How to Recover Your Custom Data After a Painter Crash


I made this post July 11, 2015 and thought it deserved a page of its own.  It will make it easier to find for reference.

Hello Everyone,

OK, Painter crashed and no matter what I did, I could not open it again.  To start Painter I had to either use a Shift-Start or uninstall and re-install, which meant I would lose all of my custom brushes, papers, flow maps, etc.  Sound familiar; I hope not.  But, I know that some of my readers have experienced this same horror.  Well, all is not lost.  Follow along as I show you how I recovered my custom files.

The first thing to do after a crash is to try to open Painter again.  If that doesn’t work, then try rebooting your computer and then open Painter.  If that doesn’t work, then try uninstalling Painter, but when you start the process you will get the option to either repair or remove Painter.  Do not remove it, but do try a repair.  Hopefully, one of the above steps will allow you to open Painter again, but if it doesn’t, then follow what I did.

For a PC first copy and save your workspace information to your documents.  In a PC, go to Desktop > User System Folder (usually your name) > AppData > Roaming > Corel > Painter 2015 (or X3, or 12.2) > Your Workspace name…or default if you haven’t made a workspace.  Once you get to your workspace, copy the information and paste it to a new folder in your documents or somewhere you can find it again.  Do not copy it in the Painter user area.

If you are on a Mac, then go to your Finder Menu and select Go > Go To Folder and in the box that opens type: ~/Library and hit Go.  Now in the finder select Application Support > Corel > Painter 2015 > Your Workspace name…or default if you haven’t made a workspace.  Once you get to your workspace, copy the information and paste it to a new folder in your documents or somewhere you can find it again.  Do not copy it in the Painter user area.

Watch the following video about saving your workspace.

Now that I saved the workspace, I can open Painter using a Shift – Start or uninstalling and re-installing.  What is a Shift – Start.  It is a very neat way to open painter with a corrupted workspace or something that blocks Painter from opening.  Hold down the shift key and start Painter normally, but don’t let up on the shift key.  A window will open that asks if you want to set Painter back to factory defaults.  At this point, release your shift key and select all workspaces and hit the enter key.  At this point, Painter deletes all custom files.  That is why it is important to copy your workspace files before a Shift – Start.  The same is true if you uninstall and re-install Painter.

Once Painter is operating again, I want to import my saved workspace into Painter, but I have to prepare it for import.  I do this by selecting the contents of the saved workspace folder and zipping them.  Then I change the name to the name I want to use for my workspace, and this is very important, I changed the extension .zip to .pws.  Changing the extension prompts the OS to give me a warning that changing the extension can corrupt the file.  I ignore the warning and proceed with the changes.  Now the file is ready for import.

I opened Painter and went to Window > Workspace > Import Workspace > and navigated to my zipped file, selected it, and hit open.  If my workspace isn’t corrupted, it will open in Painter.  My experience is about 50/50; meaning that about 50% of the time this will work, but 50% of the time my workspace still crashes Painter.

The following video shows you how to prepare your workspace for import:

All is still not lost.  I can import my custom files individually from my saved workspace to Painter.  I started with brushes.  In my saved workspace folder, there are a series of folders and some files.  The first folder is Brushes.  I opened that folder and found another series of folders.  Each one of these folders represent a Painter brush library.  Three of them are the default brush libraries that came with Painter, Painter Brushes, Painter 13 brushes, and Painter 14 brushes.  Don’t let the name Painter 14 brushes confuse you; that is the name of the Painter 2015 brush library.  It is possible, if you have never created a Painter brush library, these three libraries will be all that you have.  You do not want to import these libraries again.  More on that later.

If you do have more than the three default libraries, you do want to import each library into Painter.  To do that, I opened the brush library folder and selected the contents of the folder and zipped it.  Again, I changed the name to the name I want to use for the library.  This time I changed .zip to .brushlibrary.  To import into Painter, I go to Brushes > Import > Brush Library and select my newly created file for import.  I do this for each library.

But, I also have some custom categories in my default brush library.  Most of you will, too.  It is not a good idea to import the default libraries into Painter, but you can import each category.  To import a category, I open the Brush library folder.  In the folder, there are another group of folders plus .jpgs with the same name.  I want to select one of the custom folders and select its companion .jpg.  I zip those two items and change the name to the name of the brush category and the .zip to .brushcategory.  Before import, I make sure I am in the library I want the category placed.  Then I go to Brushes > Import > Category and select my newly made brush category for import.

