How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One Computer
Run Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on the same computer without interference
Multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS can be installed parallel on the same computer to work with files in multiple versions, such as when working with contractors or vendors on a different major version of SOLIDWORKS than your company.
Note, since SOLIDWORKS is not backwards compatible, files created in future versions cannot be opened in previous versions. Once a file is saved in a future version of SOLIDWORKS, it can no longer be opened and edited in the previous version. Therefore, having multiple versions installed will allow you to create and modify files in the version they were created in, if necessary.
Installing Multiple Versions
Although it is not required, it is recommended that you consider performing a clean uninstall of all instances of SOLIDWORKS before configuring your system for multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS by following our Performing a Clean Uninstall Guide.
We recommend installing SOLIDWORKS from the older version first and then adding other future versions to help avoid any unexpected behavior pertaining to prerequisite programs.
Download SOLIDWORKS and double-click the setup.exe from the install files to launch the installation manager.
For the installation type, choose Individual (on this computer)
On the Serial Number screen, either enter your SOLIDWORKS serial number or leave the existing pre-filed serial number if you already have a previous version installed.
If you have a previous version of SOLIDWORKS installed, the system will prompt with the options to create a new installation or upgrade an existing installation. Select Create a new installation of SOLIDWORKS <version> and then click Next.
On the Summary screen, the Installation Location and Toolbox/Hole Wizard file location will need modified to accommodate multiple installations on a single computer.
Click the Change button next to Installation Location
SOLIDWORKS will automatically organize versions specific folders within the default SOLIDWORKS Corp folder, though to keep things a bit more organized from one version to another, we recommend installing the versions in their own directory.
For Install selected products to:, add the SOLIDWORKS version year as a suffix to the default location. For example: C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp 2022
This will install all SOLIDWORKS files for that version in its own directory, separate from all other versions.
Click Back to Summary and then click Change next to Toolbox/Hole Wizard Options.
The Toolbox files and database are version specific. Choose the option Create a new SOLIDWORKS <version> Toolbox: and then add a version year specific suffix to the file location. For example: C:\SOLIDWORKS Data 2022
Note, if you made modifications to an existing/previous version Toolbox (SOLIDWORKS Data folder), and would like to keep them in the new version, choose the option Use an existing SOLIDWORKS toolbox, and tick the box to Upgrade a copy of your toolbox data folder and assign a version specific folder name.
Click Back to Summary.
The installation manager is now configured to install a new version of SOLIDWORKS parallel to an existing version.
Accept the terms in the lower left and click Download and Install in the lower right to proceed.
Once the installation is complete, there will be version specific SOLIDWORKS Corp and SOLIDWORKS Data directories.
System Requirement Considerations
Prior to installation, best practice is to review the SOLIDWORKS System Requirements for the version(s) you will be installing.
Regarding the certified graphics card drivers for SOLIDWORKS when you have multiple SOLIDWORKS versions installed, it is recommended to either run the most current certified graphics card driver version for the newest version of SOLIDWORKS, or for the version of SOLIDWORKS you will be using the most. SOLIDWORKS may have a certified card driver for a specific year, though that does not guarantee it is also certified for any other version of SOLIDWORKS.
If you are also running SOLIDWORKS PDM, then you will want to ensure PDM is the same or newer than the newest version of SOLIDWORKS installed. Only one version of PDM client can be installed no matter how many versions of SOLIDWORKS are installed.
SOLIDWORKS PDM officially supports the same version of SOLIDWORKS and two older versions. For example, SOLIDWORKS PDM 2022 can manage SOLIDWORKS files for 2022, 2021, and 2020 using the SOLIDWORKS 2022 PDM client add-in.
Other SOLIDWORKS Tools
SOLIDWORKS Composer SMG files are backwards compatible, which means SMG files saved in future versions of SOLIDWORKS will still open in previous versions of Composer.
SOLIDWORKS Electrical Schematic can only have one year version installed. If you’re going to be using SOLIDWORKS Electrical 3D Professional with Routing, you will need to choose one year version to use for Electrical 3D design and install Electrical Schematic at that year version.
If you have any questions or experience unexpected behavior, feel free to reach out to MLC CAD Systems technical support
About the author
Rick is a Customer Service Expert based in the Phoenix, Arizona. He has been using SOLIDWORKS to solve complex design challenges since 2007. Rick’s experience includes sheet metal design and fabrication, CNC laser operation, developing components and engineered systems for the transportation industry, as well as CAD administration for SOLIDWORKS and PDM. He enjoys providing solutions to satisfy customers and assist their users in becoming proficient SOLIDWORKS users.