products.
  • The save operation for the troubled file was interrupted because the program being used was terminated.
  • The troubled file or drawing has been used and reused for far too long (over many years).
  • The anomalies that affect networks, such as transmission errors, latent data writing, and so on, developed
  • Hardware issues affecting your computer or the previous device where the file was created (or saved is involved, which may result in defective or failing temporary memory (RAM), bad sectors on a hard drive, and so on.
  • Software issues affect your operating system or the OS where the file was created or saved.

We believe we have covered most of the possibilities or scenarios where users struggle to work with a file because it is corrupted or damaged. We will now move on to describe the most effective cleaning, repair, and recovery procedures for drawings or CAD files.

Try this fix to the issue when you cannot get the drawing file to open at all:

If you tried to launch the troubled file in the AutoCAD application but the launch process crashed or ended up being a failure, then the solution here applies in your case. The same thing goes for scenarios where the problematic file fails to come up in AutoCAD after users selected it for the app to open it.

We will now walk you through the steps on resolving the defined problem:

  • First, you must check and confirm that you have no leftover .dwl or .dwl2 files in the directory where the file you are trying to open is stored, especially if you saw the default Drawing1.dwg or any other file that was opened in the AutoCAD application.

The .dwl and .dwl2 files are generally hidden. They are supposed to have the same name as the troubled .dwg file (with their names ending with the .dwl and .dwl2 extensions).

  • You have to instruct Windows to show the hidden files in the appropriate folder.

Launch the File Explorer application through the Windows button + letter E keyboard shortcut, go to the directory housing the troubled file, and then enable the Hidden file parameter for that location.

Alternatively, you can do things this way: Launch the Control Panel program on your computer, get to the Folder Options menu. Click on the option to show hidden files (to select it).

  • Now, assuming the .dwl and .dwl2 files are now visible in the directory, you must act to delete both of them – if they exist alongside the DWG file you are struggling to open.
  • Since you have gotten rid of the leftover files (as we requested), you must now try to launch the drawing file again and see how things go.

If you could not get the drawing file to open even after you removed its leftover components or if the proposed operation did not apply in your case, you must go through these steps to resolve the issue in view:

  • Launch a new AutoCAD window and open a blank DWG pane. There, you must run the RECOVER command.
  • You have to choose the problematic file (for the command to work on it).

The AutoCAD application is now supposed to work to recover the file. If it succeeds, you will be able to open the returned entry. If it fails, you must continue to the next step.

  • Here, you must launch a new AutoCAD window and open a blank DWG pane again. This time, you have to run the RECOVERALL command.
  • You still have to select the troubled file (for the command to act on it).

AutoCAD will try to use all the most effective recovery operations available to repair the file. If everything goes well, AutoCAD will display a repaired file, which you will now be able to open without issues. If the issue persists, you must move on to the next step.

  • Here, you have to launch a new AutoCAD window and open a blank DWG pane. This time, we want you to run the INSERT command.
  • You have to select the problematic file to get AutoCAD to insert it.

If the AutoCAD succeeds in inserting the file, you must run the EXPLODE command, choose the inserted block, and then continue with the instructions below.

Run the AUDIT and PURGE commands. If the operations here get executed, you have to use SAVEAS to create a new DWG.

At this point, you must go into the directory where the troubled drawing file was stored and check if a BAK with the same name as the file now exists.

If you find the needed BAK file, you must right-click on it and then choose the Rename option. You must add .dwg to its name (at the end). This way, you get to convert the BAK item to a file in the DWG format.

For example, newfile.dwg.

  • Now – assuming you managed to convert the BAK file to a drawing file (in the DWG file) – you must try to open the DWG file using the AutoCAD application on your PC and see how things go.
  • If you have no luck with the converted DWG file, you must check this directory for files with the SV$ extension: C:\Windows\Temp
  • If you find any SV$ file with the same name as the drawing file you struggled to open, you must copy it and place it in a folder you can access easily.
  • Rename the SV$ file to convert it to the DWG format as you did earlier: Give it a new name that ends with .dwg and then save the changes made to the name.
  • Try to open the converted DWG file with the AutoCAD program. You might be successful this time.
  • If you cannot get the file to come up through the normal launch operation, you must try to open it on DWG Trueview.

If the file opens normally in DWG Trueview, you must try to convert it there to a file in an older DWH version and then try to open the converted file in the AutoCAD app.

Try to recover and repair the troubled drawing file through unorthodox procedures or processes if it still opens in a way:

Here, we want you to take advantage of certain effects associated with common commands used in AutoCAD to fix corruption or invalidity issues affecting the DWG file – assuming something still shows up after the launch process for the file gets initiated. The operations we are about to describe do different things, so we strongly advise that you work your way through them in the order their steps are outlined:

  • Open the drawing the file in AutoCAD.
  • Bring up the program command line. Purge registered applications.

You have to type in this code and execute it to begin: -PURGE.

  • Type and then execute this code: R.

Here, R stands for registered applications.

  • When you are asked to verify each of the names to be purged, you have to type in and execute this code: N.
  • Assuming you are now at the end of the command line, you must type in and execute this code: PURGE.
  • Ensure that the checkboxes for all the items there have been selected and then click on the Purge all button.
  • Now, you must move on to use the audit command to fix errors. Here again, you must bring up the command line and there you must type in and execute this code: AUDIT.
  • At this point, you must type in and execute this code: Y.

Here, Y stands for Yes, which is the affirmation the program needs to act to fix errors.

At this point, assuming the audit process has reached completion, you must save the result of all the work you did as a drawing file.

  • Try to open the new drawing. Confirm that you no longer experience the issues you struggled with earlier.

