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Strategies for Using the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) - SOLIDWORKS

Upgrade Utility Overview

The File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) is an important part of the SOLIDWORKS PDM version upgrade process. We have an article specifically focused on the mechanics of installing and using the FVUT, but in this article we are focusing on the strategic use of the tool. In order to make wise decisions about how to use it we need to have a basic understanding of the process, so here is a simplified sequence of what the utility is actually doing for us when we run it:

    •  Open SOLIDWORKS
    •  For each file in the list:
      • Check-Out the file
      • Open the file and rebuild in SOLIDWORKS (which automatically converts the file to the
        current file version)
      • Save the file in the current file version
      • Close and Check-In the file
    •  Close SOLIDWORKS
    • Display the summary screen

Now that we understand the basic process that is being done behind the scenes, we need to consider the impact this will have on not only the computer (or computers) running the utility, but also on the performance of the SOLIDWORKS PDM vault as a whole. Running this utility during working hours could have a significant impact on the responsiveness of your PDM system, so whenever possible I recommend running the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) after-hours.


I also highly recommend that you do not run more than one session of the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) concurrently as this can
cause file permission errors. If you would like to use more than one computer to process files, you should use the work instruction file option so that all of the file operations are in sync with each other.

Prioritize by File Type and State

If you have a relatively small number of files in your vault, you may be able to run the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) overnight or over a weekend and complete the process on all files at one time. For most customers this is not guaranteed, so in this case we need to prioritize our files into a few categories that can be processed sequentially.


Let’s think about how top-level assemblies and drawings relate to the parts and sub-assemblies contained in them. Immediately after upgrading SOLIDWORKS, a large assembly or drawing will show the most performance degradation upon opening, as the parts and sub-assemblies in the top-level assembly will have to be converted to the current file format in memory. For file sets that are in an ‘under editing’ type of state, most of the referenced files should be checked out already, which means they will be saved in the current file format automatically. That means that files in ‘under editing’ state are not as critical to performance as files that are in states that prevent them from being checked out.

Recommended Priority Order

  1. SOLIDWORKS Parts in ‘Released’ state
  2. SOLIDWORKS Assemblies in ‘Released’ state
  3. SOLIDWORKS Parts in other states
  4. SOLIDWORKS Assemblies in other states
  5. SOLIDWORKS Drawings (optional)

Explanation of Priority Order

We recommend running the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) on SOLIDWORKS Parts that are in a ‘Released’ state first, as these files would are going to continually cause performance degradation for parent assemblies since they will not be checked out with the parent assembly that is being edited. They also have the fewest external references to process so will be the fastest to upgrade per file.


The next group of files to process will be SOLIDWORKS Assemblies in ‘Released’ state. As with ‘Released’ parts, these would not be updated when editing a parent assembly so we need to upgrade them with the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT). Keep in mind that assemblies will typically take longer per file than parts, but upgrading the parts first will make the process quicker.


Next we will process SOLIDWORKS Parts in all other states (you can include all parts at this stage since the utility will automatically skip any files already upgraded).


For most companies the last group of files to process will be SOLIDWORKS Assemblies in all other states. Depending on your PDM and SOLIDWORKS settings as well as normal work processes, users may not be checking out all child references when they edit an assembly or drawing, so updating these assemblies may improve performance.


The final consideration is whether you wish to upgrade your SOLIDWORKS Drawings. Unless you open your actual SOLIDWORKS drawings regularly for reference purposes without checking them out you will not see much benefit from upgrading the file versions manually. This is because if the drawing is checked out to edit it the file format gets updated automatically during the first save. Drawings in Released state(s) will typically have PDF’s created of the released drawing version so for most users it is rare to need these to be updated.

Estimate Time Required Per File

Now that we have established the priority order of file types and states we can estimate the processing time per file, by selecting somewhere between 20 and 50 files at a time of each type (Parts and Assemblies) and running the utility on this file set to establish a baseline of time required to process files. This should only be used as a rough guideline, and I always round up on the estimated time per file.


For example, if I select 40 Part files and the utility takes 20 minutes to complete I can conservatively estimate that it will take roughly 30 seconds to convert each file, since I am not accounting for the time it takes to open and close SOLIDWORKS.


Keep in mind that assemblies can vary greatly in file size and load times depending on the number of sub-assemblies and parts they contain, so try to select a reasonable cross-section of assembly sizes for this exercise.

Estimate Total Time Required for All Files

Now that we have a guesstimate on the time it will take to convert Parts and Assemblies we can run the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) to build our sets of files in the 4 or 5 key categories listed previously. Once we determine the total number of files to be processed in each iteration of the process we can use the time per file estimate to estimate the total time required for that iteration and decide when and how to run the utility based on this information.


For example, let’s say the total number of Parts in Released state(s) is 2,500. Using our estimate of 30 seconds per file, we can do some quick math to come up with 1,250 minutes:

Strategies for Using the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT)

Now we can divide minutes by 60 to get hours:

Strategies for Using the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT)

In this case I would either split the work instructions up and run on 3 or more computers overnight (approximately 7 hours each), or run the batch on one computer over a weekend to ensure the File Version Upgrade Tool (FVUT) has plenty of time to complete and avoid it running during business hours.

Technical Support

We hope you found this information valuable! If you have any follow-up questions and are an MLC CAD Systems customer, please contact support by phone at 800-364-1652 x 2 or email at solidworkssupport@mlc-cad.com.  You can also contact us about Training options or anything else you may need.

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