Stop recreating missing geodatabases

12-16-2020 12:19 PM
Status: Under Consideration
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Occasional Contributor

It would be great if ArcPro would stop recreating missing file geodatabases.  I deliberately renamed a file geodatabase (actually a few) and I did this in File Explorer - 'cos it's faster.  Then when I reopened the project it breaks all my links (expected) but recreates an empty file geodatabase with the old name.

This is not useful - if a geodatabase is missing it's generally because of a deliberate choice on the part of the user and recreating an empty geodatabase is just creating clutter that I have to remember to clean up.

And if it's not a deliberate choice - if some one has accidentally moved or deleted the geodatabase - what is the point of recreating an empty one?  The data is still missing.

Can we have this behavior stopped - or perhaps there is a way of stopping it already?  If so - could we have this as the default.  I have users unknowingly making empty geodatabases all over the show and it's becoming a problem.

Thanks heaps.

Status changed to: Needs Clarification

Hi @MicheleH1_DNReply 

From the post, it sounds like you see this happening for a number of geodatabases in a single project.  Is that true?  It would be great to understand the specific details around this idea.

Here is what I see when I tested:

If the geodatabase that I renamed in Windows file explorer was the project's default geodatabase, when I re-open the Pro project, yes, Pro creates a new geodatabase.  A project must have a default geodatabase - in the UI, notice that it is not possible to remove the default geodatabase.  It is necessary to first set a different default, and then the first one can be removed. 



So I imagine this behavior, if we're talking about the project's default gdb, is designed to ensure that the project always has a default.  I think that answers, "if some one has accidentally moved or deleted the geodatabase - what is the point of recreating an empty one?"

During my testing, I do not see the behavior you're describing if the .gdb folders that I'm renaming in Windows file explorer are not a project's default.  This is where additional details would be necessary to fully understand the idea.

For the question "Can we have this behavior stopped - or perhaps there is a way of stopping it already?" I guess I need to ask how you have your Create projects settings set up.  Is a new default gdb created for each of your projects?  Or are you pointing to a single gdb as the default for all your projects?

From the information that we have so far, to avoid Pro creating a new empty default gdb, I'd say to make sure that the gdbs you're renaming in file explorer aren't set as a project's default.  Then I don't think you would see Pro creating a new gdb so that it has the requisite default...

Please let us know if what I've explained above lines up with what you're seeing, or if you are seeing different behavior and we can go from there.

Thank you!


Hi there,

It's possible that the databases were the default ones.  I didn't check that.  I do have it set up to have a new geodatabase created for each project.  I tried it the other way a while back (like years maybe) and for some reason I didn't like it.  I might try it again.  However all of this behaviour is problematic for enterprise systems anyway...  We have multiple people using projects and they change things around, different default databases, different default folders and stuff just will not go away.

We also have projects that are 'templates' - people take a copy of that project and then do their work in that.  We change the 'template' remove a bunch of old connections, change some stuff around, they open their project they saved before the changes and those old connection files, folders etc. get recreated.  I'm not exactly sure of the circumstances I can't get my head around why or when these are recreated but it's super annoying...

And yes I can change it to use a particular database as the default all the time but I have to change that on 50+ peoples machines individually.  And then they get a new machine or Arc has to be reinstalled for some reason and that all gets messed up again.

I liked the way ArcMap did it - there was a scratch database buried on your C drive and when you created something and then couldn't find it you realised that you had to remember to actually put it somewhere proper.  And ArcMap didn't go around creating a million folders and databases and toolboxes that you didn't need every time.  Most of the time I like Pro... but *sigh* - sometimes I miss the old days... Pro makes a lot of extra work for the kitchen maids...

Status changed to: Open

Thanks for the additional details, Michele.  The idea is open again.  The development team is aware of this and related opportunities for improvement - your comments are helpful in informing their work.



Hi! I'm having a similar issue in my workflows. I have a project folder structure set up that we make copies of for each new project. In the workflow, I need to change the name of the default geodatabase to match the new project. I have two issues:

1) When I try to change the name of the geodatabase in Pro, the rename always fails. I don't think it's an issue with the length of the name or special characters - I've tested a bunch of names.

2) When I change the name in file explorer, Pro recreates the lost geodatabase, and then I have to go through the rigmarole of delating it and reassigning the default. 

Just chiming in on my experience! 🙂 Thanks!

Status changed to: Under Consideration

Is this still "under consideration" 18 months later? @NaicongLi 

In a real world environment with hundreds of aprx projects all over a file system this behaviour is incredibly irritating. Surely the better way to handle it is to flag to a user when they open it that "no default gdb exists" and prevent the file being saved until one is assigned. Rather than have the software do it automatically, and as @MicheleH1_DNReply points out create an utterly useless blank version somewhere you don't want it!


Hi @RichardHowe In Michele's original use case she indicated that she was changing .gdb names in File Explorer. This is what would lead to the .aprx not having a default .gdb and thus automatically creating a new one.

Out of curiosity, how is it that you have hundreds of .aprx files with no default .gdb? Is the real ask that you would like to be able to create projects with no default .gdb at all?


Kory. We don't have hundreds of .aprx files without gdbs. But because of the volume of .aprx files we do have, then as project folders get renamed and things get moved around then this happens from time to time.

Also, with templated maps then a common workflow is for people to create copies of .aprx files in order to produce additional work.

I mean ultimately creating files without a default gdb would be good. But if that is a red line then preventing the software from just creating blank versions of them to satisfy an internal rule doesn;t seem like a big ask.


Thanks for the clarification, @RichardHowe . This helps.

In terms of the question above around "under consideration", that just means that we have an item in the backlog related to the idea, but it does not necessarily mean that it will move forward to being implemented. Idea statuses are described here:

We do have our eyes on this and a number of related ideas around project file management. Thank you again for your contributions here.