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CADconform for MicroStation


Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the CADconform toolbox disappear after I dock it?

If you are running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 in 64-bit mode, you may have replicated a known problem with a Windows uupdate patch released in August 2014. See this link for more information on the nature of the problem and how to resolve it. A subsequently released hot-fix from Microsoft should resolve this problem, but if you continue to have issues or cannot install the hot-fix for some reason, then the issue can be resolved by CADconform through setting the variable: _CADCONFORM_TOOLS_REORDERALLWINDOWS = 1.


Which Database application should I use for CADconform?

CADconform should work with any ODBC compliant database system. The most commonly used ones include:

The right database to use will depend on your own requirements. Most of the time Access is more than adequate to store the standards for CADconform, as generally there is only one administrator working on the standards database at one time. The various pros and cons of these databases is outlined below:

Pros for Access:

  1. Drivers pre-installed on every PC
  2. Easy to view/modify database using Microsoft Access
  3. Fast driver and simple to administrate
  4. Well suited for CADconform's light database needs

Cons for Access:

  1. Doesn't scale well for multiple simultaneous administrators (Microsoft recommend no more than 5 concurrent editors)*
  2. Doesn't support remote server connections via TCP/IP
  3. Problems mixing 32-bit and 64-bit drivers one one machine using MS Access 2007 and higher on x64.

* This isn't really a limitation in practice, as it would be extremely undesirable to ever have more than one administrator editing a feature table concurrently.

Pros for SQL Server

  1. Fast and powerful, scales well for concurrent editing
  2. Supports remote server connections via TCP/IP
  3. No 64-bit portability issues

Cons for SQL Server

  1. Drivers not installed by default
  2. More complex to configure and administrate
  3. Overkill for CADconform's simple database requirements
  4. Password requirements can make for cumbersome (extra password entry) or unsafe security measures (i.e. leaving the database password in plain text in the DSN file).

Pros for Oracle

  1. Powerful, fast, scales well for concurrent editing
  2. Supports remote server connections via TCP/IP
  3. No 64-bit portability issues

Cons for Oracle

  1. Drivers not installed by default
  2. More complex to configure and administrate
  3. Difficult to setup initially
  4. Overkill for CADconform's simple database requirements
  5. Password requirements can make for cumbersome (extra password entry) or unsafe security measures (i.e. leaving the database password in plain text in the DSN file).
  6. May be compatibility issues due to more restrictions on table and column formats (some non-ANSI SQL quirks)


When will CADconform fully support Windows 64-bit?

CADconform is a 32-bit application that runs natively on 32-bit processors (x86) and on 64-bit processors (x86-64 aka x64) under 32-bit emulation (aka Windows on Windows 64 or WoW64). Currently MicroStation is also a 32-bit application, which means all MDL applications running on MicroStation must also be compiled as 32-bit applications. A future release of MicroStation is likely to fully support 64-bit processors, and thus will be a true native 64-bit application. When the 64-bit version of MicroStation is released, CADconform will also be made available as a 64-bit native application. Until then, CADconform will remain a 32-bit application that works equally on both processor architectures. The AutoCAD version of CADconform is already available as a 64-bit native application, since AutoCAD is already 64-bit compliant.


Why doesn't the HTML Reporting work on Windows 7 (64-bit)?

See Known Issues. The good news is there is a workaround for this.

Why can't I memorise the ByLayer values in CADconform for MicroStation like I can in CADconform for AutoCAD? 

Typically in MicroStation the level properties are locked using the DGNLIB file. When you create a workspace the levels are defined in the DGNLIB and these are then essentially referenced into the active drawings like an overlay. When you place data on a level it becomes part of the drawing but there is still the level in the original DGNLIB it came from. This provides a few benefits from the standards perspective. For one thing the user is unable to modify the level properties while in the workspace unless they have access to modifying the DGNLIB directly. Secondly, if you open a drawing in the workspace where the level properties are different from the DGNLIB, it is highlighted in the Level Manager and the “Update Levels” option allows you to revert back to those properties defined in the DGNLIB. There is also the file size saving benefit here in that you could have hundreds of levels defined in the DGNLIB (and hence displayed in your file while drafting) but they are never actually placed in the drawing unless the level is used.

The bottom line is that you will typically see the levels defined in the DGNLIB, the DGNLIB then locked from being changed by the drafters, and if a user exits the workspace in order to force a property change in the levels it will highlight in the Level Manager anyway (and can be quickly corrected). So the control for this is already built into MicroStation and not something CADconform replicates. On the AutoCAD side we have this functionality because AutoCAD does not have a way to lock out users from changing the layer properties, so it is very beneficial to include that in the checking process. For MicroStation users, this is not usually an issue for a properly configured CAD standard.

Why isn't the Microsoft Access Driver available in the ODBC Control Panel in Windows 7 (64-bit)?

