how to restore a corrupt arcgis pro aprx

07-16-2019 10:34 AM
New Contributor II

we have been having our ArcGis pro sessions bomb resulting in corrupt .aprx files.

the backup that we have are sometimes not frequent enough.

is there any where arc gis pro saves a backup of the .aprx file?

if not, how do we get a most recent backup w/out using windows explorer?

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5 Replies
Esri Notable Contributor

Currently there is a BUG-000104539 Implement an equivalent for Save a Copy functionality in ArcGIS Pro listed but it's not the product plan.  What you may want to implement is the creation of a Package Project on timed basis to serve as your backup should the original project become corrupted.  Hope this helps!

MVP Frequent Contributor

"...not the product plan".....deserves an explanation. shows "reviewed". 

Esri Notable Contributor

Thomas - for BUG-000104539, this was for ArcGIS Pro 2.0 (April 2017) - so 2+ years ago.  Digging deeper into your question, there is an enhancement request ENH-000110189 (Add ability to quickly rename project, project home folder, other related files, toolboxes and default file geodatabase in ArcGIS Pro) that IS listed "In Product Plan" as a result of the ArcGIS Ideas link you listed.  So it appears this is coming in a future release of AGP...

New Contributor III

I just had this happen, and here's my workaround. Basically, an APRX file is a zip-compressed folder, consisting of (among other things) a folder for each element of your project:  map, layout, etc. Inside each are XML files and such defining the setup of each element. Chances are, one of those elements is corrupt. So, use the "Christmas Lights" method!

  1. Copy the APRX file
  2. Rename the copy to .zip
  3. Open the zip file, and delete one of the folders
  4. Rename the copy back to .aprx
  5. Try to open it in ArcGIS--if it works, that's the offender, if not, repeat steps 1-5 for the next folder.

Yes, you can speed this up with a binary search method to narrow it down (delete the first half of the folders, then the second half, ...), but remember that there may be more than one corrupted element (the christmas lights nightmare). Once you narrow it down, you could go into that folder and muck around looking for the problem, or if it isn't too major (my last one was just a selection set, so nothing major), just leave it out and build that element over again. The fact that the master XML file is now referencing a missing element may or may not throw an error or a warning, depending on how vital it is, but in my experience, it seems to make do okay.

Last time I did this it took about 3 hours (mostly waiting for ArcGIS Pro to crash over and over and over again), but that was a lot better than rebuilding a 30 hour project from scratch!

Occasional Contributor

@BrandonPlewe1 thanks for noting down your work around. Can confirm this still works. 

We had a Pro Project that crashed, when loading via the backup prompt it also did not complete. after that also had to be stopped we were stuck with a project that was spinning on open.

Luckily it wasnt an important project and our issue was somewhere in the "metadata" folder, we didn't need to dig down to the specific file, but we had recovered enough to find the layers and sources so we could rebuild a new project.

Interesting to learn about the Zip file in disguise info


Thanks again.


Melissa Brooks
Senior Geospatial Systems Specialist
Tasman District Council (New Zealand)
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