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Working from home with your SOLIDWORKS Licences

Thursday March 12, 2020 at 12:00pm

In the current climate relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) there is a growing potential for more people to be temporarily self-isolating or working from home. While this can be inconvenient, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot continue to be productive with your SOLIDWORKS licence.

**Updated 13th December 2021**

SOLIDWORKS products are licenced in various ways and it’s possible, in most cases, to temporarily transfer your licences to a home PC so you can continue to work whilst away from the office.

Here is a short summary on some techniques you can use to help you work remotely or from home using SOLIDWORKS. Please be aware that every user licence is different and you may need to work with your IT department or administrators to enable changes and remote network access.

Standalone Licensing

Let’s start with a scenario that applies to the majority of SOLIDWORKS users. If you are using a standalone SOLIDWORKS product with “Product Activation” then you should be able to “Transfer” the licence by “Deactivating” on your office workstation and “Activating” on another supported PC.

This is a simple process but you will need to prepare before proceeding. Here is a link to the simple install guide for Standalone SOLIDWORKS products. It outlines the steps to find your serial numbers, check your PC meets the requirements and how to download the installation media.

Once you have prepared your secondary PC you can then transfer the licence from your main workstation. This requires physical access to the PC in question, so if you are already at home, you might need to ask a colleague or IT admin to do this on your behalf.

  2. Go to Help > Licences > Deactivate
  3. Choose the products that you need to transfer (the list is dependent on purchased licences) and press the “Next” button and follow the prompts.
  4. The licence(s) will be sent from the local PC and be available to activate on another PC
  5. On the secondary PC, when SOLIDWORKS is installed and then loaded for the first time it will ask you to activate the licence. Follow the dialog box prompts to complete the process

For further information, or a more concise description of the transfer process, please refer to the full SOLIDWORKS Installation and Administration manual found here. Page 107-108 details the standalone process mentioned above.

Network Licensing

The last scenario that might happen to you is if you run your SOLIDWORKS products in the SolidNetWork Licence Manager (SNL) environment. The SNL software hosts a “pool” of licences on your company network and allows client PCs to connect to and use licences locally, if available.

The SNL environment also allows client PCs to effectively “Borrow” a licence of SOLIDWORKS, and other purchased products if available, for up to 30 days to be used when disconnected from the company network.

This may be a useful method of taking a licence “offsite” if you need to work remotely or from home.

It’s worth bearing in mind that for a PC to borrow a licence it must be connected to the same network as the SNL server. Once borrowed, it can be moved offsite temporarily or disconnected from the network for the borrowed period.

The steps to borrow a licence is outlined in the help guide here and on page 122 of the Installation guide here

If you have a VPN connection and the licence server is available when working remotely you can also take a network licence from the pool (some firewall exceptions may be needed for ports 25734 and 25735). In this setup however we do NOT recommend borrowing a licence when connected via VPN as there are occurrences where the MAC address does not remain constant while connected via VPN and this can lead to the borrowed licence get stuck in a hung state. 

Remote Access

You may choose to investigate remote access tools to your office PC so you effectively "drive" the PC from elsewhere and benefit from the setup you already have in the office (i.e. direct access to the server/network drives). 

Windows has its own tool called "Remote Desktop" and this will rely on a VPN access and Windows settings to enable Remote Desktop connections. Once connected you drive the remote machine direct with the PC you are sat at acting as a portal.

Third party tools such as TeamViewer and LogMeIn could be viable options too. These will require additional licences and purchases and will allow you to drive the office PC after it has had an application installed on to it and the option for "Unattended Access" enabled (otherwise it would need a user to initiate a session just like the screen share service we use for Support). These tools are typically designed for shorter troubleshooting type sessions, but you should be able to use them for prolonged access.

In all cases the PC at the office will need to be permanently switched on and you May find SOLIDWORKS runs in a limited graphics mode called Use Software Open GL which can lead to slower performance.

Whilst we have not been able to test this, we have found some advice on how you can enable an option on the work machine (so long as it uses the Windows 10 Operating System) to allow the full GPU (graphics) engine to be uses: 

Working from home with your SOLIDWORKS PDM Licence

If you are a SOLIDWORKS PDM user planning to take your PC or laptop home to work remotely, there are a few things you will want to consider. Please click here to find out more.


So, hopefully one of the above three methods will help you to continue using your SOLIDWORKS products from home or remote locations.

One thing to also consider is how you might access your files and data. This is hard to give concise advice as every user and company operates on different networks infrastructures and data management policies.

If you still need remote access to your company networks and data, a common method is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to allow your PC to “see” your office network as if you are still sat at your desk.

Since VPN software and IT infrastructures are often controlled by IT departments and company policy, please seek advice from your system administrators.

As always, if you have any questions relating to the points above or would like further advice and information on SOLIDWORKS Product Licensing, please get in touch with our Technical Support team or call us on 01926 333 777.

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