Perform a soft ArcGIS Desktop reset

Last Published: October 11, 2021


Issues related to application profile failure and applications crashing can occur in ArcGIS Desktop if the registry entry is corrupted. Performing a soft reset resolves the issue by closing applications and clearing data in the RAM, in contrast to a hard reset, where user data are removed, and the device is restored to its factory settings.

This article describes how to perform a soft ArcGIS Desktop reset.


Perform a soft reset by renaming the roaming and local profiles, and editing the Windows registry for ArcGIS Desktop applications.

If there are concurrent licenses on the machine, return any borrowed licenses before performing the workarounds below. For more information on borrowed licenses, refer to ArcMap: Borrowing and returning concurrent use licenses.

Rename the roaming and local profiles

The AppData folder is hidden. To display hidden folders, refer to Microsoft Windows Support: Show hidden files.
  1. Close all ArcGIS applications.
  2. Navigate to the AppData folder.
  1. Navigate to the Roaming and Local profiles.
  2. Navigate to the Esri folders.
  3. Rename the Desktop10.x folders to Desktop10.x_old in the Esri folders. In this example, Desktop10.7.
  • Roaming profile:
  • Local Profile:
Image the Desktop 10.x folder in the Roaming Profile of the AppData folder
Image of the Desktop 10.x folder in the Local Profile of the AppData folder

Make edits in the Registry Editor

Editing the Windows registry requires administrator privileges on the machine and must only be done as a last resort. Perform a backup of the registry or machine before proceeding with the steps below. Consult a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary. Esri is not liable for incorrect modifications following these instructions. User discretion is advised.
  1. Open the Windows Start Menu.
  2. In the search bar, type regedit and press Enter. If prompted, click Yes in the User Account Control window.
Image of the Registry Editor in the Start menu
  1. In the Registry Editor window, expand the HKEY_CURRENT_USER folder.
  2. Expand the Software folder.
  3. Expand the ESRI folder.
  4. Right-click the Desktop10.7 folder, and rename the folder to Desktop10.7_old.
Image of steps to rename the Desktop 10.x folder in Registy Editor
  1. Restart the machine.

A new Desktop10.7 folder is created when launching an ArcGIS Desktop application.

Article ID:000014992

  • ArcMap

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options