There is only one way to avoid possibly creating duplicates in the Vault when using multiple sessions of the Autodesk Autoloader and you probably will not like it. When choosing a Vault folder to place my multiple sessions of Autoloader, choose the same folder to upload all files.
The Autoloader will not duplicate files this way, it will skip them and say they already exist. Once done, you have your work cut out for you, moving all the related files to the appropriate folder. This moving is not required but it just looks bad and is not easily navigated without using searches.
That being said, let’s look at a way of removing the duplicate files from the Vault after using multiple sessions of Autoloader. This is done by using the Vault “Replace” command, then deleting the duplicate files that were replaced.
When you first look at the Replace command, you say this will not be that hard. The Replace command allows you to select numerous files at one time and point them to their replacement on a one on one basis. This will be fine and works well UNLESS any of the files you are replacing have identical names.
Most of the time this will be the case so calm your excitement. The Vault gave me an "An Item with the same key has already been added" every time it saw identical file names in the replace list.
If you read about a solution on the internet, it says to just rename the files to different names before using the Replace command on them. This seems to work but I still got a message that the Inventor Apprentice Server was not loading correctly making me not trust the results. Doing one duplicate file at a time works well but will take a little time.
The first thing you need to create a duplicate list. This is easily done from the Vault Settings dialog box. This routine allows you to save the duplicate list in many ways, I use Excel.
My test Vault contained four assemblies that contain a part named “Toolpost.ipt”. I used Autoloader to upload the folders into the Vault using four sessions to create the duplicate file problem. Below is the Excel entry showing the assemblies affected. Once the list is made, you need to decide which assembly contains the part you will replace the other duplicates with. In my case it is the one marked with the red arrow.
The next step is to do a Vault search to find all the Toolpost.ipt parts and identify which one is the one you will keep and replace the others with. I recommend you add a “Path” column to the Main panel to be sure you know which part is the one you want to keep and which ones you want to replace. The highlighted one is the one I want to replace the other three in the red box.
Just to prove the first one in the red box is truly hooked to an assembly, here is a screen shot of the “Where Used” command showing the wrong assembly.
I will be using the single file per replace command method since I never like errors or warning. I select the first one in the red box and then choose the “Replace” command from the “Edit” menu dropdown.
The wizard is pretty explanatory up to the point of selecting the replacement file. Use the “…” to browse to the part you have determined to be the replacement. Compare the part path to the screen shot above showing the correct assembly. Click “Finish” to continue. You will get the standard Autodesk legal statement, just click “Yes” to accept. While it is processing, observe in wonder all the paths and relationships it repairs and assigns!
Just to prove it worked, below is a screen shot showing the “Where Used” command. Notice the part is no longer used by any assembly.
I repeat the process for the other two files. When I finish, I simply select all the Toolpost.ipt that have been replaced, right click and delete. I am assuming you will be doing all of these steps as the administrator, you will probably need the rights to delete.
When I do a where used on the remaining Toolpost.ipt, you will see it has been assigned to all the other assemblies.
If I do a duplicate report, you will see the Toolpost.ipt is not on the list. Do not forget to do a Vault “Refresh” every once in a while. By the way, I cannot guarantee that assembly constraints in the assemblies receiving the replacements but in my three assemblies all assembly constraints were maintained. All my work and demo was done in Inventor 2016.
Special thanks to John Hackney for this well documented run through of the Autoloader de-duplication procedure.
About the Author
Sr. Technical Support Specialist, Manufacturing<br><br>Bob Felton has been supporting Autodesk products for over 23 years including core AutoCAD, P&ID, Plant 3D, AutoCAD for Mac, AutoCAD Mechanical, and Vault. His background is in graphics with an Applied Sciences degree and ten years manufacturing experience drafting, as well as technical illustration, image editing, and even patent drafting.Follow on Linkedin More Content by Bob Felton