If you have ever experienced problems with AutoCAD or Civil 3D failing to launch properly or operate correctly, you have probably wondered what went wrong and, more importantly, what steps can be taken to fix it. There are many potential causes of these issues. Updates failing to process completely, system crashes, drawing files with significant errors, and a myriad of other sources can impair operation or entirely prevent it. Fortunately, there are a few steps that can easily be performed by most operators, which will resolve most of these issues.

The first and easiest step is to restore your settings to default. Since this will undo any customization that you have performed on your work environment and user interface, it is a good idea to save these customizations to a profile. This will allow these settings to be restored after resetting defaults. To restore your settings to default, follow these steps and refer to the image, below:

  1. Select the Windows Start Button
  2. Find and open the folder that corresponds to the relevant installation
  3. Select “Reset Settings to Default” from the commands present in the folder

Note: In some instances, the “Reset Settings to Default” option may not appear in the folder, as in the image below.  If this occurs, you can access this option by navigating to the software version folder under the Windows Start Menu and double-clicking the “Reset Settings to Default” Shortcut.  The generalized path to this shortcut is “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\<SOFTWARE VERSION>”.

A dialog will open, which will provide an opportunity to back up your custom settings to a zip file (see image). Please note the warning “Not all custom settings are stored in files and cannot be backed up”.

After selecting one of the options, a message will display indicating that the reset was performed (see image).

Select “OK” and a progress bar will display while Windows reconfigures the software. When this is complete, Autodesk AutoCAD will open, even if you have reset the Civil 3D defaults. If your software functions properly, you can restore any customizations and continue to work. If this does not correct the issues, proceed to the second step, repairing the installation.

To repair the installation, Follow the following steps:

  1. Select the Windows Start Button (see image below)
  2. Then select Settings (see image below)

Select “Apps” (see image below)

Find and select your software, then select “Uninstall”

You will probably need to select “Yes” to allow the application to make changes to your system. Then, in the installation dialog, select “Repair or Reinstall”

Ensure that “Repair” is selected (see image below) and click on the “Repair” button

The repair process will take a few minutes. It is also a good idea to restart your system after the repair is completed.

If repairing the installation does not resolve the issue, you can repeat steps 1 through 5, above, but select “Reinstall” and the “Reinstall” button (see image below).

However, the Autodesk Uninstall Tool may be a better option for removing a program prior to reinstalling it. You can find information about using this tool on the IMAGINiT web page available using the following link:


The above steps will resolve most installation issues with AutoCAD and Civil 3D. However, if these steps do not resolve your issue, you may need to perform a clean uninstall before you can install successfully. Information on performing this procedure is available at the link, below. However, this process resets some Windows registry keys, which can render your system inoperable. Please make sure that you are comfortable with performing these steps and that you have appropriate authority and permission from your Cad manager and/or IT department before undertaking them. Most users will probably prefer to obtain assistance to perform a clean uninstall.


About the Author

Scott Kraner, Civil Applications Expert, IMAGINiT Technologies

Scott has more than 30 years of experience in civil engineering. He has worked within the private sector in the fields of design, consulting, and construction for approximately 15 years. In the public sector, he has performed traffic engineering operations, construction inspection, plan review, and Safe Drinking Water Act compliance enforcement for more than 15 years. He has developed and overseen diverse public service programs encompassing functions such as ADA compliance, roadway flooding elimination, and public water system assistance fund administration.