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What is a blend1 file and how do we use them?

It took a while for me to realize that Blender sometimes kept a second file saved when working on a project, the blend1 file. When I realized I got curious and had to find out why that was.

A blend1 file is a backup file automatically saved by Blender in the same directory as the original blend file. Every time you save, your previous saved blendfiles file extension is changed with a number that increments for every save. By default, blender saves one backup file. 

In this article we take a deeper dive and explain what the blend1 file is and how to add a blend 2, blend 3 and so on. Do we actually need them and if so, how can we make the most of them?

Related content: Blender, saving and recovering: Don't lose your work ever again

Let’s dive in.

What is a blend1 file?

A blend1 file is a kind of backup file. When you save using CTRl+S or by going to save through the file menu, and you have saved the file previously, you will save over the last save normally. But what Blender does is that it renames the previous save to filename.blend1 adding a number on the file extension. Then it saves the new file as filename.blend. So you are left with the save you just did, plus the previous save.

We can have multiple such backup files and Blender will keep renaming all the files, incrementing their number. Then Blender will delete the last one. So if we have told Blender to save 3 backup files, When a file reaches filename.blend3 that file will be deleted instead of incrementing to filename.blend4.

By default, Blender keeps one backup file, therefore we often refer to any such backup files as blend1 files even if the number can increase up to the maximum of 32 copies.

We can set the number of backup files Blender stores in the preferences.

  • Go to edit->Preferences
  • Go to the Save and load section
  • Find the "save versions setting
  • Change it to the number copies you would like blender to save Between 0 and 32.

Do I need blend1 files?

To understand how we might use blend1 files as backup files, we need to first understand some advantages and disadvantages.

If you don't have another backup solution in place, blend1 backup files can be good to keep around as you are working on your project to prevent data loss. But only if you have the right saving habits.

The advantage of the backup files is that they are kept automatically. The biggest case against them is that they use a lot of hard drive space, especially if you also pack external data into your blend files. Each extra backup file you keep will essentially add a copy of your blend file.

The advantage we get from this automatic saving of previous saves is that we can use them to recover a previous state of our project. For instance, your blend file might become corrupt thanks to a power failure or some other circumstance. Another reason is that you might lose data right before you save, maybe you accidentally deleted something and saved the file only to later realize that you needed what you deleted.

So, the reason can both be technical failure or a human error.

If we want to use these backup files depends primarily on our hard drive space and our saving habits. If you have a habit of saving every 5 seconds, you will likely not benefit much from the backup files since there will be very little difference between them and chances that you are able to recover lost or corrupt data from one of these backup files becomes very small.

However, if you save more like, every 15-30 minutes you are much more likely to have a backup file that isn't corrupt or has the error in it that you are trying to get around by recovering from backup.

This backup system may very well be redundant with another backup system you have in place. But chances are that if you are a regular Blender user that you don't have much backup in place. So, this is most likely a feature most useful for people that already have a backup infrastructure setup to have at least a little chance to recover data.

How do I open a blend1 file?

There are a few ways we can open a blend1 file. The easiest is to follow these steps:

  • Open Blender.
  • Go to file->open.
  • Press the filter button in the top right corner.
  • Check "Backup .blend files" to view the backup files in the browser.
  • Browse to and select the backup file you want to open.
  • Press Open.

Another way is to rename your blend1 file and open it through your file browser. Here is how to do this on Windows.

  • Open file explorer, you can do this by pressing Win+E.
  • Browse for where you have stored your blend1 file.
  • Select your backup file, right click and choose to rename or Press F2.
  • Remove the number from the file extension and change the filename to something unique.
  • Double click the file to open it in Blender.

If you cannot see or change the file extension, click view in the explorer ribbon. Next select option and go to the view tab in the window that pops up. Then uncheck "hide extensions for known file types".

Can I delete a blend1 file?

If you don't need the backup file, it is safe to delete it. It won't affect the original blend file or any other data.

We can delete a blend1 file either through Blender or through our operating systems file browser.

To delete a blend1 file through Blender, follow these steps:

  • Open Blenders file browser editor. You can do this by changing the 3D viewport into a file browser by hitting Shift+F1. To change it back, Press Shift+F5.
  • Select the blend1 file.
  • Press X to delete

You can also delete it in your operating systems file browser just like any other file by following these steps.

  • Open the file brwoser, on Windows, press Win+E
  • Navigate to your blend1 file
  • Select the file and press Shift+Delete to instantly delete it or press just delete to move it to the recycle bin for later deletion.

Final thoughts

In this article we covered the backup files that we call blend1 files. What they are, if we need them or not and how to open them or delete them.

They can be good to keep around if you don't have another backup system in place. But for a lot of people they may also be a waste of space.

When it comes to data backups and security functions, you will have to make up your own mind in the end. We have to strike a balance between usability and security. Is it worth the extra space? Perhaps not if we are stuck on a 100GB hard drive, but if we have 1TB to spare, we might not feel the difference.

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Thanks for your time.

Author

Erik Selin
3D artist, writer, and owner of artisticrender.com

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