As I understand it, when creating a new illustrator file the default is to store a a PDF document inside it so that other applications such as InDesign can show a visual representation of the file when linking. (Create PDF Compatible File)
The problem is that having this default option ON makes "ai" files that are enormous. In my case so big Illustrator runs out of memory when attempting to open them. I crete 400DPI ANSI E (34"x44") posters full of effects and images and with the PDF compatibility on the files can be 200MB. I created one poster whose file size is 1.7 GB and it only has a bunch of vector graphics of insignificant size and about 12 placed (linked) photos. Nothing out of the ordinary. I can confirm that if I re-save one of my other 200MB files without the PDF compatibility option on the size drops down to 15MB or less. Unfortunately, I do have a few files which Illustrator fails to open. (Runs out of memory - 12gb ram, solid state HD, 6 core i7-980X Extreme Edition)
The question is; Can I remove the PDF file from the Illustrator file in attempts to open the ai file itself?