Configuration Tips - Manage Configuration Utility

From MicroStation Update 17 we include the new Manage Configuration utility. Further updates to the utility were made from Update 17.2, see below. This enables MicroStation to switch between multiple configurations allowing further control and separation of standards for organizations working with serial clients or on major projects that require specific CAD/BIM standards.

This is equally beneficial for smaller organizations as this feature can support accessing, with minimal technical input, an entirely self-contained configuration supplied by a third-party.

For administrators, even when they are only managing a single configuration, it enables them to easily switch between production and development configurations.

Where a Custom Configuration is already used by Update 16, during an upgrade to Update 17 MicroStation picks up the path to this configuration from ConfigurationSetup.cfg and will list it with the Example configuration in the new Configuration panel:

If you install Update 17 and do not see your previous configuration, either nothing:

or only the Example configuration:

this will be because the previous ConfigurationSetup.cfg was not found. This can happen if a previous version is uninstalled and all remaining folders and files are deleted, whether manually or by an IT system process.

In this case simply launch Manage Configuration and click Add following the steps in this video (once the new configuration is created in the first few seconds the video goes on to show switching between configurations):

The required inputs, shown in this video, are a name and description that will appear in the UI, the choice of Custom Configuration location, the path to the Custom Configuration. This path is to the Custom Configuration root folder that contains WorkSpaceSetup.cfg. Ensure 'Visible' is ticked, if it is not the configuration will not be listed in the UI.

Clicking the Workspace Setup toggle displays the active configuration variables in the existing WorkSpaceSetup.cfg. These do not need to be changed to use an existing Custom Configuration.

Documentation is here for Update 17: Creating and Managing Configurations.

Where are the Manage Configuration settings stored?

Configurations are stored in C:\Users\...\AppData\Local\Bentley\MicroStation\10.0.0\prefs\configuration.xml.

This file can be copied to any users provided that the path(s) stored in the XML for each configuration is/are valid for each user.

From MicroStation 2023 a new variable MS_CONFIGURATIONXML_PATH can be used to point at a shared copy of configuration.xml, e.g.:


This should be located in configurationSetup.cfg.

Manage Configuration XML Syntax

Each configuration is contained in a <ConfigurationModel> tag pair. The values entered in the Manage Configuration utility are stored in a similar order to the dialog:

Configuration Name: <Title>SMB Config</Title>
Description: <Description>SMB Demo Config</Description>
Set by application: <ConfigurationVariable>_USTN_CONFIG_SMB_Config</ConfigurationVariable>
Type: <Type>Local</Type>
Visible: <IsActive>true</IsActive>
Configuration Folder: <Path>D:\_SMB\SMB_Resources\</Path>

Additional values set by the application are IsSelected, which identifies the user selected configuration and ConfigurationVariable, which is is an an identifier used by the application.

IsEditable is set by default to true for new configurations but set to false for the Example configuration to ensure new users have access to the examples for learning purposes.

The example configuration can be hidden by editing the XML, set the IsActive statement to false:


Hide Configuration Manager (from MicroStation 17.2 onwards)

From MicroStation 17.2 we added _USTN_RESTRICT_MANAGE_CONFIGURATION, setting this to '1' will hide the Manage Configuration option:

This could be used with only one configuration where appropriate so that only a single configuration was shown in the UI.

The next question is where to set _USTN_RESTRICT_MANAGE_CONFIGURATION?

One candidate is setting it as a Windows Environment Variable which has the advantage that it can be implemented by Windows policies:

Otherwise it would need to be added to "C:\ProgramData\Bentley\<applicationName>\Configuration\ConfigurationSetup.cfg" (but note that this file can be edited by the knowledgeable user).

From MicroStation 2023 this can be added alongside MS_CONFIGURATIONXML_PATH to redirect MicroStation to a shared configuration.xml and prevent editing of the configuration, e.g.:


Hide Configuration Manager (for MicroStation 17 and 17.1)

In MicroStation 17.1 we can use _USTN_USER_CONFIGURATION to hide the Configuration Manager and all configurations listed in configuration.xml. This was an interim step. 

When _USTN_USER_CONFIGURATION is directed to a configuration path that configuration is the only one that will be visible in the UI, similar to its previous behaviour. The 'User Configuration' label cannot be changed at present.

Parents Comment Children
    1. Currently hardcoded, we are looking at adding a variable to control it
    2. I have flagged the lack of documentation and will continue to update this blog post. 
  • Hi Marc - I think this xml should be centralised (centralis-able?) and be something that can be pointed to as part of the application installation/deployment. It certainly has the potential to clean up the redirection of a local PC installation to a server based config. The whole ConfigurationSetup.cfg / WorkSpaceSetup.cfg redirection is a bit messy.

  • But I just don't understand the logic behind this xml file. It breaks everything a CAD admin wishes for. We have data segregation at Organization / Workspace / Workset. We were told that's the CONNECT way. Now this xml adds another layer "CONFIGURATION?" into the mix.

    I understand the appeal for the ease of switching workspace/workset in situ, but if you have hundreds of CAD operators in the building, "ease of switching workspace/workset" is deffinitely not what a cad admin wants.

  • I agree this is yet another layer of choice that the user at the coal face has to decide on, and that is not ideal - especially when users generally don't/can't keep up to date on every new feature.

    However as a background admin tool I would love to see configuration more generally turned into an organised "database" structure that allows an admin to control configuration in one place rather than chasing several CFG files. It is undeniably tedious to track down what a variable is doing when having to hunt through several CFG files that usually follow their own internal order.

    If Bentley is listening -
    I can see a future Config Editor that is able to take several XML based config files and mash them together in one editor interface. Much like the way OpenBuildings Designer mashes together several XML files to form a dataset, and presenting a single structure to the admin.
    In this single editor interface it would be far easier to visualise and juggle what order/level(s)/values variables are organised in.
    The interface would then save out to the separate files for Organization / Workspace / Workset / etc to maintain that flexibility & power we have now with the mixing and matching of CFG files.

    XML is still human readable (like CFG), but can come with a schema that would help keep the structure true.
    Tags could include 
      - <Variable Name/>
      - <Variable Value>
      - <Variable Type/> (is the variable a path, path list, file name, filename list, boolean, text, integer, etc.)
      - <Processing Priority> (%level)
      - <Description/>

    However I admit I am not sure how logical conditions could be handled with this format (%if etc.) so perhaps this editor interface would only be able to evaluate things from the perspective a specific workset... much like the Configuration Explorer currently does.

  • Hi Marc

    As per the others feedback, this needs to be added to a configuration variable, so CAD Admin's can select the location.  Having this file located within the user C drive profile is a pain 


  • Could this feature be set as a Technology preview for the next builds while Bentley fine tunes the implementation of it?

  • What was updated for Manage Configuration Utility in MicroStation CONNECT - Update 17.1?

    I upgraded to Update 17.1, and cleaned out user preference files (prefs folder)

    Now user only has options to select example workspaces/worksets delivered with the product... and no "Manage Configurations"

    This does not allow users to access our workspaces/wporksets on the network....

    If I restore the user prefs (from previous version), "User Configuration" will show up and user can access our networked workspaces/worsets

    I guess I could go back and manually edit the configuration.xml file (local) - to get the "user" configuration back, but this seems counter intuitive...

  • Hi Marc,

    I can only support the request, that this should be configureable and centralised.
    Having this file in the localappdata is difficult to manage in a company.

    Is there a seed file for the xml-file:

    Where are the defaults stored?

    Regards Günter