Recovering from a Blender crash

Introduction

Back in 2001 when I was learning how to program at school I remember being set a fairly large and what I thought at the time, complex, application to program. I now realise it was obviously the easiest thing you could set someone! That aside, I worked really hard on the project and ensured that I kept my work saved. At the time I was saving my work to a 3 ½ inch floppy disk which were temperamental at the best of times. It came to the night before hand-in and, you guessed it, the disk corrupted and I lost all of my work! Major nightmare and panic stations! I lost all my work and had no way of recovering it.

The story I’ve just recounted was well before the days of multiple backups, cloud storage, and recovering data that seems to be lost. Thankfully we’ve come on a long way from then. We’re going to have a look at what you can do if Blender crashes and you think you’ve lost your work, or if you’ve made some other mistake when saving your files. Blender has some nifty tools that greatly minimize the chances of you losing your work. These are obviously not controls against your Hard Drive failing or anything like that, but with the reliability of today’s hardware that’s unlikely to happy in the main. Let’s dive straight in and look at autosaved files.

Autosaved files

This is probably one of the most common ways of solving the problem of losing or not saving your current file. Blender is super helpful in that every few minutes it will autosave your project. It does this by creating a temporary back up file and saving your entire scene to that file. Blender does this as standard so there’s no need to turn it on. However, if you want to turn it off or adjust the interval times for saving then you can do that by heading into the ‘User preferences’ menu and selecting ‘File’.

Assuming you’ve got auto saving switched on then you’ll be able to open up the autosaved file by going to the ‘File’ menu followed by ‘Recover Auto Save’. This will open up a dialog box which includes a list of all your autosaved files. To make finding your file more straightforward you can use the sort tools to re-order the list by the most recent. The icon is a little calendar image just at the top of the box.

As Autosaving happens every few minutes, or by a different interval time if you’ve customized it, your backup file may not include the most recent set of changes that you made. This isn’t usually a problem as you’re generally just relieved to have your scene back in one piece even if you have to repeat the last few minute’s work.

files, software, system
files, software, system

Recovering your last session

The ability to do this comes in really handy if you accidentally quit without saving. This time the issue is more about user human error rather than the software crashing out due to either hardware or programming problems. But we’ve all been there when we’re just not thinking straight, or we think we haven’t made any changes since the last save. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done this so I’m super grateful that Blender allows users to recover the last session.

It does this by making a backup file called ‘quit.blender’. This file is saved into your temporary directory and is only created or updated when you exit out of Blender under normal operation. This is the same directory that stores your autosave files.

To recover this file simply launch Blender back up again and when you’re faced with the initial splash screen simply click ‘Recover Last Session’. You can also access this recovery through the ‘File’ menu. This is a really neat feature that saves a lot of hassle if you’ve been too hasty at the end of your session.

files, software, system, character

You Save Over the Wrong File

I’ve not done this a huge number of times but when I have done it, whether that be in Blender or another piece of software, it has usually turned out to be extremely problematic. This is especially the case if the file I’ve overwritten is actually more valuable to me than the file I’ve overwritten it with!

Thankfully Blender is always working hard in the background and without you even noticing it Blender is keeping a backup of your two previous saved versions. This means that you’ve always got at least 2 backups to retrieve, and that’s on top of the autosave versions we’ve talked about previously.

Those files are named the same as your main file but are appended with ‘.blend1’ and ‘.blend2’. You can open these files by going to the ‘File’ menu and selecting ‘Open’. This is the same way you would open any Blender file. There’s one small difference though. You need to make sure you’ve enabled the backups filter. Once you’ve done that you should see your backups appear.

With your backup safely opened feel free to re-save over your original version if you want. Just make sure you pick the right file to override! If you’re really picky about making sure you’ve got a ton of backups then you can head into ‘User preferences’ and specify the number of backup versions that you want kept.

files, software, system

There is little more frustrating than losing your work, no matter what piece of software you happen to be using or even how much work you actually end up losing. Even losing a few hours’ worth of work leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these recovery tools to help reduce the frustration next time either you make a mistake or Blender crashes out.