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SOLIDWORKS Admin Image Deployment

This document is intended for IT administrators and SolidWorks Power Users with installation privileges. The installation procedure outlined below is not intended for single workstation installations and it is best suited for deployments in environments with 5+ SOLIDWORKS installations.

The general procedure outlined here is intended to assist you with putting together an installation package and preparing it for deployment. Your individual environment and deployment tool may vary slightly from methods outlined here. Please adapt this to suit your needs and notify us if you need further assistance with the deployment.

We will review the following sections in this guide:

NOTE: Any installation from an admin image may not be modified or repaired from the Programs and Features area in the Windows Control Panel on the client. Changes to the client installation are instead performed by re-deploying the image or uninstalling from the client.

Image Creation

We will use the following procedure to install an administrative image to a folder share on the server you intend to run the image from. The location for our share is on D:\SW_Images for the example. This location will be shared using the server location \\HOU-SAM-X\SW_Images.

1. Login to customerportal.solidworks.com
(If you do not have a login, create one using your work email address)

a. Select Downloads and Updates
b. Download the installer for the desired version of SOLIDWORKS Software

2. Run the downloaded installer

3. Select “Create an administrative image to deploy to multiple computers”

NOTE: This guide is directed toward setting up an image for the first time. If you have an existing image you can choose “Create a new image using settings and files from an existing image. This will save you a lot of time later in the guide.

SOLIDWORKS 2020 Installation manager

a. Click Next
b. Input all SOLIDWORKS Serial numbers licensed to you

Enter SOLIDWORKS Serial Number

c. Click Next
d. Select Change in the Products Section

Select SOLIDWORKS Product

e. Check or Uncheck Products to Install

i. Note: You will want to install all products used by anyone in your organization. We will limit their use later in this process.

Choose Products to Install

f. Click Back to Summary
g. Select Change in the Administrative Image Location Section

SOLIDWORKS Admin Image Creation

h. Select Browse and locate your share directory

Find SOLIDWORKS Directory

i. Click Back to Summary
j. Select to Accept the terms of SOLIDWORKS

i. The license agreement and other terms can be found here


k. Select Download and Create Image
l. When Complete, Select Customize Image

Download and Create SOLIDWORKS Image

NOTE: Once the image is completed you can access the customization area by opening ‘sldAdminOptionEditor.exe’.

4. Select Change in the top right

a. Instead of selecting Upgrade… we will choose “Create a new Major Version”


NOTE: We recommend using this combination of “Create a new Major Version” and “Uninstall All Versions”. It will cleanse the machines of all prior versions of SOLIDWORKS to provide a very consistent client experience. Choosing “Upgrade an Existing Major Version” can leave undesirable remnants of old installations.

b. Select Uninstall all Versions

i. Select to remove Registry Entries
NOTE: Selecting this option will remove all custom interface settings for the client. This guide assumes that a best practice settings file will be deployed with the completed image.

ii. Select to remove Data Files and Folders
NOTE: If the Toolbox is located on a network share or in SOLIDWORKS PDM this option can be used. If the Toolbox is local to the client and has been customized, the information should be backed up prior to deploying this option. The default local data location for Toolbox is C:\SOLIDWORKS Data\.

c. Select Launch Settings Administrator

NOTE: This section of the setup may require a design and drafting power user to assist IT. These settings are potentially specific to your engineering environment.

If this is being done from the standards machine then you can use the option “Import SOLIDWORKS 2020 options from this computer”.

If you already have an established settings file in sldreg or sldSetting format, then you can browse for your file using the ‘…’ button.

Establish SOLIDWORKS settings file

i. Click Next
ii. Make desired changes. You will need to select each item on the left, then choose what to change on the right. Changed/Locked settings will be applied to machines during the deployment phase.

Lock SOLIDWORKS Settings

iii. More information about Applying and Locking options can be found here
iv. Click Next
v. Fill out the form with the following information

Organization = MLC CAD Systems
Email = solidworkssupport@mlc-cad.com
Phone = (800) 364-1652
Web = https://mlc-cad.com/solidworks-case-request/
Web Text = SolidWorks Support Request
Note = If this is the first time you are seeing this issue, please restart your machine and try the function again. Otherwise, please use SOLIDWORKS RX’s Problem Capture utility to capture the issue for support to review.

vi. Then select Preview to view the dialog

Preview SOLIDWORKS Settings

vii. Click Close and Next
viii. Input the correct CAD Admin credentials and password for options changes

Input CAD Admin Credentials

ix. Click Save and navigate to the Image Location (D:\SW_Images\)
x. Name the file SW_Settings


xi. Click Save and OK

d. Change any other options in the Image to suit your environment, such as Products to install, Toolbox location, PDM Client options, Electrical Options, etc.

e. Once complete, click the Change button again to accept the Global changes to the image

5. If you have several variants of the installation, you will want to add Groups and Machines

a. Select New Group

Add SOLIDWORKS Groups and Machines

b. Input a logical group name for the features used

Input SOLIDWORKS Group Name

i. Repeat for all needed groups

c. Right-click the group and choose Add Machine


d. Input the Machine Name

Input Machine name

e. Click OK

i. Using the Add Multiple Machines will pull a list from the domain
ii. Machines can also be added by IP or by IP range

6. Customizing the groups to alter the products applied to the machines in the group can be accomplished by using the change button for the group.

a. Select the group you want to change
b. Select Change

i. Adjust the settings in the group to suit

Adjust Group Settings

ii. Changes from the global settings will highlight in yellow

c. Once complete, click the Change button again to accept the Group changes

7. Select OK when finished with all options changes

Deployment with SOLIDWORKS Deployment Method

There are two types of deployment using the SOLIDWORKS Deployment Methodology, the first is a manual option where the user or IT technician “pushes the button”. The second is utilizing an automatic deployment option for push deployment. We will cover each in detail here.

