AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1 -- Yay or Nay? (Bug Watch AutoCAD Tutorial)

31 Jan, 2008 By: Steve Johnson

Did Service Pack 1 introduce some problems? Here's how to fix them.

In "AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1 Arrives with a Pleasant Surprise," I praised Autodesk for making it easy to remove Service Pack 1 from AutoCAD. This month, I've got two reasons why you might want to do just that.

TIFF Attack? Go Back, Lack the Pack (2008 Service Pack 1 only)
Several people have reported that Service Pack 1 introduces various problems with drawings that reference TIFF image files. In some cases, images that were fine before Service Pack 1 was installed now display garbled in AutoCAD, as if someone has gone mad with a scalpel and rearranged parts of the images. In other cases, AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1 crashes with an unhandled exception error. This crash can be triggered when opening the drawing, when switching between model and paper space, or when performing a view operation that makes the image visible.

Workaround: The obvious workaround is to uninstall Service Pack 1 as described in November. That may not be the best solution for you, though. Service Pack 1 fixed other problems with TIFF files, particularly those involving the plotting of rotated images, so if you're a heavy TIFF user you might be stuck between a rock and a hard place. The other bug fixes provided by Service Pack 1 also may be important to you.

An alternative workaround is to resave the TIFF files. If you don't have a program for resaving, you could try Irfan View. Make a safe copy of your original images and then try to open and save them in a different format or use a different compression type or color depth. In addition to allowing AutoCAD 2008 Service Pack 1 to use your drawings, you may find that you get smaller file sizes and improved performance as a bonus.

Startup Slowdown? Pure Virtual Function Call? (2008 Service Pack 1 only)
Another reason some people have considered removing Service Pack 1 is that it has dramatically increased AutoCAD's startup time on a few systems.

Another problem new to 2008 Service Pack 1 is that if AutoCAD crashes for any reason, in addition to the usual messages you see, you will also get another two. The first complains about a C++ Runtime Error R6025 -- pure virtual function call -- and the second states that AutoCAD Communication Center has stopped working. These messages don't always appear immediately, and they can pop up some time after AutoCAD has apparently finished crashing. You may have even started another AutoCAD session by the time they arrive. This timing can be rather confusing, to say the least!

These two problems are seemingly unrelated, but both are caused by changes to the way AutoCAD InfoCenter works behind the scenes. This little-known component of AutoCAD sets up Communications Center and attempts to establish various links. If anything is getting in the way of this attempt at communication, you will have an AutoCAD copy that starts up very slowly. If AutoCAD crashes, it leaves this little component to fend for itself until it dies a sad, lonely death.

Workaround: Again, uninstalling Service Pack 1 is an obvious solution, but it may not be the best one. You may be able to fix the slowdown by picking the little satellite dish button and then Settings. Under General, set the check interval to Never. Then explore the other parts of the settings, turning all of the toggles off. Close and restart AutoCAD and see if the startup has improved. You could then try turning on the toggles one by one to see what is triggering the delay.

If that doesn't help and you're comfortable editing the Registry, you can disable InfoCenter altogether. Thanks to Owen Wengerd's Outside The Box blog for the details about how to disable InfoCenter.

Cursor Curse (AutoCAD 2007 to 2008)
Long before AutoCAD had any 3D capabilities, it had isometric mode. This mode is turned on by adjusting the Snap settings. It aligns the snap, grid, cursor, and ortho directions with an isometric triangle pattern, making it easy to draw purely 2D objects that look like they are 3D. Although this is now unfashionable, it's still a perfectly valid way of drawing, and it makes sense for some drawing types. AutoCAD still does almost all of its old isometric tricks just as it did more than 20 years ago.

Almost all but not quite. AutoCAD doesn't want to cooperate when it comes to displaying a set of isometric crosshairs that go from edge to edge of the screen. Normally this can be done using Tools > Options > Display and moving the crosshair slider to the right. Alternatively, the CursorSize system variable can be used. In isometric mode, setting the cursor to 100% gives an actual cursor size that is very much smaller, approximately 16%.

Workaround: You can set the size to 99% instead. This option is better, but it still only covers about 40% of the diagonal screen width when the cursor is placed in one corner. To get the full-screen cursor, you need to turn off the new 3D color cursor feature. In the Options dialog box, pick the 3D Modeling tab and turn off the Show z axis in crosshairs toggle.

More News and Resources from Cadalyst Partners

For Mold Designers! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the mold design professional. Sponsored by Siemens NX.  Visit the Equipped Mold Designer here!

For Architects! Cadalyst has an area of our site focused on technologies and resources specific to the building design professional. Sponsored by HP.  Visit the Equipped Architect here!