Skip the Data Source test on opening an MXD

11-15-2012 09:01 AM
Status: Open
Occasional Contributor
Sometimes a path change, or a server change renders a collection of MXD files to have broken links to the Data Sources. Depending upon various conditions it can take quite a while for the map to load. (And there are several ways to repair them, fortunately, although there is room for improvement here too... but that's another topic.)

It would sure be nice to be able to, for instance hold down a Shift key, in order to bypass the Data Source check process as a map document loads.

This has long been available in the Windows OS (hold down shift key, as the dvd loads) to bypass the Auto Play feature of loading a DVD or CD. Why not add this Windows shortcut to the ArcMap product too? This could be a real timesaver if all you need is to check where a data source is trying to load from, or if certain data sources are temporarily unavailable.

I don't need it all that often, but often enough and with enough layers that it would be a very nice bonus and probably pretty easy to incorporate.

Cheers, Bill~

Thanks for the comment, and the link to a similar submission, and I read that suggestion, and I have some comments.

The scope of that suggestion Advanced Data Source Management ( is quite large.

I don't disagree with most of the items brought up, that they could or would be helpful, however there is a huge component of data management that software can not (and probably should not) 'fix automatically.'

ArcMap already does indicate broken links, but I for one, do not want it to attempt to fix them automatically. A better tool to manage broken link, yes please, but if it's broken, speaking for my workplace, it's a repair better left to people than to software, maybe not always, but more like in general.

This request has a much smaller scope and would have no impact on users that don't need or want it. It would just add an additional icon to the dreaded explamation point, that would be 'Not Checked' that would allow the control to return to the user more quickly.

New GIS Geodatabase Server Name
After migrating to a new geodatabase server with a new server name, anytime a user would open an old map document that had layers pointing to the old server name, it would take up to 15-20 minuntes to open the document due to this data source checking feature.  Then when one would try and repair a layer with a broken link (clickd on red !) due the server name change, the map document world "freeze" for another 15-20 minutes while the ArcMap attempted to repair other broken links using the same new information.  Veru frustrating.

Add the old server name to the host or DNS and point it to the new server IP address.
Good point khayer_ccc,

This absolutely corrects a common problem (after the annoying wait, which this 'wish list' item is about) for this one common issue. However there are many more possible reasons for the broken link that still tie up the workstation while the links report back as broken or resolved.

In addition to that, many GIS techs don't have the ability (and/or training, and/or permission) to perform those work arounds, and depending upon the IT groups workload and attitude, they might not have much interest in correcting it, regardless of the amount of work. (Some IT groups only care about WHERE work is caused (like in their dept or not), and care little about how much is caused elsewhere).
This is exactly what is needed. What really is happening when that .LYR or .MXD is left or right clicked on in the Folder Connections?
Remember when Desktop v10 was launched and one of the new features was being able to hit he escape button on a data map to interrupt the display.
Why can't we do this when we do the above to interrupt the data source search?

The data sources in my environment over the past 4 years started as Application connections to ArcSDE services on a virtual ArcSDE server using v9.* changing to (recommended by esri) direct connections to SQL server with v10 on a new virtual server and now all direct connections to a virtual SQL server using ArcSDE V10.1.
Map docs containing app. and direct connections to multiple geodatabases get broken during this time and so do Layer files.
Waiting >15mins when clicking on a LYR or MXD file when you know it is broken but just want to fix it to pointto the same features in a different location is not on?
This has been a problem for several years now, especially in enterprise solutions where there are mutliple environments and databases. 

It should not take more than a few minutes to open a map document, not matter how many broken connections there are. Commonly I find that the software is checking each individual layer for a connection, even if all layers are from the same source and that source is not available.

Surely a simple fix would be to skip attempting to connect to other layers in the document as soon as the first layer with that data source is broken. Providing a cancel option (i.e via escape key or other shortcut) would also resolve this. 

This is wasting hours of user lives sitting their waiting for their documents to open, sometimes evemn when the user already knows the connections are broken. 
by Anonymous User

I could use that feature too- thanks for bringing it up.