Microsoft AutoRoute error: Filename.axe has a bad format
Hi Everybody

We are in La Rochelle in France

I was preparing today's route on a 5 day old .axe file, ie I had been using the same file for the last 5 days, when I got the message "filename.axe has a bad format".

Game over! AutoRoute whited out and refused to come back.

I take daily backups so I haven't lost the previous days' tracks.

I will restart from my template that has all the POIs for the hotel and hypermarche chains we use and, most importantly, all the "Most Beautiful Villages of France" and recreate today's route to Bordeaux.

There are only 2 Google hits for the error message and only one for .est.

Any ideas about what causes this problem and if so how to prevent it in future?

Andrew Watson
La Rochelle, France
I've seen that error connected with trying to open a newer map file in an older version of the software but not just spontaneously like that. Sounds strange.

Did you see this message WHILE you were working on the map or during launch?
Does this .axe file crash AR every time you try to view it?

Glad you had backups.
Wow! A reply from Microsoft.

I am using AutoRoute 2010. The AXT template I used to create the AXE was probably created in AR2007 because that was the first version I had.

The template has several hundred POIs in it. The template is 915kb.

I am using an eMachines eM350 Netbook with Windows 7 Starter Edition with 2GB of RAM. The supplied 1GB of RAM wasn't adequate to run AR so I upgraded the RAM to 2GB during our stopover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for A$20. It would have cost about A$60 in Oz.

I had been using the AXE file since 5 April so it was 6 days old. Our average distance per day is about 140km.

It had grown to 10.6Mb which from experience is about the maximum usable size for an AXE file. It was due for retirement as yesterday it had started to flash white every now and then and not keep up with the correct location. I should have started to use a new AXE created from the AXT.

I had removed the previous day's route but it had the 6 days of track data in it.

I created a route from La Rochelle to Bordeaux. I had dragged the route to follow the coast and visit several towns of interest.

Then it came up with the error message and the AR window went white.

When I tried to shutdown AR it refused to die so I shutdown Windows.

I then created a new AXE and recreated the route.

I have just opened the AXE file that gave the error. It has the full planned route in it. I use an AutoIt script I modified to autosave the AXE every 5 minutes. It must have been saved just before the crash happened.

FEATURE REQUEST: It would be very useful if AR and ST had an autosave option.

The reason I use the autosave script is because previous versions of AR and ST I have used had a tendency to crash quite often. To be fair though as far as I can remember ST2010 didn't crash once while being used every day for 3 months in USA and Canada from August to November last year and this is the first time that AR2010 has crashed in a month of usage.

I have dragged the route in the faulty AXE around quite a lot but the error message hasn't recurred.

We did 220km today and the new AXE has grown to 2.2Mb.

I have 25 years experience in PC support so I know my way around PCs.

Andrew Watson
Bordeaux, France

PS Any hints about when AR2011 will be available?

The reason I ask is because we are going to take 4 months to drive from Paris, around the coast of Spain and Portugal, along the Riviera, across northern Italy and the FRoYs (Former Republics of Yugoslavia) to Romania and Bulgaria then back to Paris via Germany with a few other countries like Hungary and Czech Republic in between.

The map coverage in FRoYs and RO and BG and the other former Eastern European countries is a bit sparse (mainly freeways in the country with detailed coverage in a few cities).

I am hoping that the coverage in those countries will be improved in AutoRoute 2011.
First off let me say you trip sounds incredible. What an adventure!

...I have dragged the route in the faulty AXE around quite a lot but the error message hasn't recurred...
Good to hear.

I'll offer a few tips since I can't answer why AutoRoute gave that odd error message

1) Have you tried creating "avoid areas" instead of dragging and dropping the route?
(here is a thread with more details on how to use this feature: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/3820-how-force-streets-trips-follow-scenic-routes-i-e-blue-ridge-parkway)

2) There is a POI-Megafile for AutoRoute 2010 available here: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2595-poi-mega-file-pushpin-collections-truckers-rvers-other-travelers. You may wish to download the file and see if it gives you some additional points of interest for this and future trips.

Enjoy the rest of your trip.
I have used avoid areas twice.

I learnt how to do it 2 or 3 years ago while stuck in a 30 minute traffic jam (there'd been a crash) somewhere in eastern Germany. I created the avoid area and got AutoRoute to reroute. It picked a "wonderful" route that used what appeared to be dirt farm access tracks. At least we got out of the traffic jam and we ended up in a beautiful village that wasn't on our list of places to visit.

I've just remembered that the second time I used an avoid area was a few days ago, ie within the time frame of the AXE that gave the error message. There was a "route barre" sign with no "Deviation" signs. AR found a good route out that time.

I don't think avoid areas are generally of use to us as we very rarely use main roads and almost never use autoroutes (except tonight to get over the Gironde River and avoid the centre ville of Bordeaux on the way to our hotel) so we rely on AR to find all the tiny roads that hug the coast - inland is so boring.

Every night I consult our guide books (look away now people who work for a company that is into DRM) - 40 or so photographed travel books stored on the PC - to work out where to go the next day. I also have POIs for "The Most Beautiful Villages in France"

Les plus beaux villages de France - Site officiel

stored in AR that I use to plot the route by dragging the route between the start and stop hotels. There are usually 20 or 30 via points (to use Garmin terminology) each day.

BTW there is a buglet in AutoRoute 2010. Every now and then when I go to drag the route the route colour changes to light blue and the mouse pointer changes to a hand but you can't drag the route and you can't get the arrow pointer back. To get out I have to press CTRL+A and click in the GPS pane to get the arrow back. This occurs every day or so.

Is the Megafile for Europe? I thought it was USA and Canada only. We do spend 3 months (the maximum time Australians are allowed to stay without a visa) every year in USA and Canada so I could use it then.

However, I already have a STT template with POIs for all the motel chains we use and the supermarkets like Safeway loaded.

My experience is that having a large number of POIs loaded really slows AR and ST down.

Last year we took 4 months to drive from Paris, down the west coast of Italy, around the toe of the boot, ferry to Greece, Turkish Med coast to the Syrian border, up to the Black Sea, back to Istanbul, northern Greece, ferry to Venice and back to Paris through Germany.

It was a great relief to get back to AR in Greece after 2 months in Turkey using Garmin. Turkey would be a great addition to AR's map coverage.

The year before that we took 4 months to drive from Paris to Holland, down the coast to Brittany, ferry to Ireland where we followed the coast all the way around, ferry from Belfast to Scotland, down through UK, ferry to Calais and back to Paris.

The year before that was 6 months touring France, Holland and Germany and England, Scotland and Wales.

None of this would be possible without AR. Please keep up the good work.

In case you can't guess we're retired.

Can you please extract the digression into POI files for beautiful villages of France from Post #6 into a separate thread to make it easier for others to find.
Marvin Hlavac
Done, Andrew: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/4413-poi-files-beautiful-villages-france

Let me now if you wish me to edit it an any way.
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