September 28, 2010

Recovering the project

Sometimes Captivate 5 fails to open a project file (.cptx). This might have happened due to some corrupt data structure. The preferred way to avoid data loss is to enable project backup in captivate through Preferences (Edit (on Windows)/Adobe Captivate (on Mac) > Preferences > Global > General Settings > Generate Project Backup).  This will create a .bak file for your project (from second save onwards), which will contain the previous saved state of the project.

However, you may try out the following steps to recover full data (up to the latest state of the project). If the data files in the project cache are intact, then this workaround should restore your full project.

1) Go to, download the “” and install the air app inside the zip (as mentioned in the blog).

2) Start the air app and select your “project cache location” using the “Browse” button (the default location is” My Documents\Adobe Captivate Cached Projects”). Now click the “Refresh” button. This will list all the project names for which the project cache folder is available.

3) Check if you can see your project (which is not opening in captivate) listed there. If yes, then double click on that row in the air app, this should display a dialog containing the “Cache Path” as shown in the image below.

4) Now go inside this “Cache Path” folder and inside the “db” sub-folder, check whether the following exist in it:
                a)            compressed_data (folder)
                b)            objects (folder, this should contain an objects.cpo file and its size must be > 0 KB
                c)            uncompressed_data (folder)
                d)            audio.cpad (file, size > 0 KB)
                e)            info.cpi (file, size > 0 KB)
                f)             text.cptd (file, size > 0 KB)
                g)            thumbnails.cpth (file, size > 0 KB)

If these folders and files are present, then select them and create a zip file. Now rename this .zip to .cptx.

Note that there may be other files/folders inside “db” (e.g. already_in_use.lock, backup_data, etc.). Don’t include them while creating the zip, just include the ones mentioned above

5) Open the .cptx file in Captivate 5.

Note: This workaround may not work always.

In some scenarios the newly created cptx (created in step 4 above) might have some unsaved changes also (e.g. when the project had some unsaved changes and Captivate crashed, you may see those unsaved changes in the cptx sometimes).

Posted by Rahul Sharma5:03 PM
  • Steve Howard


  • Maggie B

    When I try to create a zip file, it says it is too large. I looked at each of my folders, and it looks like my files are > 0 KB. Does this mean it will not work? Can I try a db.rar?

    Is Adobe doing anything to address this issue? I have this problem with every project in Captivate 5.

    • Maggie, I’ve never seen that one. I would be curious to learn more though. File corruption like this is extremely rare. If you’re getting it consistently we’d be really interested to see that. Is there anything unusual about your computer configuration?

  • Satvinder

    I followed the steps above but still get the same error

  • Rachel H

    I also get corrupted files. Not all the time but it appears to happen when I have over 250 + slides. It is extremely frustrating as these projects are time consuming and the thought of having to start over is extremely overwhelming. I will turn on my back-up now that I know how. But would appreciate a fix for this problem.

    • tool

      Rachel – Typically, projects over 60 slides is too large for Captivate – especially with a lot of image or video. It’s better to divide the large project into smaller projects and use the aggregate feature to put them into one.

      • Tool, this was the case in Cp 4 but Captivate 5 and higher can easily go into several hundred slides on most computers.

      • Steve

        having a laugh right? no more than 60 slides.. that makes it almost useless

    • Monalisset

      The first time this happened to me…I was very surprised to learn that the backup setting is not a “default.” I thought that was the least Adobe could do to help prevent the loss of data.

      • Magic

        Yeah, I discovered that as well. at least going forward I’ll know to have the backup setting on. Too late for this project.

  • Frank Jacobs

    Thanks for this. Saved (recovered) me at least 6 hours of work.

  • Teachgr3

    This was awsome! Save me many hours.

  • D_kipling

    This just saved me two or more full days of work. Unbelievable!

    You get going on these “solution” threads and 90% of them don’t pan out; it’s very refreshing to have the actual steps (that work) and a successful process.

  • Tony

    Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you

    life saver!!

  • Anjaneai

    This is an Awesome Process and and is very helpful in cases a person has done a great deal of efforts!! Rahul ….You Rock!

