Troubleshooting User Preferences Issues

 Version:V8, XM, V8i, CONNECT
 Subarea:User Preferences

Some tips for troubleshooting User Preferences issues


MicroStation stores users settings by using both variables, which are defined and stored in configuration files, and "user preferences", stored in the "User Preference File" (.upf file).

For each individual (MicroStation) User MicroStation generates a "User Configuration File" (or UCF file), which contains the user's specific variables, and a matching "User Preference File", which stores user specific application settings, such as those accessible via the "Workspace->Preferences" dialog).

One of the most common ways of defining user specific variable is by using the "Workspace - Configuration". This will create the variables in the UCF file for the active user only.

Troubleshooting Tips

In some cases a user may experience issue with MicroStation not keeping the last saved / used preferences, showing a corrupt application layout, tool dialogs outside of the visible area of the screen, etc.

These behaviours may by caused by issue with MicroStation's handling of user preferences.

Here below are some of the most common issues and tips for troubleshooting and resolve them.

MicroStation will not keep the last saved User Preferences (i.e. Tools layout or other preferences).

1. MicroStation may not have been installed with the required Administrator privileges and/or user may not have full access to the User Preferences and Temp folder.

Please look at the this article for specific tips for this case: Troubleshooting Installation and Activation Issues in High Security Environments

2. Some variables force MicroStation to generate a new User Preference File at every startup.

From the "Workspace->Configuration" dialog, define the variable "MS_ALWAYS_CREATE_UPF" as "1". 

When the variable MS_ALWAYS_CREATE_UPF = 1 is defined, MicroStation will create a new UPF file every time it is started up, thus deleting the previously saved settings.

If this variable is defined together with the MS_USERPREFSEED, then the UPF file defined in it will be used as a seed every time MicroStation is started up.

3. Issues with user interface and preferences started occurring immediately or shortly after an update.

MicroStation does not support using UPF files from older version. Although this may not immediately cause problems or show misbehaviour, using older versions' UPFs in new version will cause problems and lead to potential data loss.

When a version of MicroStation is upgraded, the User Preferences must be setup from scratch using the delivered UPF file, such as "untitled.upf" as a starting point,  or by creating a brand new  User in MicroStation Manager.


It is possible to incur in these kind of issues when an upgrade did not complete successfully or an upgrade/installation was not carried out with the required administrator privileges.

It is therefore recommended to:

  1. Always delete the old MicroStation "User Preferences" and "Temp" folders before attempting a product upgrade. See How To Reset User Preferences and Delete MicroStation‘s Temporary Files for help on how to find your user preference and temp folder (in this case apply "delete" instead of "move" or "copy").

  2. Always install / upgrade MicroStation starting the setup process with "Administrator" privileges. Look at this articles for help on this topic: How To Install MicroStation As Administrator

See Also

How To Reset User Preferences and Delete MicroStation‘s Temporary Files

Troubleshooting Installation and Activation Issues in High Security Environments

How To Install MicroStation As Administrator

How to Start MicroStation "As Administrator"

The User Preference File [UPF]

Other language sources



 Original Author:Marco Salino