At this stage, if you are still struggling with the same problem, you must try to eliminate the inconsistencies in the troubled drawing file by migrating its vital components or data to a fresh DWG file. Follow these instructions:

  • Open the corrupted drawing file in one AutoCAD window and open a new or blank drawing in another AutoCAD window.
  • Use the Ctrl + letter A and Ctrl + Shift + letter C keyboard shortcuts to highlight the composition of the troubled drawing file.

The base point should be 0, 0, 0.

  • Go to the other window and use the Ctrl + letter V command to paste the copied stuff.

The insert point should be 0, 0, 0.

  • Save the new drawing on the window you are currently on.

If everything goes well, you will be able to continue your work on the new file you created that mirrors the corrupted drawing image. You are unlikely to encounter errors or performance issues with the new file.

Strip the troubled drawing file of its data to eliminate issues and create a decent copy:

If you are experiencing unexplainable performance issues with a drawing file in the AutoCAD application, then the proposed procedure should prove useful. Here, we intend to guide you through the execution of certain operations (using specific commands and targeted processes) to dissolve the troubled file constituents and obtain a new file free of issues. All you have to do is follow these instructions carefully as best as you can:

  • Open the troubled file. Verify that all the layers are on (or visible), thawed, and unlocked.
  • Assuming you were successful with the first task, you must now try to detach all external references (X-REFs).

We advise that you double-check that the x-refs involved do not have or contain circular attachments.

  • At this point, you have to write (block) all the needed information in the file out to a new drawing. You will perform this task through command line tools.
  • After you bring up the command line, you must type in and execute this code first: WBLOCK
  • Check the items under Source and then select Objects. You must then check under Objects and click on the Select objects icon.
  • Here, you must employ a selection window to highlight only the necessary objects from the file. We are against you typing ALL to select everything.
  • At this point, you have to set the file path (where the item will be stored), fill the field for Name with the necessary text and then click on OK.
  • Here, you have to open a new blank drawing file to continue. Once the window for the new file comes up, you must insert the file you created at the end of the previous step (from the command line). See the instructions below.
  • Type in and execute this code: INSERT
  • Now, you have to choose the required file. You also have to untick the checkbox for the Specify On-screen parameter and then tick the box for Explode.
  • Click on OK to round up your work.
  • Here, you have to type in and execute this code from the command line: PURGE
  • Confirm that all the relevant checkboxes have been selected (or make the necessary changes) before you click on Purge all.
  • Use the AUDIT command to fix errors (as you did earlier).
  • Use the SAVEAS command to create a fresh file with a new name.

You are likely to be satisfied with the copy of the CAD file you just created.

Perform Autodesk repair and recovery tasks:

At this point – since you have not yet learned how to fix the Drawing file is not valid in AutoCAD issue (or a similar problem) – we have to walk you through the repair and recovery operations generally recommended by Autodesk for various purposes.

  1. You can perform the constituent tasks in any order since they are mostly independent of one another. You can stop at any step or procedure the moment your problem gets resolved – you are not obligated to go through everything.

Well, here you go.

  • Launch the AutoCAD application afresh and open a blank DWD pane. Bring up the command line and then use the RECOVER command (as you did earlier).

Here, we want you to give the AutoCAD application as many chances as you can to allow it to restore the troubled drawing file.

  • If the restoration operations continue to fail, you must type in and execute this command: OVERKILL.

If everything goes well, you will have to select all the objects displayed. You will have to choose the checkbox for the properties to include a parameter or ignore it.

  • Once you have made your choices known, you have to click on the OK button to allow the operation execution.
  • At this point, you must type in and execute this command: DELCON.

You have to choose all the objects available.

  • Now, you must type in and execute this command too: BREP.

You will do well to select all the objects available, especially if you are sure the troubled file contained solids or surfaces.

  • Type in and execute this code: -SCALELISTEDIT.
  • Follow things up with the execution of this code: R.

Here, R stands for reset.

  • You must execute this one too: Y.

Here, Y stands for Yes, which is the needed affirmation.

  • At this point, you must type in and run this command: FILTERS

Once the Delete filters button shows up, you must click on it to continue.

  • If the unexpected or unexplained increase in file size issue is one of the problems you experienced, you must use the DGNPURGE tool at this point.
  • At this stage, we want you to try to open the troubled drawing file in other AutoCAD versions or program builds. Test things out on as many iterations as you can; try out as many AutoCAD products as you can and see how far you get.
  • Open a blank DWG window. This time, you must try to attach the troubled file as an XREF extension.

If AutoCAD allows you to attach the file, you will have to use the BIND command to link it to the current file. If you succeed with the proposed operation, you will have to redo the repair and recovery tasks you performed earlier.

  • Try to use the SAVEAS command to get AutoCAD to save the troubled file in an older format. If it works, you must try to open the newly created file and observe the changes.
  • You can try to export the file to the DXF format through the DXFOUT command. If this operation goes well, you will have to use the DXFIN command to import back the file you created.

Here, we want you to restore the layout tabs, and the next steps will be focused on this task.

  • Do a right-click on any of the default layout tabs to see some options and then select From template.
  • Now, you have to open the original file. Once it comes up, you will be able to to choose the layout tabs for the restoration operation.

We advise that you restore one tab at a time – if multiple layout tabs appear to be corrupted.

  • You can also try to move drawing objects between the computer model and paper space. You can still dissect the drawing, perform an elimination task using the QSELECT tool to select different objects and test things to learn about the components causing issues in the troubled file.

Unfortunately, given the current length of this guide, we can longer describe procedures in full. We stop here.

Finally – especially if all else fails – you can use System Restore, or you can restore the file from a time before it became corrupted (if you have a backup).


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