Do you have references to best practice, or examples where you have recovered Models or can you share your expertise on how to avoid the "Unable to save model" error within ModelBuilder using ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop?

Alternatively can you advise on situations to avoid which cause this error to occur.

There is very little help information on this topic.

There is a linked question here Do you use a proven workflow to edit and document ArcGIS ModelBuilder models? - that shares advice on how to track the building of models, so you always have a clean copy of the model to go back to. Comment there if you have comments about the process of tracking edits / changes to Models.


I don't have an answer to avoid this issue but my typical solution is to backup the model occasionally. The "failed to save" error just happened to me. It is frustrating to say the least. If you don't have a backup, you lose everything. When you open the model later it is completely empty.

I brought this problem up at the UC a couple years ago to one of the model builder reps from ESRI, but he had never heard of it. I know of at least 4 other people in my office that have had this happen. It seems to occur when my model gets fairly large.

  • Over the years I have done a lot of editing of large models (with around 500 elements in them) in versions from about 9.3 to 10.2. I have definitely seen the "failed to save" error that you and the asker describe but it has only happened to me on I think two days, and on those two days it happened repeatedly and inexplicably. I think the version I was using at the time was 10.1 or 10.2. Taking frequent copies/backups is the way I guard against it but it is a nasty and unfortunately non-reproducible problem that nevertheless does occur (and I wish would disappear). – PolyGeo Sep 25 '14 at 23:35
  • When this has happened to me it has typically been destination-specific, not model specific. Save as to a different location has worked if pointing to a new fresh toolbox. At least in my case, the original toolbox had some corruption going on (not sure if I could save OTHER models to the original one either). – ako Dec 19 '14 at 19:18

There is a discussion thread about this on ESRI GeoNet, but it blames all of the problems on network shares created in Windows 7 or earlier.

This is the thread:


You will need some sort of login to comment there. Owning ESRI software is optional, anyone can have a login who has email.

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