KiCad 7 reliability (constant crashes, damaged source files)

Windows 10 - KiCad 7.0.6

While KiCad 7 has brought a wealth of new functions and improvements, it feels like the software itself has become less stable and very unreliable to a point of damaging projects! Schema editor constantly crashes while PCB designer is sometimes very sluggish even on a powerful system.

I have already mentioned about some of the schematics created in older versions of kicad being damaged under certain conditions (system update reboot with .sch open and unsaved), I am now seeing increase in Schematic and PCB Editor crashes that also damaged a few of my project source files.

Latest issue I had is that KiCad Schema/PCB editor would close abruptly without creating any sort of error message or log record. The next time I try to open the project I get a warning that it is already open and saving anything would produce very unexpected results.

While I am able to open the schematic after this message, the PCB file is messed up and won’t load anything, even after a system restart. I would now get the same message on impacted projects anytime I try to open them, independent whether kicad was running or not.


Never ever had I as many reliability issues when working in KiCad 5 or 6. It feels like the devs team is no longer striving for quality product but pumping as many updates as they can. Back in the days we would wait half a year for an update, and never had such serious issues that could damage the project source files, now I am just afraid it will mess up hours of work for no apparent reason!

Make sure your graphics card drivers are up to date.

I can follow your thoughts to a degree. I’m on Linux, where “crashes” are treated in a controlled way.
The “is already open” I’ve had a couple of times, but I can’t pinpoint the situation precisely.
Apart from that, 7.0.6 is very stable, but has it’s own issues on performance/interface compared to V6. That is stuff for another thread.
I think your comment on “pumping updates” instead of focusing on quality has merit.
But that’s a policy decision of the management.
I made some suggestions on correcting bad/incomprehensible UI design in V7 and got told that I’m an idiot. Critique/suggestions not welcome, sorry.
Live with it as it is. It’s free, after all…

One more bug - KiCad EDA 7.0.6 never closes entirely after exiting the program. Can you guys verify in task manager?

Yeah, unfortunately this is almost always how it goes. If I knew KiCad was going down this path, I’d be happy to stay with V5 or V6, but since I’ve migrated all my libraries and most of my projects and did a lot of new projects in V7, I don’t really have a good idea how to roll back without spending a lot of time on it and risking having something messed up even further.

BTW, that message that the file is open is due to corrupt file. It would appear even after system reboot.
Schematic is more or less ok, but I don’t trust it tbh while PCB layout file is entirely messed up. I had to go back to one of the back-ups and continue with it working as an entirely new project directory.

It is a free project, agree, but it was a fantastic and dependable tool a year ago but I no longer feel the same. I was excited when v7 was announced and saddened when I saw they started pumping version after version fixing some bugs and creating a lot more new ones.

Software development is always a compromise especially on development and enhancement of an already released application. First and foremost bugs have to be fixed but there is the unending clamour form users for tweaks, new features, changes in how features are implemented. We all have opinions on how things should work and what could be done better. Bugs should always come first and the first bugs to be fixed will be those reported by many users that are easily reproducible. This gives the biggest benefit for the least use of developer resource.

I think the KiCad team do a good job, the incremental development while too slow for some people (those that want a Altium clone perhaps) is more than adequate for others especially when you consider that the vast majority of the developers time is given for free.

If you want to know the effort that is going on have a look at the Comits that are happening every day, scroll down for a month or two and look at the work that is going on behind the scenes . . . .

it has to do with python plugins

That’s certainly not true. What they actually do on purpose is to leave bug finding and reporting to the users. That way a part of the user base becomes a part of the development team. Remember that all this is Open Source, you get it for totally free. The “cost” is that the development happens mostly on volunteer basis. Those who develop don’t necessarily have as much time as they want, and if they would rigorously test everything on all possible platforms and in every imaginable situation, development would be stalled. Instead there exist people who are willing to test nightly builds of the development branch and testing builds of the stable bugfix branch. KiCad’s development process needs those testers as much as it needs developers. If people test early and often, the found bugs will be fixed soon. Otherwise the bugs will be found and fixed later.

Now, to me it looks like you have bumped into several problems at the same time which makes you feel KiCad is unstable and buggy altogether. But some of those bugs are already known, even fixed in nightly or testing builds. The process hanging after closing may be caused by a badly behaving python plugin. The “file open” warning is caused by a problem with a lock file and has been or will be fixed.

Random sluggishness and crashes are usually more difficult problems, and whatever the software or platform, they are more difficult to debug. It can be an OS problem, HW problem, something related to your system setup, or KiCad’s own fault. Unfortunately nobody can help if the user can’t offer so much information and do so much research that the root cause is found. That’s not a decision made by the developers.


Take a look at the issue tracker.
Bugs that cause corruption or data loss get the highest "critical"priority and if they can be reproduced are release blockers until fixed

This is a bug caused by bad python plugins. We cannot fix this, this is fundamentally a problem of plugins can leave threads and resources running that prevent kicad from fully closing. And Kicad gets no visibility into python to do anything to kill those resources

You need to remove python plugins until you find the one causing the problem.

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Can you clarify: what happens if you click “open anyway”?

It is expected that you get these warnings if KiCad happens to crash while a file is open. However, it doesn’t mean that your file is messed up just because this warning appears.

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By the way, speaking of how us devs do not care about reliability, there is now a release candidate for 7.0.7 available for testing, and we will release 7.0.7 in ~1 week if no blocking issues are found.

You are right about one thing though: we did make an effort to increase the rate of releases. This is because our previous rate of releases was so slow that people were forced to live with bugs for many months (or even years). We want to have more releases with fewer things in each release.

I think @RaptorUK & @bobnecat have a point but only up to a point.
I feel we are finally at a stage or level that KiCAD is SO good people are comparing functionality (or lack of) you Altium. This is an immense achievement and should be borne in mind and not forgotten. The software is emintandly usable both in a private an peofessinal setting.

I have been critical in the past with the usability of KiCAD especially the GUI this is also changing albeit slowly. My wish is there are a few features or niceties that need to be included say in v8 to make the functionary complete but I also wish, at this stage, a line be drawn on version development for a cycle, to concentrate on the front end with perhaps small incremental updates

The feature development period runs from ~February through September, so at this point, what will be in V8 is largely already done. Make sure you upvote whatever feature requests on GitLab match your own needs, or else open new feature requests if there isn’t one already.

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FWIW- I have never had a crash with Kicad, on any version.


Sorry I didn’t mean to be overly crucial far from it - just a post on a forum from a fan

I didn’t take offense to your post, just wanted to make sure you know that V8 new feature development will be done soon, so I would not expect major changes (UI or otherwise) to go in to V8 (instead they would be for V9 or later). And also to point out that if you do not upvote or create issues with desired changes, there is very little chance they will happen.

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Ah! point taken.

To be honest 2 things I find the gitlab thing a bit a pain - from memory you needed a password longer than your arm ( wish something could be implemented via this forum logon TBH). And secondly my annoyances are not annoying enough t get my lazy arse up and go through the rigmorole of the above.Again a testimony to how far KiCAD has come.
It did seem easier years ago to report things. A bug report mechanism from with KiCAD would be nice.

There is one! But you still need a GitLab login. You can choose to sign in to GitLab with a Google account if you have one, so you don’t need to create a new password. But anyway I recommend using a password manager so that you can create secure passwords for any sites you use.

Same here, it’s kind you cannot critique the software with improvement ideas.

I mean I thought the forum was about that, but it reveals itself more and more to be a place where people has to prove how wonderful the software is.

I am trying to use it professionally and I am more than willing to donate part of the revenue when money comes in with the help of kicad.