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SOLIDWORKS 2018 Install/Upgrade - Our Top tips

Monday November 13, 2017 at 11:48am
SOLIDWORKS 2018 has now been released, check out this blog for some of our top tips for the best possible start with the upgrade & installation. 
With the release of SOLIDWORKS 2018 I wanted to put together a useful resource to plan the upgrade to try and ensure the installation goes as smoothly as possible.

Here are my “Top 10 Tips”

1- Plan when to upgrade- think about current projects you have on the go- are deadlines looming, are there implications if you update SOLIDWORKS (i.e. are you working with suppliers that also use SOLIDWORKS that won’t have updated?). Plan accordingly and consult colleagues as you need to ensure all SOLIDWORKS installs are upgraded at the same time. Also consider if you have plug-ins, ERP, MRP systems that integrate with SOLIDWORKS? Are these compatible with a new release or would 3rd party programs need updating too?

2- Review the SOLIDWORKS System Requirements- there are some notable changes to server based software for SOLIDWORKS 2018 (SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 are no longer supported).

3- Prepare the software download ahead of time. It is hugely frustrating when beginning a large software install and finding hours are wasted downloading due to slow internet speeds. With the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager you can download ahead of the planned install date by using the “Download and Share All Files” option on the first screen. That way you have all the software, which can be shared with colleagues, and all of you can proceed with only the install when you plan to deploy. Run the download overnight so not to hog bandwidth.



4- Serial keys and documentation- do you have this information recorded i.e. which user is using which key? If upgrading the software on the same machine as a previous release then you are likely fine- SOLIDWORKS detects this. For a new PC though you need to ensure the same serial keys from the user’s old machine are noted to be used on the new one- and the activations are transferred from the old setup (in SOLIDWORKS use Help > Deactivate License).

5- What Server based products do you use? Things like PDM, SOLIDWORKS Electrical, and Network (floating) licenses need server components to be updated, and normally first. You cannot really do this in advance either since they need to be version aligned with the client so you have to plan accordingly. As a result, have you access to the passwords/permissions required to conduct server based updates, or do you need to involve IT?

6- When conducting the actual SOLIDWORKS install, then ensure you are logged into your PC as a Local Administrator - a user with Admin permissions may not be high enough access. My rule is, would you rather spend a little more time requesting Local Admin access compared with risking a failed install you have to do all over again? It is also wise to reboot with the view of logging in as the Local Admin as a reboot ensures you begin with a clean start. 

7- When going through the install itself, if a previous version is detected on the same machine then you will be given the option to create a NEW install, or an UPGRADE. We would advise the NEW install to ensure clean install files are created as well as allowing the older version to be kept until you are fully moved over. There is no harm from a licensing point of view to have multiple build versions on the same machine, and you may get requests from clients to use an older version specifically.

8- When it comes to the SUMMARY stage of the install, we would recommend using the CHANGE option for the Installation Location, this allows you to create a new file path to create clean install directories- for example c:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS 20XX. The same is true for Toolbox/Hole Wizard if a) you haven’t customised this part of the software, and b) you want to maintain multiple build versions. Again append the version number to the SOLIDWORKS Data folder (e.g. c:\SOLIDWORKS Data 20XX). If you have customised Toolbox, see item 9.


9- For customers that have a customised Toolbox and share between users, do the following.
a.       Copy/Backup the existing Hole Wizard/Toolbox folder (as listed in the SOLIDWORKS Options). We would imagine if this is server based it will be part of a backup routine anyway.
b.      Copy the toolbox to the first client machine you intend to upgrade.
c.       This first person can point their local install to the copied local toolbox for it to be upgraded using the installer.
d.      Copy this upgraded toolbox back to the server for the rest of the users to point back to.
e.      For each subsequent client install, have SOLIDWORKS create a new local Toolbox and then inside of the SOLIDWORKS options (Tools > Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox) point the folder back to the server. You can then delete the new local version.
f.        If you plan to maintain multiple build versions of SOLIDWORKS and have a shared toolbox, then you will have to create copies of the folders and ensure the SOLIDWORKS software is directed to the applicable folder via Tools > Options > Hole Wizard/Toolbox as below.

10- When the install is finished you may be prompted to reboot- if so ensure you log back in as the same user account that did the install (i.e. Local Admin).   

Look out for an up and coming blog that walks you through some post installation checks.

By Adam Hartles
Senior Applications Engineer


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