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SOLIDWORKS Administration Overview

So, you’ve been tasked with administering SOLIDWORKS. Now, where do you start to make sure your team is organized and productive in a consistent environment? This article is intended to provide SOLIDWORKS administrators with an overview of the high-level topics they should take into consideration to help ensure they are successful at implementing SOLIDWORKS for a single user or large team of many users. 

Hardware and System Requirements

Before SOLIDWORKS can be installed, hardware and system requirements should be reviewed to ensure the computers can install and run SOLIDWORKS products. It is also helpful to know hardware and system requirements vary year over year, so the best practice is to review the requirements annually. 


SOLIDWORKS has specific operating system and software requirements. Follow this link to review the SOLIDWORKS System Requirements


SOLIDWORKS relies on 3 main components to run efficiently: Processor (CPU), Random Access Memory (RAM), and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). Follow this link to review the SOLIDWORKS Hardware Guide with additional information as to how SOLIDWORKS uses the hardware components 


SOLIDWORKS products can be purchased and installed using a variety of license types and methods. This article will focus on standalone and network licensing. The serial number(s) you purchased determine if they will be installed as a standalone seat or installed and distributed from a server over a network. 


Regardless of the license type and product to install, all SOLIDWORKS installations begin by downloading the SOLIDWORKS Installation manager from the Customer Portal. Follow this link to instructions for downloading the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager 


Alternatively, follow this link for instructions to request a manual download 


Note, SOLIDWORKS installation requires Windows local admin permissions to write to certain Windows registry keys. Follow this link for detailed information regarding what Windows admin permissions are required and why 

Standalone/Individual (serial numbers which begin with 900)

Standalone installations are installed and activated on a single computer. Best practice is to maintain a simple spreadsheet to record each serial number and which computer it is installed on. Follow this link for standalone installation instructions 


Instructions for modifying SOLIDWORKS installation to switch serial numbers or installed products 

Network (serial numbers which begin with 901)

Network serial numbers are installed and activated on a server and then distributed to client computers using the SolidNetWork License Manager (SNL). Each client computer must have access to the SNL server using the same network or configured to access the server remotely using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Follow this link for detailed instructions for installing the SNL as well as connecting client computers to the server. 


Instructions to modify SNL to add serial numbers 


Instructions to reactivate the SNL annually after subscription renewal or when products are added to serial numbers 

Administrative Image

For SOLIDWORKS environments with 5+ SOLIDWORKS installations. The administrative image can be used with either standalone or network serial numbers. We recommend considering the SOLIDWORKS Administrative Image as a tool to install and manage specific client options, such as serial number, system options, and file locations. Follow this link for detailed instructions for creating and deploying an administrative image 


Each year SOLIDWORKS releases a major version of the software followed by 5-service packs throughout the year. Best practice is to keep up with updates as they become available. In a collaborative environment, all users must be on the same major version of the software, though they can be running different service packs of the same major version. 

    • Standalone installations can be upgraded directly from within SOLIDWORKS by selecting Help > Check for Updates, or by downloading and installing the newest major version or service pack from the Customer Portal. Follow this link for short video instructions to quickly update SOLIDWORKS 


    • Network installations can be upgraded following the same process as Standalone installation except the SolidNetWork License manager (SNL) must be upgraded first or the client computers will not be able to obtain a license. Follow this link for instructions 


    • Administrative image installations are managed by the administrative image. Downloading and creating a new version of the administrative image will automatically upgrade the client computers. Reference the “Upgrading to a new Service Pack” section of the SOLIDWORKS Admin Image Deployment guide 

System Options > File Locations

To ensure a consistent design environment, SOLIDWORKS administrators should consider organizing a network location for SOLIDWORKS document templates and other ancillary files, such as material databases, weldment profiles, appearances, etc. 

The various file locations can be set within SOLIDWORKS by selecting Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations. Below is a list of commonly used and shared files which should be considered: 

    • Document Templates 
    • BOM Templates 
    • Custom Property Files 
    • Drafting Standards 
    • Material Databases 
    • Revision Table Templates 
    • Sheet Formats 
    • Weldment Cut List Templates 
    • Weldment Profiles 
    • Any other custom template type which should be consistent between users in your organization. 

System Options > Hole Wizard Toolbox

    • SOLIDWORKS Standard includes Hole Wizard. 
    • SOLIDWORKS Professional and Premium versions include Hole Wizard and Toolbox. 


SOLIDWORKS Hole Wizard and Toolbox are installed by default to the same database and folder ‘C:\SOLIDWORKS Data’. There are numerous benefits of using these massive predefined standard libraries across multiple users. Best practice is to consider relocating the SOLIDWORKS Data folder to a shared network location and then update the file location in SOLIDWORKS using the shared location’s UNC path in Tools > Options > System Options> Hole Wizard / Toolbox. 


Once the Hole Wizard and Toolbox are configured for your organization, we recommend password protecting the database and assigning only the admin and/or specific power user(s) to manage changes to the databases. This will ensure a consistent environment with limited chase for data loss due to unnecessary or accidental changes. 


Consider maintaining a backup routine for the SOLIDWORKS Data folder, especially prior to making any major changes to the database or settings. 


If you are experiencing unexpected, machine-specific behavior with SOLIDWORKS products installed using the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager, you can use a special SOLIDWORKS repair tool to attempt repairing the installation. While a repair is not intended to target specific symptoms, it is a good broad-stroke tool to employ at first if you encounter odd behavior before considering a clean reinstall. 

Repair instructions (written and video)


If you need to remove SOLIDWORKS completely, follow these instructions for a clean uninstall 

Contact MLC CAD Systems Technical Support

The link below connects to our SOLIDWORKS Technical Support Request web form for new support requests. This form is entered directly into our support queue and then handled on a first-come-first-serve basis. Or you can send an email with attachments to solidworkssupport@mlc-cad.com or call us directly at 800-364-1652 x2 


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