Configuring AECOsim Building Designer #4 – Redirecting to the Network

Updated 11 August 2014.

There are a number of ways to redirect AECOsim (and MicroStation) to the network.

The most common is to modify the mslocal.cfg file found in C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\config\.

The disadvantage of this is when troubleshooting to check the mslocal.cfg version is correct you have inspect the file attributes or open it to confirm the contents are correct.

Another is to modify the AECOsim shortcuts. This is slightly fiddly to do and relies upon everyone using the correct shortcut. For instance, double-clicking to open a file bypasses the modified shortcut.

My previously preferred alternative was to put a custom config file in C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\config\appl\.

However there are two issues with this. The first is the long standing Bentley recommendation to always place customisations in the workspace folder and not to modify any of the delivered files. The second is that modifying or adding files within C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\ can require administrative permissions that may not be available to CAD administrators.

The problem is how to ensure the site standards are read.

The solution was quite simple. Just adding these lines to the startup config:


# Process config files in network _USTN_SITE folder


%if exists ($(_USTN_SITE)*.cfg)

%include $(_USTN_SITE)*.cfg


ensures that any cfg files in the site Standards folder (as introduced in Configuring AECOsim Building Designer #7 – Sharing Standards) are read.

To set this up go to C:\ProgramData\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss5\WorkSpace\Standards (or the equivalent location for other versions).

Right-click in this folder, pick new > Text Document, name it ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg, replace CompanyConfig with your preferred name if you wish.

(Note at this point if your Windows settings do not display the file extensions you may end up with a file named ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg.txt, read my earlier post: Windows - Make sure File Extensions Are Visible!)

The ZZ_ prefix ensures the file is read after all of the cfg files in C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\....\config\ and C:\ProgramData\Bentley\....\WorkSpace\Standards so any variable values set by ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg are not overwritten.

This file can contain the variable statements required to redirect ABD to site level network locations, for instance the network location of Project Configuration Files and the lines listed above.

A complete example is available in AECOsim Building Designer - QuickConfig Standard.

This method makes it easy to check during troubleshooting that the correctly dated ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg file is in place in the application’s C:\ProgramData\Bentley\....\WorkSpace\Standards folder.

Distributing ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg

A simple batch file can be run manually or by Windows Group Policies at login to copy ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg from an installation folder on the network to each machine. Here is an example:

IF EXIST "%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i SS5\" xcopy "E:\Bentley\Installation\ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg" "%ProgramData%\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss5\WorkSpace\Standards\" /R /H /C /Y

(Note this command is all on is one line)

If this batch file is run by Windows Group Policies at login you know that every machine will always be up to date. Any changes to ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg will be applied automatically.

An example of this is also included in AECOsim Building Designer - QuickConfig Standard.

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