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Since ArcGIS for Server 10.1 was released, the ArcPy library has been accessible through a 64-bit platform. In addition, the 64-bit Background Geoprocessing patch was released at 10.1 Service Pack 1, which allows ArcGIS for Desktop users to utilize geoprocessing in 64-bit. This means that if you have ArcGIS for Desktop and either ArcGIS for Server or the Background 64-bit Geoprocessing Patch installed, you have two different installs of Python 2.7.

The default paths for those are:

C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.1 - (32-bit)

C:\Python27\ArcGISx6410.1 - (64-bit)

This ArcGIS Resource Center blog post explains how to go about utilizing 64-bit geoprocessing in Python, and the ArcGIS Desktop Help has a very informative article on what the advantages are of running geoprocessing operations in 64-bit, as well as some of the limitations. Very briefly, one major advantage is that with 64-bit Background Geoprocessing, you are able to utilize larger amounts of RAM for large geoprocessing jobs that may have failed in 32-bit. However, some limitations that should be noted include processing with certain data types (such as personal geodatabase, Excel tables, and OLEDB) and using certain tools (Metadata conversion tools, geodatabase administration tools, to name a few).

The implications of this are that you must be aware of the 64-bit limitations when determining what version of Python you want to use. When running geoprocessing tools in ArcGIS for Desktop, the application knows that if you have the 64-bit patch installed and are using Background Geoprocessing on a tool or data type that does not support it, to just run in 32-bit instead. However, running a standalone script in 64-bit that calls for unsupported data types or tools results in an error.

Here are a few different scenarios to be aware of that may cause you some confusion with the two versions of Python, especially if you are executing the script against the 64-bit version unknowingly.
  • If the most recent version of Python that was installed was 64-bit, then the file association of the .py file will be with that 64-bit version. This means that if you double-click a Python script, or call a script from the command line/scheduled task without specifying which version of Python to use, it will run in 64-bit. This is due to how Windows assigns file associations. However, if the script uses any unsupported data types or tools, it will fail. Esri Knowledge Base Article 40838 explains this scenario, along with how to change the file association or explicitly call the version of Python that you want to use. I recommend that if you are going to set up your scripts to run as scheduled tasks, you first review the help documentation to determine if you should utilize the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Python, then create a Windows batch file to call whichever version of Python you wish to use. The scheduled task can then point to the .bat file instead of the Python script to avoid any confusion. This is explained in the above referenced KB article.
  • If running a Python script from an IDE, make sure to check what version of Python it (or its shortcut) is pointing to. For example, the 32-bit version of IDLE can be found at: C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.1\Lib\idlelib\idle.bat, and the 64-bit version can be found here: C:\Python27\ArcGISx6410.1\Lib\idlelib\idle.bat. Other IDEs such as PythonWin or PyScripter have different downloads for the 32-bit and 64-bit version, so be aware of the version of Python that the IDE you are working from uses. Just as mentioned in the above scenario, using the 64-bit version of Python on unsupported data or tools will result in an error. The version of Python can be checked by using the following command:

import sys


  • In some cases, uninstalling ArcGIS for Server or 64-bit Background Processing could result in the Python files (.py) not being associated with Python. If you do not specify to run your scripts with the 32-bit Python executable through the command line or a schedule task, there could be issues successfully running that script. Esri Knowledge Base Article 41185 discusses this scenario, along with how to resolve it.

There are undoubtedly more scenarios that could cause confusion with the 32-bit vs. 64-bit versions of Python. However, one thing to remember is that if your script works in ArcMap or ArcCatalog, but fails with an error in an IDE or as a schedule task, make sure to check the version of Python to be sure you are not using an unsupported data type or geoprocessing tool with 64-bit Python.Lucas D. - Desktop Support Analyst

As we move into an era that utilizes cloud-based services more and more frequently, it becomes inevitable that sometimes we are going to run into issues connecting our desktop machines to those services. Within ArcGIS for Desktop, the issues range from the Add Basemap dialog never loading to the system hanging once you click the “Add” button. Regardless of the exact symptoms, there are a few things that you can try to help narrow down the cause of the problem.