  • Anjaneai

    This is an Awesome Process and and is very helpful in cases a person has done a great deal of efforts!! Rahul ….You Rock!

  • Jstevens

    OMG! Thank you SO much. I love Adobe’s solution: “If your project has become corrupted and will not open, then it most likely is not recoverable.”

  • Anonymous

    Life saving! Thanks a lot

  • Gary Fewkes

    You are a life saver.

  • Suzana

    What does it mean if you can see the file is in there but when using the the clear cache program is states ‘ no proejct found’. I can see it listed in the folder??

  • You just resurrected my day’s work!!! Thanks!

  • Magic

    it would be REALLY nice if this option was listed as a workaround BEFORE the instructions to “clear your cache if your project is corrupt.” I did that first and now do not have a cache file to attempt to recover.

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  • Abbie M.

    Thanks, It worked!

  • Megelias

    Oh. My. Lord. You just saved me so much work. Thank you.

  • Belles1

    Unbelievable, thank you so much. Saved me 2 days of work!

  • Stu

    This worked for me as well. Thank you for the work around!!!!!

  • Glenn

    Worked here too. Phew!

  • Katherine Gill

    I have tried to use this process but when I have created the zip folder it won’t let me open it with Captivate 5. Does anyone know how to do this? Or am I zipping wrong? I selected all the objects then right-clicked and said Send to compressed folder…

  • Crashzors

    Thank You!

  • Allison Jones

    Yet another thrilled reader whose bacon was saved!

  • Guest

    What A LIFE SAVER! This original post is nearly two years-old. I cannot believe that Adobe would not have created a patch, or some sort of safeguard for this incredibly disastrous issue!! In my case, I did NOTHING, but simply change my “working folder” for FMR’s. That was IT. Next thing I know, SEVEN project files (I’m talking about a whole year’s worth of work!!) just disappeared. The only one not blown out was the one that I had open at the time. Thank you so much, Lilybri and others, who pointed to the posting for using the AIR utility!

    Adobe, if you’re listening, I’m sorry, but this is was a serious enough issue that I am considering giving up on this product and going to Camtasia. There are enough annoyances within the program, without having to wonder if/when this will ever happen again.

  • Mrmattyb1985

    You sir are a legend!

  • Lisa

    Can’t thank you enough for this you complete and utter STAR! Could have cried when I thought I’d lost weeks worth of work. Back up created… lesson learned.

  • Andy

    This fix just saved me a TON of work, thanks so much! One thing Adobe should consider is assigning a rep to every company over, say, 500 people, and having that rep come by monthly and offer to let people punch him in the face. I know I would feel a lot better about Adobe if I could put a human face on the company, and punch it.

    • Nick Barr


  • goofy

    Oh my gosh rahul i worship your knowledge

  • Great workaround! Thanks Adobe you just saved me a lot of time.

  • Gardner

    Thank you so much!! I was able to recover my project with your instructions! yay!

  • Jacob

    Thanks a lot for this article, it really saved me a ton of time, and now I have the backup enabled.

  • Karel

    Is there a way for me to make some sort of financial donation to you, Rahul, as the author of this article? You just saved me six hours of work. Let’s me know, I am happy to paypal 50 bucks over to you, so you keep coming up with these sorts of solutions. I am forever in your debt.

  • Pat

    Thanks Adobe. Because your software just corrupted my work, I will not meet my deadline. Not only is my current file corrupted but so is the backup. I’ve always made a point of closing files before shutting down my laptop becuase of this BUG that you can’t seem to fix.
    At least you could fix the error message. The message says that it is possibly due to hard disk does not have sufficient room. So a colleague suggested clearing my cache and now I have NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING. I am so annoyed that I am switching for my next project to software that works.

  • Happy

    Thank you so much for posting this. It worked perfectly!!! You have saved me so many hours of work, and probably thousands of dollars in medical bills since my blood pressure has now returned to normal levels. Thank You!!!

  • Heidi

    You are my new favorite person of ALL TIME!

  • Deepali

    You are really a life saver!!! You Rock!!