Deploy Manually

On the client system, navigate to the network share with the administrative image and run the image.

NOTE:  A ‘Send Email’ option is also available in the Option Editor to help with distributing the network location via email.

1. Open Windows Explorer (WIN+E)
2. Navigate to the Image share by typing in the navigation bar (\\<server>\<ImageShare>\)
Example: (\\HOU-SAM-X\SW_Images\SOLIDWORKS 2020 SP0.1)

SOLIDWORKS Deployment Methods

3. Double-Click ‘StartSWInstall.hta’

Install SOLIDWORKS Products Now

4. Select ‘Install SOLIDWORKS Products Now’
5. Select Finish when the installation is complete

Deploy Automatically

With automatic deployment, installation tasks are pushed to target machines and carried out by the Microsoft Task Scheduler on each system, without requiring any actions by users. Use this method when users do not have administrative privileges to install software on their systems.

With a push installation, the Task Scheduler launches SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager to run under credentials specified by you, the administrator. The Task Scheduler runs under the computer’s LocalSystem account. This account is represented on the network as a computer security principle. The computer security principle must have read access to the shared folder where the administrative image is located.

In Active Directory, when you add a computer to a group of a shared folder, select Object Types and make sure that Computers is selected. In addition, the computer serving the administrative image and the target client machines must be members of the same Active Directory domain.

To perform the Automatic Deployment, use the following steps:

1. Select Deploy Automatically in the Option Editor
2. Select the machines/groups you wish to deploy
3. Set the option on the right for the deployment

Deploy SOLIDWORKS Automatically

a. Use the Test button to verify that the clients will deploy
b. Should the Test fail, hovering over the red X will offer some guidance


c. Prior to Deploying the image all tests will need to be successful, use the Test and Run Again options until all issues are resolved.

4. When ready, click Deploy

a. Verify the network path
b. Click OK
c. Status Column will show completed installations

Scripted Deployment

This section will review the code required for scripted installations and push deployment methods using alternate push deployment software, such as Microsoft SCCM.

Prepare clients for installation

The following prerequisites must be installed on the client systems:

More information about Prerequisites for all SOLIDWORKS products can be found here
Installation of Prerequisites can be performed using the command line, with examples found here

Command Line Scripted Installation

This method can be used to install or uninstall an administrative image on a machine. The method uses the StartSWInstall.exe program from the administrative image location. Use the following syntax for the method:
“\\<server>\<image>\StartSWInstall.exe” /Install /Now
Example: “\\Hou-SAM-X\SW_Images\SOLIDWORKS 2020 SP0.1\StartSWInstall.exe” /install /now

SOLIDWORKS Scripted Deployment

Leveraging this command line string for use in Windows Active Directory script deployment can be performed by placing the installation code inside of a .bat file or powershell script.

To create a batch (.bat) file, do the following:

1. Create a Text Document (example uses images folder)

a. Right-click > New > Text Document

New text Document

b. Rename to “Install SolidWorks.bat”
(may require extensions to be shown on the View tab of the ribbon)

c. Select Yes

Change File Extension

d. Right-click > Edit on the newly created file


e. Add your installation command string to the file. Below is a sample of what the text should look like:


@ Echo Off

Echo Installing SOLIDWORKS Administrative Image

rem *****************************************************************************************************

rem **************** Installation Options Available for Administrative Images **************************

rem *****************************************************************************************************

rem *** /install — Installs the administrative image on client machines

rem *** /uninstall — Uninstalls the software from client machines, with two optional switches:

rem ******* /removedata — Removes SOLIDWORKS data files and folders during uninstall

rem ******* /removeregistry — Removes SOLIDWORKS registry entries during uninstall

rem *** /showui — Displays a progress window for the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager (Hidden otherwise)

rem *** /now — Starts the install or uninstall immediately. No 5 minute warning dialog

rem *****************************************************************************************************

“\\Hou-SAM-X\SW_Images\SOLIDWORKS 2020 SP0.1\StartSWInstall.exe” /install /now /showui



f. Select File > Save

The newly created file can be tested using a double-click, or right-click > Run As Administrator from a client system prior to test deployment(s).

Using the “Install_SolidWorks.bat” in a push deployment software can also be accomplished by calling the .bat for scheduled deployment. Depending on the deployment software you may only have the option to use the command string.

Upgrading to a new Service Pack

When a new service pack or version is released and clients need upgrading, you will need to create a new Admin Image folder. You will want to choose the option to import settings from an existing admin image.

You can use the same methods of deployment shown above. When SOLIDWORKS is deployed with an admin image it contains a trigger to check for a new version during startup. Each time a client opens SOLIDWORKS, it looks to the share folder location of the installed image. Should an update exist there, then the client will upgrade to the newer service pack.

To perform the steps necessary for this to occur, you will want to repoint the old share to the new location. Do the following via RDP on the server containing the admin image.

1. Browse to the folder of the original administrative image

2. Right-click on the folder and choose Properties

3. On the Sharing tab, choose to not share the folder anymore

4. Right-click on the new administrative image folder and choose Properties

5. On the Sharing tab, set the applicable sharing options and make the share name match the previous image folder share name

NOTE: This automatic update only applies to SOLIDWORKS installations

Getting Help

You can contact our support desk by using one of the following methods:

• Email – solidworkssupport@mlc-cad.com

• Phone – (800) 364-1652 option 2

• Web – https://mlc-cad.com/solidworks-case-request/

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