Here are my tips to begin troubleshooting these types of issues in ArcGIS for Desktop:


1. Ensure you have a solid internet connection.
Online services require connection to the internet, so making sure that you have a sound connection is critical. If you do not, you will need to work with your IT department to resolve this issue. If you are confident that you have a good internet connection, proceed to Step #2


2Test if the issue is machine or network specific.

On another machine on the same network, test to see if the issue is network or machine specific. Also, if you are using a laptop, try taking your laptop home for the night and testing the workflow from another network. If the issue is network specific (works on your laptop at home but not in the office), proceed with Steps #3-7. If the issue is machine specific (does not happen on other machines on the same network), proceed with Steps #7-9.


3. Does this problematic network have a proxy server?
If yes, work with IT to try temporarily disabling it. If disabling the proxy server does not resolve the issue, move onto the next step. If it works, then the issue is related to the proxy server. Next, try opening ArcCatalog and selecting Customize >  ArcCatalog Options > Connections, and entering the proxy information there. The proxy information you enter should be the same as what is set in the Windows Control Panel under Internet Options > Connections > LAN settings.


4. Does the problematic network have a firewall?
If you do, you may need to work with IT to add some exceptions to it. Here is a list of domains to whitelist:

  1. *
  2. *
  3. *
  4. * (for Bing maps)
  5. *

If this does not resolve the issue, proceed to Step #5.


5. Try connecting to the service layers through creating a GIS Server Connection in ArcCatalog.
Here is how to do this:

  1. Open ArcCatalog.
  2. Expand GIS Servers.
  3. Double click Add ArcGIS Server.
  4. Select Use GIS services and click Next.
  5. For Server URL, type (This is the URL needed for ArcCatalog. This will not work in the internet browser.)
  6. Click Finish.
  7. Expand the Server connection and drag one of the service layers into ArcMap.

If you can add a service successfully, it indicates a problem specifically with the Add Basemap command. If this is the case, you should consider contacting Esri Technical Support to further troubleshoot the issue.


6. Use Fiddler to try and diagnose any HTTP requests that are failing. Fiddler is a web debugging utility that helps capture HTTP traffic.

  1. Work with your IT staff to look at the HTTP requests going out and the responses that are returned when you try adding a basemap.
  2. This may not provide a clear answer as to what is going on, but might get you on the right track. For example, consistently receiving 400 level HTTP codes may indicate an issue.
  3. One thing to note is that Fiddler actually acts as a proxy and actively participates in the HTTP requests (it is not merely watching the traffic). Since it is involved in the requests, it is possible you might see different behavior when you have Fiddler running and you try adding a basemap. If this is the case, you may want to work with your IT staff to determine if there is an issue with your Proxy Server or firewall.


7. Do you use antivirus software?
Check to see if your antivirus may be blocking the basemaps. To do this, work with your IT staff to temporarily disable the antivirus on the problematic machine. The workflow for this may vary, but in many cases, the actual local antivirus service will need to be stopped. If the issues go away while the antivirus service is disabled, work with IT to see if there is an exception you can add to allow the basemaps to be downloaded successfully. If the issues persist, proceed to the next step.


8. Do you have write permissions to the Local Cache folder?
To increase performance, basesmaps store tiles locally at %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\ESRI\Local Caches. Work with IT to ensure you have write permissions to this folder. If issues persist, proceed to the next step.


9. Reset Internet Explorer and make it the default browser.

  1. Open Internet Explorer and select Tools > Internet Options.
  2. Click the Advanced tab and select Reset.
  3. Test to see if the issues persist.
  4. If they do persist, as a test, try setting Internet Explorer as your default browser (On the Programs tab of the Internet Options, select to Make Default).
  5. Test to see if the issues persist.
  6. If this resolves the issue, set your preferred browser back to default and test again. If the issues return, please contact Esri Technical Support.

It is entirely possible that these ideas will not resolve your issue, but many of them are more so designed to help you and your IT staff to determine if it is an issue with the software, an issue with the system, or any issue with the network. Please feel free to contact Esri Technical Support with any questions and we will be happy to assist


.Lucas D - Desktop Support Analyst

Have you ever wanted to redirect your Default Geodatabase to a location other than your My Documents folder? This has been a popular idea supported by many users, and at 10.1 and 10.0 Service Pack 5, this is now possible.

