In these challenging times when COVID-19 is imposing significant disruptions to day-to-day activities and affecting normal business flow of our much-valued users and employees, we at Bentley are mindfully committed to ensuring smooth transition of work from office to remote location or home. Our innovative software and services are all geared for working from home or remote locations and do not impose the need to be in an office set-up.
We Have Your Back!
To ensure smooth transition of work and effectiveness of your daily workflows with Bentley software, we have assembled information that you can refer to while working remotely or from home. We are working hard to deliver high levels of customer service, and welcome feedback, questions, and ideas on how we can serve you better in a remote work environment.
Ways to use Bentley software from home include:
When deciding which method to adopt the aspects to consider will depend on the type of work you carry out and the level off access that you need to your normal workplace systems. Where ProjectWise is already in use the transition should be relatively straightforward.
Maximum fidelity with your workplace systems can generally be archived most easily at short notice by using remote access tools. These simply connect you virtually to your workplace workstation or to server hosted virtual machines.
There may be some latency in operation depending on the remote access solution adopted. Taking a laptop or workstation home will give you the speed and performance to which you are accustomed but may not have all the connectivity to workplace systems and resources that the applications need.
Installing applications on a home PC may be essential if it is not possible to use remote access software or to bring hardware home from the workplace. This may also not have all of the connectivity to workplace systems and resources that the applications need.
If you already have a laptop with Bentley applications, your primary concern may be accessing project data and resources from the workplace. It may be as simple as accessing the same cloud storage that you use in the workplace or may require new systems to be established. Project data could be taken home on removeable media the shared with colleagues via cloud services, such as OneDrive, DropBox or ProjectWise Share. Care will need to be taken over version control and to avoid duplication in these scenarios.
Internet access is obviously required to utilize remote access solutions, and is also required for downloading, installing, and licensing Bentley software (unless the machine concerned has a checked-out license). As the MicroStation installer is almost 8 GB, installation may take a significant time over low bandwidth connections. Ensure the connection used has sufficient data allowance if it is not an unlimited data package. Once connected additional steps will be required to access workplace systems and data, some of these are discussed below.
Many CONNECT Edition products are installed from a small installer file that pulls the rest of the installation files from our servers. If you encounter problems with installing directly from our software downloads, please refer to the Downloading Software section below for links to full software downloads or guidance on the use of Deployment Images created in the workplace to take home.
The following features of MicroStation may not work properly in the absence of internet connectivity.
Slow file open performance over Wi-Fi
When running MicroStation some times it can take a long time to load a file (and then locking up once commands are run). This can occur primarily when connected to Wi-Fi even though the Wi-Fi download speeds can be very good. Bentley does not support working over a Wi-Fi. You need to have a good internet connection. MicroStation also needs to be installed on the local C:\drive of the system. We suggest downloading the dgn files to your system, then working on them locally not over the Wi-Fi.
Connecting to Your Organization’s Network via VPN
Virtual Private Network enables organizations to provide secure connection to their network over the internet so their employees can connect remotely or from public places. Please contact your IT support for guidance on VPN software that is already in use or may be appropriate for your organization. If you have a work laptop your organization may have already be installed a VPN solution.
Gray screen appears and program not responding when opening a file
From time to time you might experience latency or slowness when working remotely from home through a VPN (Virtual Private Network), some have even seen when freezes or they might get a gray screen. Latency issues can be caused by your router, internet service provider and the number of subscribers online at the same time. If you can run an ethernet cable directly to your router to your computer. Also move files to be open local on hard drive rather than attempting to open across VPN.
Internet Proxy Settings
A proxy server (also known as “a proxy” in IT circles) is an intermediary between an end user/computer and the internet. A proxy server acts just like a traffic conductor. Depending on where the proxy server lies in your network (more on this later), it will inspect and route internet traffic to/from the user and the requested web address. There are many explanations regarding it, here is one: https://umbrella.cisco.com/blog/what-is-a-proxy-server
Most home Wi-Fi or network connections do not require use of a proxy server, but if you need to connect via a proxy server MicroStation will try to obtain your Internet Proxy Settings from Internet Explorer browser. If the settings are not found automatically, you can fill the details manually as described in the link below. See “What if my organization has a proxy server?”https://communities.bentley.com/communities/other_communities/sign-in_assistance_and_web_services/w/wiki/36380/faq
Remote Access and Virtualization
This video shows guidelines on how to use Virtual Machines and Remote Desktops effectively while working from home with Bentley Software.
Remote Desktop Connection
If you work on a heavy-duty desktop machine that is difficult to carry or if your organization does not allow employees to move computers out of the office premises, Remote Desktop Connection offers a great way to log into that machine from your personal computer. You will require your computer name or IP address.
