How to ensure a clean uninstall and update of SolidWorks

Version 16

    Whether you're installing a new version or Service Pack (SP) of SolidWorks, there are choices and decisions that need to be made. This tech tip will help explain these topics and help you make a more informed decision on steps to be taken when updating or upgrading SolidWorks.


    An upgrade is when a new version is installed on the computer (SolidWorks 2009 to SolidWorks 2010). An update is going from one service pack of the same release to another (SolidWorks 2009 SP1 to SolidWorks 2009 SP3).


    Note: See the Uninstalling SolidWorks section for updates.



    Insure you have backups


    Backups are an essential element to insure you have protected your data. Always make sure you have adequately protected your data no matter whether you are updating your software or not. Items to check:

    • All SolidWorks system options using the Copy Settings Wizard. Save these settings on a network drive.
    • All other SolidWorks settings (i.e., keyboard shortcuts, menu customizations, and toolbar layouts) should be saved by the individual users using the Copy Settings Wizard. This backup file should be intuitively named (i.e., SWSetting-User.sldreg) so each user can easily restore their settings on any computer.
    • Backup all document templates, Toolbox databases, and more. Any item that has been customized (i.e., templates, macros, and more) should not be stored in the SolidWorks installation directory. Put these documents and files on the network and reference the location within the Tools\Options\File Locations dialog box.
    • To insure all files and system settings are restorable, you can use a Windows Backup and Restore feature to create a restore point.



    Things you will need before you start


    Before starting the process, there are some things you will need to have. Make sure you have access to the following:

    • Obtain the software. The updates can be downloaded from the SolidWorks Customer Portal (Downloads area). For more information, visit You will need a valid subscription service contract and a Customer Portal login.
    • DVD's are shipped when you purchase the software and when major versions are released (Subscription Service Customers).
    • Insure you have Administrative or Power User privileges on the computer.
    • Information (i.e., serial numbers, etc.) available for activation or insure your SNL (SolidWorks Network Licensing) license file and server is configured.



    What if I have SolidWorks already installed:


    For new versions of SolidWorks (while the old version can be updated), you can just upgrade your install. This assumes you only want to keep one version of SolidWorks on your computer. For. For service packs, there is no need to go to this extent. Just update the release to the current service pack.


    Multiple versions of SolidWorks can be run at the same time on one computer. Unless the old version is needed, it is best to only have the current version on the computer. Do not run multiple services packs of the same version on the same computer, this is a bad practice and can cause issues and SolidWorks will block this at some point in the future.


    If you want to keep two major versions on your computer:

    • Create names for the SolidWorks installation directories that are based on the version and service pack for SolidWorks. For example, SolidWorks 2010 SP1 would have an installation directory name of SolidWorks2010.
    • Set a SolidWorks Data location based on version and also decide whether to share the data with others on a network drive. To run multiple versions on the same computer, make sure this directory has been named to the desired version of SolidWorks (i.e., SolidWorks Data10). To update this directory, copy the SolidWorks Data directory to a new location and rename for the new version (i.e., old = SolidWorks Data09, new = SolidWorks Data10). Point to new directory during the update and SolidWorks will update the database during the update.
    • If you are running only one version of SolidWorks, you can update the SolidWorks Data (Toolbox) directory when you update to the major version.



    Uninstalling SolidWorks **UPDATED**


    To uninstall SolidWorks, use the Windows Control Panel / Uninstall a program feature. This will start the SolidWorks Installation Manager and allow you to select versions to uninstall.




    If you uninstall SolidWorks this way, the Windows Registry and some of the SolidWorks installation files (templates, etc.) will still exist.


    There are advanced options that can be set to completely remove all settings. This will remove the SolidWorks install directories and Window Registry keys. This means your next install will be "clean". No need for batch files or hand editing the Windows Registry.




    Reminders when uninstalling SolidWorks:

    • Make sure all files, templates, and other SolidWorks settings and configuration files are backed up prior to running this batch file or removing any of these values.

    Other items...


    For major versions, it is a good practice to review all Tools/Options settings as items are added and it does not take long to review and create a new system settings file using the Copy Settings Wizard. Make sure you have a file with the information (i.e., File Locations) that you have customized.


    Also for major version updates, if you have an existing Toolbox (SolidWorks Data) directory and you will only have one copy of SolidWorks on your computer, you can update the Toolbox database by selecting "Use an existing Toolbox:..." as shown below. If you are keeping two major versions of SolidWorks on your computer, copy and rename the SolidWorks Data directory and upgrade the copy for the new major version.






    Now you are well prepared for updating your SolidWorks installation. The practices listed help to insure a clean, consistent update, these processes help to minimize issues and in the long run save time and effort. SolidWorks always looks to find ways to streamline and automate this process. It's important to have a good plan and an understanding of how best to keep your installation robust for new releases and service packs; this will make your experience with SolidWorks and your interaction with your users better and more productive.




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