At the ArcGIS 10.1 release, you can redirect your Default Geodatabase  through the Catalog Window Options in ArcMap. Click the button on the top right corner of the Catalog Window and then click the Home Folder tab. You can set a new location for your Home Folder by clicking the browse button and navigating to your desired location.

At 10.0 SP5, you can achieve the same outcome by adding a new key in the registry editor (the same UI option that is available at 10.1 is not available here). The workflow to do this is highlighted in Knowledge Base Article 40332:

1. Go to Start > Run.

2. In the Run window, type 'regedit'.

3. In the Registry Editor window, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > ESRI > Desktop 10 >

4. Select Edit > New > Key and name it 'DefaultHomeFolder'.

5. Right-click the new DefaultHomeFolder key, select New > String Value, and name it 'Location'.

6. Double-click the new 'Location' string value and change its value to the path of the desired Home folder.

 Lucas D. - Desktop Support Analyst

bulb_yel-11-e1340840911868.pngA common question that I see in Desktop Support is “Why is ArcMap performing so slowly?” This can be a particularly tricky question as the answer depends on so many factors. For some, the answer is related to having a DEM with ½ centimeter accuracy turned on for the entire contiguous U.S., along with parcels, hydrology, streets network, and land use data for an entire county, with a 50% transparency set to each layer. Of course this example is an exaggeration, but it is true that we (myself included) expect our computers to handle whatever we throw at them and still get optimal performance. While the solution to the question can sometimes be to reduce the amount of layers ArcMap needs to draw, there can be times where the analyses that we are running are completely reasonable and the performance that we are experiencing is not. Here are several troubleshooting steps that resolve a lot of performance related issues that I see in Desktop Support.

