Applies To 
  Product(s): RAM Structural System
  Version(s): 10.0 and later
  Environment:  N/A
  Area:  N/A
  Subarea:  N/A
  Original Author: Bentley Technical Support Group









What is the Working directory?

A RAM Structural System model file (e.g. filename.rss) is literally a WinZip file and within any .rss file you should find many component files of the same name with a wide range of extensions including (but not limited to) .b3d, .ram and .uid. These files are extracted from the model file and put into the working directory when opened in RAM Manager (in older versions of the program all of these files were simply saved together in the model directory).

For this reason the working directory should always be on the local drive and in a place in which the “user” has administrative rights. It’s also important for the user to have the rights to add, modify and delete files in the model directory.

Note: the working directory is set the first time the program is run, to confirm or edit the working directory location go to C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System and double click the Ramis.ini file (c:\windows\ramis.ini prior to version 14). This should bring up the Ramis.ini file in Notepad (or other text editor). Look for the line that begins

working=path to working directory.


You can edit this path to the working directory here. Spaces are allowed as are references to mapped drives, but for the reasons mentioned above, a local drive should be used.

Also in the [Directories} section you will find the paths for other installation directories like the Tables folder where the program looks for all the tables and the default reports directory for saved reports.

For more information on the contents of the Ramis.ini file, refer to the RAM Defaults Guide [TN]

Are RAM Structural System models backwards compatible?

Regretfully Ram SS models are not backward compatible. Typically with each major release there are changes in the model data base format. Once models are converted to the new version they can no longer be used in prior versions.

When a model is converted a backup of the original file is automatically created in case there is any need to revert to the prior version.

Note, though version 14.06.01 is generally considered a minor release, file conversion from version 14.06.00 is required. See the 14.06.01 Release Notes for details.

When I open a model I get a warning, “This file appears to be currently opened by: User Name…”.


If the listed user really is in the file, they need to exit the program normally to release the model so that you can open it (RAM SS models do not allow for concurrent use).

If that user is not currently in the file or unavailable, you should navigate to the directory where the model is saved and look for a file of the same name with the file extension “.usr”. This is a lock file that was created when the user last accessed the model. The .usr file is normally deleted when the model is closed, but if the program terminated irregularly, the file might persist. Simply delete the .usr file and the .rss file can then be opened.

When I open a model I get a warning, “A temporary backup file has been found for this database (path to file), which indicates that the program abnormally terminated…”. 


If you select the “Most Recent Database” you are telling the program to reload the files from the working directory which should be the same as they were just before the crash. In such cases, we suggest that you immediately use the file – save-as feature to turn this into a new model file.

Clicking “Backup Database” deletes the working files and restores the files from the saved model whenever it was last saved. “Cancel” leaves everything alone. If your not sure when the last save occurred, click cancel and then check the modified date of the model file through an explorer window before returning to pick either option.

Starting with version 14.06 an additional backup file is created for models that crash and are then re-opened. A copy of the rss file with the extension .ssr is created if you reopen a model that is already expanded to the working directory indicating a previous crash or incomplete closure. Like the .backup file, the .ssr file can be renamed with a .rss extension to restore that version of the file.

When I open a model I get a warning, “Could not delete RAM model: filename. Working files in directory \path to working directory\, please use the explorer to delete these files.”

There are two situations where this message might appear. The first is a restriction to the working directory or the model directory. The user needs to have the rights to add, modify and delete files from both locations (preferably administrative rights). See above for more on the working directory.

The second problem is a corrupt or partial model file. If the model file is missing any of the critical component files it will not open correctly and the same message will appear. To investigate, rename the model file, changing the extension form .rss to .zip and double-click it to see what inside. You should see a series of files all with the same name but with a wide range of extensions including (but not limited to) .b3d, .ram and .uid. When a model file does not contain a complete set of component files it is unusable. It is a mystery what causes a file to become this way, but it seems that something must have interrupted the save process. A virus scanner may also be responsible.

At this point the backup file should be used, see below.

When attempting to load a module, I receive a message that a file with a db.sdf extension already exists.

The error may be caused by an installation issue with a database component included with RAM Structural System. Removing and reinstalling the component may resolve the issue. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Control Panel from the Windows Start menu (Windows XP/Vista/7) or Windows Start screen (Windows 8).
  2. Open Add or Remove Programs (Windows XP) or Programs and Features (Windows Vista/7/8).
  3. If running RAM Structural System 14.06.00 or earlier, remove Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition. If running RAM Structural System 14.06.01 or later, remove either Microsoft SQL Server Compact 4.0 or Microsoft SQL Server Compact 4.0 (x64).
  4. Locate and open the RAM Structural System installer (e.g. ramm14060100en.exe or ram6414060100en.exe), often stored in the Downloads folder.
  5. Click the Install button next to Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition, and proceed through the installation to restore the component.

Something is wrong with my model file, is there an automatic backup?

Yes, in the directory where the model file is saved, there should be another file of the same name with the extension, “.backup”. Rename this file something.rss (you won’t be able to use the same name of the original model file unless you move or rename it first). The backup file should be a complete version of the model from the previous time it was saved. If your not sure when that was, simply check the modified date.

Note: when backing up your own files, it is only the .rss model file that you need to save. When restoring backup files or old files from a backup CD or tape, make sure the files are not read-only. If you attempt to open a RAM model that is read-only, you will get another warning, “Failed CopyRssFileToWorkingDir:…”, “Failed DeleteRssInWorkingDir:…”, or “File error 2,6”.

How can I reduce the size of my files?

A RAM Structural System model (file.rss) is already a compressed zip file, but the size of that file can become quite large, especially when the analysis and design results are saved with the file. In RAM Manager under the File menu is an option to ZIP the model. When zipping models using that command you will have the opportunity to purge the model of some unnecessary results (which can be regenerated later just by running the file again). The optional results are:

  • Include the RAM Frame Wall Forces results
  • Include other RAM Frame Analysis results
  • Include RAM Concrete Analysis results
  • Include the RAM Concrete Column Interaction Surfaces
  • Include the RAM Concrete Shear Wall results.


See Also

RAM Defaults Guide [TN]

RAM Table Editing [FAQ]

Product TechNotes and FAQs

Structural Product TechNotes And FAQs

External Links

Bentley Technical Support KnowledgeBase

Bentley LEARN Server

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