  • THANK YOU!!!!! You’ve truly done some good in the world

  • Rafd


    Thank you so much for that recovery workaround…

    You just saved my week-end

  • RImmer

    What about Captivate 6? And WTF is happening here and why the F wont adobe fix this?

  • ET

    I’m an experienced editor but just started working on Premier. Easy program but the project crashed immediately upon file import. I found this thread while looking for recovery instructions. I see I have to turn on the backup myself, which is odd. This is a serious problem. Is it fixed yet?

  • MOlson

    THANK YOU for this post. Saved my bacon … and hours upon hours of work!

  • Crys

    This is literally the greatest solution I’ve found on an Adobe forum yet! I just did this with a Captivate 6 file and it worked beautifully! Thank you so very much!

  • Maddy

    awesome….it worked like magic

  • Primie

    Rahul Sharma you’re my hero!Thank you!…Thank you!I don’t know how to thank you on this!!!!….You save my ultimate file ..!!!

  • Darrel

    Im having trouble renaming the file to a .cptx file. How do you do that?

  • vreten

    great tutorial

  • Chris Seepe

    This process still appears to work for Captivate 7…. THANKS SO MUCH!

    Thank you Adobe Development for designing the application in an intelligent way, so there are possible ways to recover corrupted projects.
    Now, about making the ‘Generate Project Backup’ option enabled by default……With TB+ drives, I don’t see why not.

  • lasnite

    Andy, Issues much?

  • quinnlavin

    I too work in an environment where IT wouldn’t allow dbcache to be installed on my system, so I want others in this situation to know how I retrieved my corrupt project without dbcache. I am currently using Adobe Captivate 5.0. I made my best guess as to which cache folder was the correct one by searching for the file objects.cpo and selecting the folder that came up in this search with the most recent date/time. I followed the directions in step 4 to zip and rename the file. Once completed, I right clicked on the file and chose to “open with Adobe Captivate”. A couple of notes I want to be specific about: 1) When I tried to open the file from Adobe Captivate, it wouldn’t open. I had to right-click the renamed file and choose “open with”. 2) If it doesn’t work the first time, try some different cache file alternatives if you find multiples with an objects.cpo file. I had to go through a few different files before I got it to work and my objects.cpo file was not 0KB, so I’m not certain it must be in order to get it to work. Good luck!

  • Chris

    Thank you times infinity! Worked perfectly, even for Captivate 7!

  • JP

    Worked Perfectly with Captivate 5. Did not need to do anything with the objects.cpo file though. It was about 5mb and I left it that way and had no issues.

  • Jeffus

    You beauty. You’ve saved me a week’s lost work

  • Mike Desculity

    2015 Captivate 8 crashed after all day work. project is in cached folder but it does not have thumbnail files, all the others are there. Does that mean it can not be recovered? I tried all the zipping combinations. Thank you.

  • Lissen

    Nice blog, I’m new at Captivate. I have worked on several projects today. Published them all frequently during the day. From the publish progress bar I read that it was saved, but they were not saved to the folder on my computer with the ctpx. My computer crashed and a whole days work is now gone 🙁 Is it possible to restore the .ctpx from the published file?

  • Alina Gilmore

    I came to work this morning only to find out my entire 12 hours of work in Captivate 8 from the previous day GONE.I was so frustrated, because I couldn’t find a trace of my project. I came across this blog post about retrieving the project cached and it WORKED! I am so relieved right now that I don’t have to start over.

    • poojajaisingh

      Alina, I’m glad you were able to recover the project! 🙂

  • John


  • bbcgrrrl

    GREAT! I can’t use it because I work in an environment that doesn’t allow downloads! Thanks for nothing again Adobe!

  • Lightning1

    Nice! Thanks, it worked.

  • Preeti

    Thanks so much for these instructions, Rahul. They saved me tons of time and the anguish of recreating 150+ slides. Here is what happened: I got an error that Windows was running low in memory and to save my work. I saved and while I was in the process of shutting down my computer, Captivate crashed. The resulting file was just a shell–5.47 MB– and would not open. I had to work with the client’s IT Helpdesk to install dcache and then just followed the steps outlined here. Thanks again, Rahul!

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