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26-10-2012, 07:10 PM   #1
NextDesign
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Corrupted file prevention - A guide
I've seen a lot of "my file is corrupted" threads recently, and thought I would jot down some methods to avoid this. Now, this won't stop them from happening, but it will at least let you recover your work.

1) Save in .ma
The ma format stands for "Maya ASCII". It is a plain-text file that contains all of your scene information. While it has the downside of producing large file sizes than the default mb (Maya Binary), it has the plus-side of being recoverable. If there is a corruption somewhere, you can open up the file in a text editor, and, providing you have a good grasp of MEL, you will likely be able to fix it; or at least recover parts of it. The binary format, as I said, is smaller, but is not human-readable, and therefore extremely difficult to fix.

2) Turn on incremental save
Turning on incremental save is another easy way to prevent data corruption. It simply saves a numbered copy of your scene file whenever you save. Therefore, if you find your latest scene has become corrupted, you can simply open up the incrementalSave folder, and pick out the latest one. You can turn this on in the save option box.

3) Avoid third-party nodes if possible
Have third party nodes in your scene can be a potential hazard, as they may be coded improperly. This can cause stability issues, and can be hard to pinpoint when the program crashes.

I hope these easy steps help people avoid the loss of their hard work.

Please feel free to PM me if you have any more tips.
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26-10-2012, 07:21 PM   #2
ctbram
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4) Turn on Auto-save
ND has given some very good advice above.

I would add that you can also enable automatic save. Incremental save only saves a previous copy of your scene each time you save. With automatic save you can force maya to save your work at regular intervals. You can also set it to keep a specific number of saves.

So in my case I set auto-save to every 6 minutes and keep 10 copies. This way at any point in time I have up to a one hour backup of all my work in 6 minute intervals.

This has saved my lots of work in several instances where I have made immutable changes to a complex model and then realized that they cause major problems down the line but I was able to step back through my auto-saves and get back to a point before the offending changes.

You can turn on auto-save in the maya settings and preferences section.
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Last edited by ctbram; 26-10-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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27-10-2012, 04:37 AM   #3
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5) Back-up important files to a external location/drive
All of the above tips will help in a software crash, but will do little in the event of a hardware crash (eg disk-head crash, surge, etc) It is best to back up important revisions of your files to another drive, separate from your machine. In this case, if everything goes up in smoke, you'll still have your files. This happens more than you'd think. ctbram, above, has had more than 6 hardware failures in the past year or so. Good methods of backing up are with external hard-drives, USB thumb drives, or cloud services such as Dropbox or AWS.
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27-10-2012, 05:13 AM   #4
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Well I have had a lot of hardware failures but not quite 6 within a year. I have lost a great deal of my maya work in two major disk crashes though.

One of which was several years ago where I learned a very painful lesson about striping drives. You may get a bit more performance but should you lose one disk out of the stripe then you lose ALL your data. Furthermore with each disk you add to the stripe the probability of single disk failure increases by n*(1/p).

The second was more recent and even more bizarre. I had all my new 3d works and major projects in an external storage appliance that was mirrored. One of the mirrored disks failed. I thought thank god I had the data mirrored. In the process of rebuilding the mirror the multiport controller of the storage appliance failed and corrupted the good half of the mirror and once again I lost ALL my work (nearly 2TB of data!).

So even when you think you are safe things can still go very badly. In those two crashes I lost at least ten years of work that I had accumulated. Some of which I was able to recover as I had it backed up in multiple places. But most was lost forever.

Therefore I agree with ND that off site storage and backing up to multiple external destinations are certainly good ideas if you can afford it.
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02-11-2012, 09:48 AM   #5
Jay
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I posted this as well on another thread, its not a guarantee or prevention but could help be a recovery for lost files and something to look out for.....



Sometimes maya will save an extra file during a crash, not always an MA into the temp folder but in the same directory as the original but its not always obvious unless you select 'all files' in the drop down file type menu.

It does occasionally save an invisible mb file but will look something like this example:

'my model name'.mbxf12hfhakfjflslslswxef

so its worth looking for that at well. the file will be bigger too but if you do have one reopen it and just save as something else.


Jay
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02-11-2012, 12:52 PM   #6
NextDesign
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Quote:
Sometimes maya will save an extra file during a crash, not always an MA into the temp folder but in the same directory as the original but its not always obvious unless you select 'all files' in the drop down file type menu.

It does occasionally save an invisible mb file but will look something like this example:

'my model name'.mbxf12hfhakfjflslslswxef

so its worth looking for that at well. the file will be bigger too but if you do have one reopen it and just save as something else.


Jay
I would also recommend that you save with .ma from then on if you do this, just in case there is some creeping file corruption. Remember, it was written out by a crashing program
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02-11-2012, 05:50 PM   #7
Jay
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Yes the crashing programme is called maya LOL.

I think I mentioned in a post a couple of months back that if you have a dodgy file its best to save it as an .MA although the file size is bigger, its cleaner. It particularly helps uvs from breaking too in an MB file format.

anyway what do I know, Im just a seasoned pro LOL

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02-11-2012, 11:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Yes the crashing programme is called maya LOL.

I think I mentioned in a post a couple of months back that if you have a dodgy file its best to save it as an .MA although the file size is bigger, its cleaner. It particularly helps uvs from breaking too in an MB file format.

anyway what do I know, Im just a seasoned pro LOL

Jay
And export an OBJ of your model data. At least then if you lose the ma file, you at least keep your models.
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08-04-2015, 10:59 AM   #9
Raizo
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issue!!!
my case I set auto-save to every 6 minutes and keep 10 copies. This way at any point in time I have up to a one hour backup of all my work in 6 minute intervals.

This has saved my lots of work in several instances where I have made immutable changes to a complex model and then realized that they cause major problems down the line but I was able to step back through my auto-saves and get back to a point before the offending changes.
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19-11-2015, 07:54 AM   #10
Janleex0
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I take that back Stwert I think you are right, just checked some ms sites that's say you can.................dave
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