This is a known limitation as Microsoft do not provide 64-bit JET drivers for Windows 7. The 64-bit JET drivers are delivered with Microsoft Access 2010, or can be downloaded separately from Microsoft. However, as MicroStation and CADconform are 32-bit applications, they are not compatible with the 64-bit JET driver. Instead it is better to either:

  1. Use the "Edit Data Sources" button on the User Manager dialog. This ensures that the 32-bit version of the ODBC Control Panel is used.
  2. Use a different ODBC-compliant database system, such as SQL Server, SQL Server Express or Oracle.


How do I ensure CADconform only auto-starts for certain projects or users?

This will depend on how CADconform was installed on the computer. There are two main methods for installation (see the Installation Overview); either standalone or networked. Depending on which method was used to install CADconform, the steps are slightly different. Either way, we are looking to remove the following lines from a configuration file:


The location of this configuration file depends on the installation type, as shown below.

Standalone Install or Client Installer run CADconform
A standalone install is typically where there is only one or two copies of CADconform, or the computer is a laptop. Alternatively, a Client Installer run CADconform is where CADconform was installed on that specific machine as a client in the installer options. In either scenario, we should have a local file in "/MicroStation/config/appl/CADconform.cfg". If in doubt as to how CADconform was installed, you should always look here first. This file needs to be edited as follows:

  1. Locate and select the lines shown above. These lines optionally load CADconform if the startup file is missing.
  2. Delete them out of the CADconform.cfg file
  3. Locate the relevant PCF file and open it in your text editor
Network CADconform Install
In a network install, we typically don't have any CADconform.cfg file in the local "appl" directory. Instead we have a file such as "Networked_Workspace_Settings_for_MicroStation_V8i.cfg" being included in the workspace on a network drive. Locate this file, or the file that contains the same contents, and edit it in the same way as we did for the Standalone Install above.

Note that once _USTN_FIRSTDGNFILE is defined at al level higher than "Application" (e.g. "Project" or "User"), the toggle will become disabled in the CADconform menu, meaning the user cannot change it.

Other options for configuring Auto-Start are explained below:

Scenario #1 - the Auto-Start menu is shown but disabled, CADconform is pre-set to load or not by the workspace

  1. Delete the condition clause in the appl config file, so that "CADCONFORM_STARTUP_FILE" is defined, but not the _USTN_FIRSTDGNFILE.
  2. Edit the PCF file, adding "_USTN_FIRSTDGNFILE > CADCONFORM" for workspaces where you want CADconform.
  3. To disable the Auto-Start toggle OFF in workspaces where CADconform was loaded manually, add the line: "%lock _USTN_FIRSTDGNFILE". In workspaces where it was loaded automatically, it will already be disabled ON.

Scenario #2 - the Auto-Start menu is not available, CADconform is pre-set to load or not by the workspace

This is similar to the scenario above, except it also requires editing of the menu file. The lock command is unnecessary (step #3 above) since the toggle is not displayed.

  1. Edit the menu file, removing the "Auto-Start" menu entry.
  2. Delete the condition clause in the appl config file, so that "CADCONFORM_STARTUP_FILE" is defined, but not the _USTN_FIRSTDGNFILE.
  3. Edit the PCF file, adding "_USTN_FIRSTDGNFILE > CADCONFORM" for workspaces where you want CADconform.

Why do I get a warning about watermark invalidation when I detach a reference file, but not when I delete a model?

A watermark represents certification for the model that contains it, and optionally any models referenced by that model. It guarantees the integrity of the model the way it looks at time of watermarking. A design file may contain multiple models, and these may be totally independent of each other. Therefore you can watermark one design file containing multiple models individually, each with their own reference files. Thus the watermark can be seen as a model-level certification, not a file-level certification. So deleting a model will only invalidate the watermark in that model if the model that was deleted was referenced by that model. Otherwise it is a change that does not influence the model that was watermarked.

Why doesn't Auto-login work for the administrator account?

There are two possible causes of this problem. Firstly, in order for CADconform to login automatically at startup, the "Allow Remembered Passwords" privilege in the User Manager options must be enabled. This option is OFF by default for administrators for default security reasons, so it has to be manually enabled. Secondly, if the current workspace defines a default user group, this group name will be set by default at startup and will override the last login used. The group login is often used as a way to bypass the login screen for non-administrators, but it can make switching between different logins less efficient. The easiest way to disable it is to remove the group name from the user workspace (the UCF configuration file), assuming the workspace user is unique to the administrator. If the UCF file is shared amongst other users who are not administrators, then this variable will need to put in a different workspace configuration file that is unique to the administrator. The variable to set is:


This will disable the active user group for the chosen workspace. Care must be taken that this affects only the administrator machine and not all users in a shared network, as otherwise it will disable the user group functionality for everyone.


Why do I get a "Checking Integrity of Model..." message when I open a certified model? What exactly is it checking for?

At this point, CADconform is checking every element in the file (and all attached reference files) to see if anything has changed since it was certified. If anything has changed, then CADconform puts a single slash over the existing certification watermark. This means that as long as CADconform is loaded, watermarks will always display their current validity. Referenced models may also be checked, so if a change is made in a reference file then the watermark in the master model will also invalidate to show that a change has been made.


Copyright 2001-2012 Altiva Software, Inc. Last modified by Piers Porter.