Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Autodesk Warning! Do not uninstall your older Mechanical Desktop!

Autodesk warns that if you need to open Mechanical Desktop files in 2010, then do not uninstall the older version (2009 or prior).

From the Autodesk webpage:
Autodesk Mechanical Desktop 2009
Autodesk Mechanical Desktop has been discontinued and starting with the 2010 release is no longer included with any Autodesk Inventor product.

To open Mechanical Desktop files in Inventor 2010 make sure to leave the MDT 2009 installation on your computer.

If you are a previously licensed user of Mechanical Desktop software and have uninstalled Mechanical Desktop 2009 or are installing Inventor 2010 on a new computer then you will need to download new installation files that are compatible with Inventor 2010.

The new installer for AutoCAD Mechanical Desktop 2009 is provided by a self-contained installation file that you can download here. Or, previously licensed users can also request DVD media at no additional charge*.

*Free products are subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that accompanies download of the software.

If you need to re-install MDT again, then you can download it from here:
Ensure you keep your MDT 2009 serial number too.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So, what version of Flex are you running?

Anytime I receive a network licensing call this is one of the first questions I ask. It is so important because it is backwards compatible not forward compatible. So, a newer license manager can grant licenses for older license files but older license managers will not correctly grant licenses for newer license files. I have seen many times where it will grant a license, but there will be problems sometime in the future. Just try borrowing and returning a license and you'll probably find out quickly what I mean.

So, how do you find out what version you're running, that's easy.
  1. Launch LMTools
  2. Select About under the Help dropdown menu.
  3. Note the version indicated.
Ok so now what?

Compare your version to this table (click the table for a larger view).

NOTE: I do not recommend you use special characters in your folder names. Characters such as (but not limited to) &, # and $ have been known to cause the error -16,258 when trying to start the service.

Also keep the path short, a path length over 109 characters may cause the same error. See for details.

We can help if you need assistance! Call the National Support Center at 800-808-7645.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where can I go to get information about...

There are so many different sources of information out there and it makes it difficult to determine which website to access or where to call for a particular need.

Here's a quick cheat-sheet I use to help you get the information you need.

Autodesk Activations:
To help you activate your standalone license, or to get a network license file, call Autodesk at 800-551-1490 or create an account and login to:

Autodesk Service Packs/Updates and Hotfixes:
Is your Autodesk program on the latest version or do you need to install updates/service packs or hotfixes? When you click the link you'll need to select your product from the "Select a Product" dropdown list on the left under "Knowledge Base..."

Autodesk Business Center (ABC):
To help you understand what your serial number is (standalone/network/multi-seat standalone), how many seats you have or other general questions about your software.

Autodesk Certified graphics cards/drivers:
Is your graphics card certified by Autodesk? is the driver version supported and recommended?



Autodesk Search for Technical Solutions (TS):
The best way to search for the answers to your issues is to use the generic search tool and uncheck the option for "Products, Solutions, Services and Company Information" then key in your few key words and click search:

Avatech Webex:
At times we may need to see your system to tweak it, do a file transfer, or otherwise share desktops for training, etc. We use Webex for our desktop sharing and training.

Autodesk Subscription:
If you have not purchased phone support through Avatech but you are on subscription with Autodesk, then you can submit your issues using the Web Based support method. You can also download some "Subscription Packs" that are add-on/add-in utilities from the website or download the latest version of the programs.

Avatech Client Portal:
Designed as a destination exclusively for Avatech’s Autodesk Subscription or Support clients, the Client Portal provides instant access to information, software, and services of special interest to Avatech clients.

The Portal currently enables Subscription clients to download and get authorization codes for various software packages that dramatically streamline workflow by automating tedious and repetitive tasks. Support clients have access to submit and manage technical issues.

Plans for expansion of the portal include more free software downloads, on-demand learning, product tips, links, special offers and promotions, communities, and more.

Windows Installer CleanUp Utility:
This is very useful when you are unable to reinstall, install or uninstall your Windows program. Select the link to get to the Microsoft Knowledge Base article and download the utility.

Avatech Support Blog:
If you are reading this, you don't need the support blog link, but I refer people here every week, you can too with this link.

That is the list "I" use, however you have another option, you can call us.

Phone support:
Avatech Solutions National Support Center offers phone support and you can access information about that from your account manager or check out our website at:

then click the "variety of support plans" link for more information on the plans we have for you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are you unable to activate your Avatech Utilities for Revit?

These tools are great (if you can get them installed and activated). But we're receiving a lot of calls and emails on activation issues. So, I thought I'd help you all out here.

If you're on Autodesk Subscription through Avatech, then you activate through the Avatech Client Portal.

How to activate if you have not activated it yet:
  1. Login to the Avatech Client Portal at
  2. Select the Software downloads link
  3. Click Generate AuthCodes
  4. Select your software in the dropdown, then click the "Generate AuthCode" button.
    NOTE: Only click the Generate button 1 time or you could end up with fewer licenses.

Image 1

  1. The web page should show you a code, select and copy it.
  2. Bring up Revit and click on a utility button on the "add-ins" tab.
  3. Paste the AuthCode into the Activate dialog (see image 2).

Image 2.

If you have tried the above and it still will not activate, do not try it again. This happens often with 64-bit systems. Check your email, you should have received an email from us. It may be in your spam or junk mail folder.

Another method is to activate manually using the email you've received:
  1. Open the email you've received
  2. Open notepad
  3. Copy and paste the license information into the new notepad file (Image 3).

Image 3

Format it if needed...

Image 4

Image 5

Save the license file to your desktop and call it "Avatech.lic". Note: In notepad ensure you change the files of type to show "all files" instead of "*.txt" or it will append the .txt and call it Avatech.lic.txt and will not be recognized as a valid license file.

Copy the Avatech.lic file to your Avatech Utilities folder.
On a 32-bit system it should be in:
C:\Program Files\Avatech Solutions\Avatech Utilities 2010

On a 64-bit system it should be in:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Avatech Solutions\Avatech Utilities 2010

Once it is located there, run Revit and try the tool.

If you've purchased the the Utilities from our website, then you should have received an email and can use that second method to activate it. Remember, check your spam or junk mail folder if its not in your inbox.

If you're having problems with this process, we can help. Call the National Support Center at 800-808-7645.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Should I upgrade my Autodesk software?

Should I install this upgrade software from Autodesk?

That is a great question! From a technical perspective, you'll want to consider if your machine will run the new software effectively.

Here are some important factors to consider before installing newer software:
  • Look at the system requirement for the "upgrade" software that you want to install, then double it (my rule of thumb). Can your machine handle those specs?
  • If so, then is your graphics card an Autodesk approved and certified card? See the links below to verify you have an Autodesk recommended/supported and hopefully certified card.
  • Do you have enough hard disk space?

Autodesk Graphic card list:
AutoCAD based programs:

Inventor Graphics card list:

If you answered no or you don't have a certified graphics card for the program you want to install, then you may want to upgrade those parts first.

If you need to get a new system, I'd recommend a 64-bit machine for any 2010 or higher programs from Autodesk.

The best option for you is to contact your Avatech representative to get a solutions consultant involved to listen to your goals for the upgrade. With you, they'll help formulate a plan that works best for you now and your future needs.