  1. Reboot your machine. I, too, am a victim of leaving my machine on for days on end. This can cause applications and processes to pile up in the Task Manager and, because of this, we can expect slow performance. It is best to start with a clean slate and reboot the machine.
  2. Do you meet the minimum requirements? Some users upgrade from version 9.3 to version 10 without checking this, and later realize they don’t meet the RAM or video card requirements. The "Can you run it utility" will scan your machine and tell you if it's up to the task.
  3. Is the behavior MXD specific? If you are experiencing unexpected behavior, the issue may be related to the MXD. To test this, open another instance of ArcMap next to your existing MXD and drag and drop your layers into the new MXD. Test to see if the behavior persists. You can also try using the MXD Doctor. This will analyze your MXD for corrupt objects and will generate a new copy of your MXD. You can find this at Start > All Programs > ArcGIS > Desktop Utilities > MXD Doctor.
  4. Is the behavior data specific? Similar to MXD issues, performance issues can be related to shapefiles, feature classes, or other data. Test to see if the issues persist with other datasets. If they do not, it may be data specific. Try exporting your feature classes out to a new location and test your workflow on this copy of the data.
  5. Does this happen on other machines? While this suggestion won’t actually resolve any issues, it is helpful in narrowing down the problem. If everyone in your organization is having issues, it is most likely data, MXD, or network specific issues. If you are the only one, you know it is something with your configuration.
  6. Does this happen if you log into the machine with a different Windows User Profile? This sounds bizarre, but ArcGIS for Desktop relies heavily on your Windows User Profile, so once in a while, these can become corrupt and you may need to consider creating a new profile.
  7. Does this happen with local data? If you are working with shapefiles or file/personal geodatabases on your network, try exporting them to your C drive. If the issues leave, it may very well be a network issue. In this case, you will want to talk with IT to discuss potential causes and solutions. If you are using SDE data and you export to a local file geodatabase and it resolves the issue, you will want to look into your SDE connection.
  8. Rename your Normal templates.The normal template is the template that is automatically loaded from your user profile every time you launch ArcGIS for Desktop. It contains the UI customizations you have made, including toolbars, buttons, window placements, and more. These templates can become corrupt, so by renaming them, you will prompt the software to generate a new, default normal template. Here is how to rename your normal template in version 10:
    1. Close ArcCatalog and ArcMap.
    2. Navigate to root %userprofile%\AppData*\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.0\ArcMap (*if hidden go to the Tools folder options view).
    3. Open the Templates folder.
    4. There will be a "Normal.mxt" file. Right-click on that file, and rename it to something besides Normal. Then re-start ArcMap.
    5. ArcCatalog and ArcToolbox also have normal templates. If need be, navigate to their respective folders and rename their normal templates as well.
  9. Are you up to date on Service Packs? You can find an updated list of service packs and patches on our Resource Center.
  10. Is your My Documents folder stored to your C drive? Some organizations map out their My Documents folders to their network. This can be problematic with ArcGIS for Desktop 10.x, as several files and folders that ArcMap relies on are stored here, including the Default.gdb. Talk with IT to see if you can get your My Documents folder redirected to your local drive.
  11. Check for any 3rd party tools. There are a lot of great third party extensions out there, but unfortunately, we do not test or certify against them. Some can occasionally cause conflicts, so it is worth uninstalling these to see if the behavior persists. If it does, you may want to consider logging a support request with that third party company to see if it is a known issue. Here are a few places to check for hidden 3rdparty tools on your machine:
    1. All programs and features in the Control Panel.
    2. Look through the list of all toolbars in ArcMap (Open ArcMap > Customize > Toolbars)
    3. Look through the list of all extensions in ArcMap (Open ArcMap > Customize > Extensions)
    4. Look in the Add-In Manager (Open ArcMap > Customize > Add-in Manager)
  12. Are you using continual scan anti-virus? Try temporarily disabling a continual scan anti-virus, as this can cause performance issues in ArcGIS for Desktop.
  13. Do you have any drivers that need updating?
    1. Open Control Panel > Device Manager.
    2. Expand Display Adapters.
    3. Right click the adapter below this > Properties.
    4. Go to the Driver tab > Update Driver > Search Automatically.
    5. If you can upgrade, then install the newer driver.
  14. Redirect your temporary folders and optimize your Virtual Memory:
    1. Navigate to Start > Settings > Control Panel > System (Advanced System Settings) > Advanced tab > Environment Variables.
    2. For both TEMP and TMP, you will likely see a value such as C:/Users/<username>/AppData/Local/Temp.
    3. If so, edit each so that they equal "C:/Temp", without the quotes.
    4. Click OK to close the Environment Variables window.
    5. Under performance, click Settings.
    6. Click Advanced.
    7. For Virtual Memory, select Change.
    8. Select System managed size > OK.

Again, keep in mind that there are limits on what we can realistically expect the software to do. If the above steps don’t resolve your performance issues, you may want to consider logging a request with Support Services and we’d be more than happy to continue testing from there.Lucas D. - Desktop Support Analyst
MQT1-137x300.pngHave you ever had a 1:M relationship but did not want to perform a relate? You might consider using the Make Query Table tool to accomplish this task. Typically when performing a 1:M join, only the first record will be joined and the subsequent records will not. In instances such as this, I often recommend using a relate or relationship class instead of a join. However, using the Make Query Table tool is another option for performing this task and can also be an effective way of querying out matching records from two separate tables or feature classes.

You can access this tool by navigating to the ArcToolbox > Data Management Tools > Layers and Table Views >  Make Query Table. To perform this, your tables and/or feature classes must be in the same location (the same file, personal, or SDE geodatabase).Steps
  1. First add your table, then your feature class to the Input tables box.
  2. Select the Fields you want in the resulting table view.
    *If you want to include geometry in the output and not just a table view, be sure to select the shape fields.
  3. Click SQL. Write a statement similar to the one in the following graphic. This statement is basically saying, give me all records that match between the table and the feature class. Click OK.MQT2.png
  4. Give your Table a name.
  5. Select the option to use Virtual Key Fields.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Once this finishes running, export the output to a new feature class, as this is only an event layer and will not save outside of the MXD.

For more on this tool, please visit the Resource Center help page for the Make Query Table tool.Lucas D. - Desktop Support Analyst

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