I was working on a very large model (that I now wish I had broken into more submodels) that crashed ArcGIS. Before it crashed I saw an error that I think said "temporary file could be loaded" (I can't remember the exact error.)

"I'm glad I saved recently," I thought to myself.

Then I open ArcMap and the model appears blank. When I view properties for the model, I still see the parameters, but when I edit the model there are no tools in there anymore.

Does anyone know how I could recover my work?

  • I've been having the same problem, something about a Temp file. Couldn't reopen the Model (via Edit) the first time, I tried it again and got it back. If at first you don't succeed... Jul 26, 2018 at 3:37
  • Request a backup from your IT Department if possible. Sorry for your loss. I'm on ArcGIS Desktop 10.8.1 and make a backup of my toolbox to my C drive every 3-5 changes, just in case. Mar 8, 2021 at 23:13

2 Answers 2


Talk to your IT department to see if you have a backup on your local drive.

To locate your ArcToolbox local storage settings do the follow:

  1. Right Click your Toolbox the model is stored in
  2. Click Properties

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  1. Find "Location" enter image description here

  2. copy the Location(e.g. C:AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.3\ArcToolbox\My Toolboxes\Trial1.tbx)

    1. have your IT department run a back-up on the file location...remove the toolbox name though. (e.g. C:AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.3\ArcToolbox\My Toolboxes)

I'm having the same issue with a very large (relative to models Ive developed) model tool. After a certain size, it began slowing down, slow to open editing, slow to add a process, slow to even move an existing or new element.

A dialog started popping up "Could Not Locate Temp File"

I received this pop-up many times now, and each time I know that Ive lost everything that i didn't have backed up. Saving often was NOT a solution because the saved or unsaved model was not recoverable. My solution was and IS to save, and then back up the entire toolbox in an archive folder. Im currently backing up after every 4-6 changes, additions, mods, and even visual changes to process box placements. All end up blowing up my model.

This particular model is at a limit of some kind, just not sure what its limited out on. Ive searched around and found only this thread containing any similar circumstance.

  • I'm having this exact issue with my model in ArcMap 10.8 right now -- any chance you've come across a solution? Oct 8, 2020 at 13:33

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