The video version for import follows:

But what about my custom papers, flow maps, patterns, etc. I can hear you saying.  Don’t worry, that is what I do next.  Back in the corrupted workspace, notice the folders called papers, flow maps, patterns, looks, gradients, weaves and so forth.  Those contain your media libraries.  To prepare them for import, I followed the same method used for preparing brush libraries.  For papers, I opened the paper folder and each folder therein represents a paper library.    I opened one of the paper library folders and selected the entire contents, zipped it, and then changed its name to reflect the name of the paper library.  I also changed .zip to .paperlibrary.  I did this for each paper library folder contained in the paper folder.  Next, I opened Painter and opened my Paper Library Panel and selected the fly out menu in the upper right corner and picked import paper library.  I navigated to my newly made paper library files and selected one to import.  I did this for each paper library.

I used the same technique for flow maps, patterns, and the rest of the media libraries, but each extension is different for each type of library.  To find the extension needed, I went to each type of library, for example, I opened the flow map library.  I clicked on the fly out menu or option button in the upper right corner.  From the list, I pick import library.  A window opens and in the lower left corner above Open and Cancel is a drop down menu.  If I hover my cursor over this menu, I will see the extension necessary to import the file.  In this case I would change .zip to .flowmaplibrary.  Come on…it isn’t that complex.  Watch the next video to see how to do it.

Import Custom Media files in this video:

So, what’s left?  Color sets, mixer pads, arranged palettes, and even custom palettes can be recovered.  Actually, these are easier to do, but there are a couple of tricks.  It is easier to explain in the following video.

Importing Color set, etc.:

That’s it.  Yes, I know it is a lot of stuff, but is way easier than rebuilding all your custom files from scratch.  In my case, if I lose a brush that hasn’t been exported, it is next to impossible to recreate that brush from memory.  However, if you are just using a custom brush set made by me or someone else, it is easier to just import the set again.

But even easier that importing the set again, it is best if you export the workspace monthly, weekly or even daily.  Let’s talk prevention.  A workspace has all the custom information…everything.  Painter offers the ability to export workspaces.  There is one warning.  It is static, meaning that the information is current to the date of export.  If you add more custom stuff, unless you export your workspace again, that new stuff will be lost.  I try to export my workspace weekly and if I am making a bunch of stuff, I will do it daily.  Then if Painter crashes, I can just import my exported workspace and be back in business quickly.  It is always good to export custom stuff individually, too.  You can export custom palettes, brush categories, brush libraries, brushes, paper libraries, etc.  But, for me, I find exporting my workspace routinely works well, and I don’t export custom files individually.

The next video tells you how to export a workspace:

That’s all folks.  I hope you never have a Painter crash and lose your custom stuff, but if you do, these procedures work well for me.  One last warning.  Every computer is different and your results may not be the same as mine.  I cannot guarantee everything will work the same for you.  Proceed with caution.

Enjoy,

Skip

8 responses to “How to Recover Your Custom Data After a Painter Crash

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful blog! I think there exist no big community using corel painter in Germany, so I try to understand your english posts and in combination with your great videos it works!!!
    I had a crash on Painter 2016 with windows 8.1 and tried to fix it the last two days. Unfortunately I recovered this post right now. Yesterday I already uninstalled painter2016 and reinstalled, but preserved my custum settings….did´t work. So I downloaded a Testversion of Painter 2017 and compared the appdata/ roaming/corel2016 and corel2017 versions….and started to bring some folders away there and stored them in my privat folders…as I removed a XML-Dokument named “userPrefs” and a script-Journal-file named “default.script-journal”, painter worked again, and I had still all my brushes etc….I´m not sure if this will work long, so I´m glad to have your instructions above for my next crash…thank you so much!

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Thank you very much for your nice comment.
      Yes, frequently you can remove a file that is causing the problem with the workspace and then it will work again. “UserPrefs” cam be the corrupted file. If you remove it, Painter just rewrites it at a default setting and everything is good to go again. Unfortunately, there are other reasons for the workspace to become corrupt and removing a file will not fix it…sigh. But, checking UserPrefs is a good starting point.
      Thanks again for the comment,
      Skip
      PS: have you tried Google Translate to translate the blog into German. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but I have translated blogs in other languages to English using it and found it is pretty good.

      • Hello Skip, thanks for your answer. O.K. now I´m prepared, that it may crash again..; )….but for instant everything is working fine. Anyway I have to plan to get the hole computer reinstalled in the near future, because there were too many other problems like wacoms driver stopped working etc.
        No I never tried Google translate, but it´s a good idea…I will check this…normally I have always leo.org beside, just to translate single words, I don´t unserstand……thank you again for this wonderful blog…have a nice weekend, Stephanie

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