Other Remote Access Solutions
Various other remote access solutions are available, some free, mostly designed for general purpose remote control. One CAD specific solution is available free to users of HP workstations. HP Remote Graphics Software (RGS) is free to use on HP hardware, purchasable for use on non-HP machines. Their RGS receiver can be installed free on a home PC, connecting to the RGS sender installed on the HP workstation in the office.
HP Z Central Remote Boost with MicroStation & LumentRT
HP Z Central Remote Boost allows those with a HP Z Workstation to have a performance boost in order to tackle their most graphic-intensive projects from anywhere. For information please refer to the following link for Achieving High Speed Remote Desktop experience for HP Z Class Computers:
TeamViewer Remote Desktop
TeamViewer’s remote desktop software brings your office into your home with the highest levels of security and speed, while offering many other convenient features. For more information click here.
Virtualization and Virtual Machines
Important notice about use of Bentley applications in virtual environments - click here
Virtualization enables organizations to create virtual machines from a single physical machine and administer them to their employees on demand. MicroStation is certified on Citrix XenDesktop. Follow the steps below to set it up. Bentley is exploring other virtualization providers like VMWare Horizon and Azure Virtual Desktop. If your organization uses any of these, please reach out to us with your questions, and we’ll try our best to assist.
Virtualization with Citrix
More information on using Citrix XenDesktop can be found here.
Other virtualization options include:
Using MicroStation in Azure Virtual Desktop
Creating a Virtual Machine in the VMWare Client
Creating Virtual Machines with Hyper-V
Virtual machines are a great way to manage operating systems and work remotely with a running Remote Desktop Connection, login credentials and a valid IP address. Installing virtualization software allows one or more virtual machines to share one physical computer. Your IT administrator can create VMs with a readymade image of Windows operating system that includes MicroStation and any other software needed. When such a VM is provisioned to you, you can directly launch MicroStation and start working on your project.
You can create a new VM and install its operating system by following these simple steps located here.
You can export and import existing VMs in Windows Hyper-V Server by following these steps located here.
How do you create a Windows 10 image with MicroStation preinstalled?
Downloading, Installing and Licensing
You may decide to install the software on your home computer, whether temporarily, during the current situation, or for the longer term. Once normal working patterns are resumed, managers may prefer applications installed on home machines to be removed. If you do install applications, once signed in via the CONNECTION Client using your normal work email login, you will have the same licenses available as you do in the office. While your organization is working from home, license consumption should be similar to normal circumstances.
Note, there are scenarios where it would be possible to over-use licenses. If an application such as MicroStation is installed on a home PC, and remote access to an office PC is available, it is possible to sign into both machines simultaneously with the same user name and open MicroStation on both machines. This would consume two licenses.
Intel® or AMD® processor 1.0 GHz or greater. MicroStation is not supported on a CPU that does not support SSE2.
4 GB minimum, 16 GB recommended. More memory almost always improves performance, particularly when working with larger models.
25 GB minimum, 25-40 GB depending on additional installations such as Companion Features and Companion Products.
See the graphics card manufacturer for latest information on DirectX drivers. 512 MB of video RAM or higher is recommended. If insufficient video RAM or no graphics card supported by DirectX can be found, MicroStation attempts to use software emulation. For optimal performance, graphics display color depth should be set to 24-bit or higher. When using a color depth setting of 16-bit, some inconsistencies will be noted. For more information on recommended workstation profiles for MicroStation, see MicroStation System Requirements and Hardware Recommendations.
1024 x 768 or higher
A note on working with a different display (Monitor): when working from home, you may need to use a different, likely smaller screen. See the following tips further below:
Software can be downloaded directly from our Software Downloads site. To do this you may need the software download role to be added to your CONNECTED Profile. Your organization will have people assigned as administrators who can modify your role. Bentley support cannot modify these roles.
Portable Deployment Images
We recommend that CAD/BIM administrators create Deployment Images to use as the source for multiple installations in normal circumstances. In this situation either an existing or a new deployment image can be copied to removable media and taken home to use as the installation source where internet availability/speed is limited (note: Internet access is still essential to sign-in to licensing services). The steps to create a Deployment Image for MicroStation CONNECT Edition are explained here: MicroStation CONNECT - How to create a Deployment Image.
Creating a Deployment Image for other products is very similar.
Download links for full installers (a.k.a. Deployment Images)
If you are having difficulty downloading software from Software Downloads site, full installers of the latest version can be provided by your site administrators. If Site Administrators need to get links to the installers please log a service request in order to request the links from Support. The following versions can made available upon request by site administrators.
How do I find out who my site Administrator(s) are?
Your organization can have one or more Administrators who can assist with Bentley license management, downloads, assigning permission, etc. A list of your Administrators can be seen by going to https://connect.bentley.com . Below the Welcome Banner, click on the 'How are you CONNECTED?' link; in the “Administrators” tab you will find a list of your site Administrators names and email addresses.
