Recently a client asked how he would go about editing a PanelView Plus .MER file his customer had sent him.
Unfortunately there' no simple answer to this question, so in today's article we'll cover the basic steps you need to take to extract ViewStudio projects from ME runtime files.
Converting a version 5.0 or greater .MER runtime application file back into an editable project (Updated: December, 2020)
If you’re using FactoryTalk ViewStudio v10 or later, then you’re in luck.
As long as the .MER file was created as v5.0 or greater with “allow conversion” selected, and you either know the password or there isn't one (sometimes .MERs are created with a blank password,) it’s as easy as running Rockwell’s Application Manager and choosing, “Restore runtime application.”
But if you’re using FactoryTalk ViewStudio 6.1 through 9.0 it gets a little complicated 🙁
These versions of ViewStudio can't convert old 5.0, 5.1, or 6.0 .MERs (which have an old 32bit database) when running on a 64bit version of Windows (7/8/10. Note that XP 64 bit was never supported.)
This issue was resolved in v10, but if you don't have access to v10 and you're running v6.1-9.0 on a 64bit version of Windows, you will only be able to restore 6.1 or newer .MERs which have a 64bit DB. The .MER would also have to have been created with “allow conversion” selected, and you also have to know the password if there is one.
If your .MER runtime file is a version 5.0, 5.1, or 6.0 and you don't have access to version 10 or greater of ViewStudio, then you’ll need a PC (or VM) with ViewStudio installed on a 32bit Windows OS in order to restore those runtime applications.
Note that there is also a free utility you can run on a 32bit OS to convert version 5.0-6.0 runtime applications so they can be restored on a 64 bit version of Windows, and we cover this in our article here.
Recovering pre-version 5.0 .MER runtime file
If your MER file is older than version 5.0, well there is no easy answer. ME Runtime files prior to 5.0 were not designed to be recovered back into a project, and the following procedure won’t recover 100% of it's contents.
The first step in the process of recovering a pre-5 .MER file is to load it into ViewME Station on a 32 bit Windows OS, the most common of which is Windows XP.
If you don't actually own a ViewME Station Runtime license, you'll either need to be in the 7 day grace period (more on that HERE) or you'll need to obtain a 30 day temporary license from your local Rockwell office or authorized distributor (more information on this HERE.)
When you do load (do not run) the MER file into ViewME Station Runtime, the software extracts the MER file's contents into a hidden temporary folder.
This hidden folder is typically found under “Documents and Settings\User Name\Local Settings\Temp,” although the exact path changes slightly from OS to OS.
The name of the hidden folder the MER runtime get's extracted to is typically “~MER.00.”
To recover this project, you should first copy the entire ~MER folder to a more accessible and less temporary location. Then, open View Studio ME and choose “new,” then “import,” and then select the .MED file inside the ~MER.00 folder.
The above process will import the extracted .MER file contents into your new project. It will contain the original graphic displays, tags, and many other parts of your MER runtime. However, text heavy parts of the project like Alarms, Parameters, and Macros, as well as the RSLinx Enterprise (or other) communications setting, will not be successfully recreated.
NOTE: You can find the RSLinx settings in the ViewME Station Runtime software under Terminal Settings, Network and Communication Settings.
For more information on this subject check out the following Rockwell Knowledgebase documents:
- 44554 – FactoryTalk View ME: Convert MER file to Project file (publicly accessible)
- 63228 – Restoring a Machine Edition Runtime (MER) file (support contract required)
- 8913 – Recovering a Project from the MER File (support contract required)
I hope you found the above article about editing MER files helpful. If you have any comments, questions, or corrections please don’t hesitate to leave them by filling in the “post a comment or question” link below.
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