Accessing MicroStation Licenses From Home
When you sign in as a CONNECTED User you receive the same license entitlements regardless of the location. No further action should be required.
Resolving Licensing Issues
Sharing Configurations and Project Data
When you’re working remotely, you are still part of a team and therefore sharing of project data is crucial. This is where the Configuration system shines. No matter where you are, you can be sure to be using the correct CAD standard with server-based Configurations. If your system has already been configured to use server-based resources virtualization and remote desktop access results in a similar experience to working in the office, there may be some graphic latency, but the system will be identical.
Attempting to connect to a configuration on office-based shares via VPN may be possible, depending on your IT systems, but is likely to be subject to significant latency, especially with many more VPN users than usual. Working with a local copy of the network configuration may be more appropriate. Applications can be configured to automatically switch to a local configuration for home working. This type of solution is primarily aimed at short term scenarios. If longer term home working becomes a necessity, a remote access or document management solution may be a more appropriate option to avoid problems with version control and duplication of documents.
If your system is not currently configured to share standards and data, planning for home working may be an opportunity. In review, one of the simplest and effective ways of sharing is by storing your standards and project data in a common network location defined by a custom configuration and pointing every user's configuration to that configuration. CONNECT Edition is easier to reconfigure to use a custom configuration on the network than previous versions. We are working on new guidance for configuration solutions suited to home working. Some guidance on Custom Configuration can be found in:
CONNECT Edition - Custom Configuration Guides
The topic is discussed extensively in our wikis and forums.
Collaborating on Projects with ProjectWise
The beauty of working with ProjectWise is that work sharing is built-in and the concept of being tied to a location is foreign. In a Client-Server architecture the client can be anywhere. By storing standards and work files on a server you can ensure proper access for anyone. By establishing a digital environment for all project information, you can give access to people regardless of location and device type. However, ensuring the correct access is the key to success. So, setting up ProjectWise Explorer locally is key.
Storing Your Project data on ProjectWise Share or OneDrive
Access Product Documentation
How to Get Help?
Useful Articles About Working Remotely
Getting Started With Bentley Applications:
You might find the following courses from the Bentley Institute helpful:
Tips and Troubleshooting
When working remote, set your default printer to PDF to avoid sending prints via a VPN to an unattended printer in the workplace.
Working From Home might not have the luxury of multiple screens like you do at the office. Here's how to be efficient with one monitor
Question: When I open MicroStation Connect, why does it throw me out with the following message: “MicroStation has Stopped Working”?
Answer: Backup the following UPF file (Zip it) and delete it from the location.
C:\Users\[login name(first name.last name)\AppData\Local\Bentley\MicroStation\10.0.0\prefs\Personal.upf
See also: How to Back Up and Restore User Preferences
Question: When attempting to open MicroStation at home it will not open and you receive message that ucf file cannot be found. How can I find a UCF file on a network workspace when working at home?
Answer: Restart with MicroStation workspace pointing to local "Organization" folder.
Copy appropriate network files on flash drive or other medial i.e. standards and symbols folders on a flash drive from the network workspace. Next copy files from flash drive to the appropriate folders under C:\ProgramData\Bentley\MicroStation CONNECT Edition\Configuration\Organization\
Restart MicroStation will workspace pointing to local “Organization” folder.
Question: How can we open a file while avoiding having to locate references via a slower VPN?
Answer: Use the “-O” command switch which allows MicroStation to open master file without attached references. This helps when there is a large number of reference might have to be located from a network location.see also: Open master file without references and MicroStation Command Line Options And Switches
Question: Why does MicroStation not open any file and will crash with exception error?
Answer: Try setting this variable: QV_DISABLE_HARDWARE = 1Disable hardware and use software graphics. Create the following System environment variable and try to reproduce the problem.
Question: Some have had some issues where elements do not display correctly when opening files in MicroStation, i.e. the display of 3D cylinders. These cylinders display with only the center line shown on both the laptop screen separate monitor. How can this addressed?
Answer: Disable Direct X 11. Create configuration variable QV_DISABLE_D3D11 and set the value to 1 or create a system environment variable.
QV_DISABLE_D3D11 = 1
Question: Elements such as text or tools can appear smaller on high resolution monitors such as 4K monitors. What can be done to improve the display?
Answer: In Windows display settings box change scale and layout for text and apps to something between 150% and 175%.
Next right-click on the MicroStation icon and in the MicroStation properties dialog go to the “Compatibility” tab and select “change high dpi settings” and then select “override high dpi scaling behavior. Scaling performed by: System” You should be able to get text and icons to be coordinated and a reasonable size.”
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