5 things to consider before updating your SOLIDWORKS license


Lennart Tinndahl


Lennart Tinndahl
Technical Consultant


Every year SOLIDWORKS launches a new version of their software to provide you with new, cool features and functions. To make the update of your licenses as smooth as possible, I have collected some useful tips for you before getting started. 

1. New version

I am often in touch with users, who have merely updated from one major release to another – i.e. from their existing 2018 version to the 2019 version. However, I really cannot recommend this approach, as it can lead to inconsistency in the registry as well as cluttered folders. Instead I recommend installing the new version in a new folder. I keep one folder per major version as shown:

The same rule applies for my toolbox:

The main advantage is that it is significantly easier to clean up and delete previous installations, as it is much easier to get an overview of these folders than a bunch of folders named ”Solidworks”, ”Solidworks(2)” and ”Solidworks(3)”.

2. Toolbox

Can you update your toolbox, or do you need to install a new one?
This all depends on your company setup. Do you use a common toolbox that everyone has access to, or do you all have an individual toolbox?
If your company utilizes a common toolbox, it is very important to make sure that everyone updates SOLIDWORKS at the same time. Otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where half of the people in the company cannot work with components that contain toolbox components.

3. Network licenses

This is a common situation in support:
You find out that a new, major version of SOLIDWORKS has been released and you update the program (or, if you follow my advice: creates a new installation) but when starting the program, you get this message.

Usually this message means that you have not updated your SOLIDWORKS License Manager, which is most likely located on your server.
This must be updated to the same major version or newer and then reactivated.

SOLIDWORKS License Manager is only backward compatible, meaning it is possible to run SOLIDWORKS 2017 on a license server that has been updated to a 2019 version, but not the other way around.

4. Add-ins

If you forget this part, you are not the first (and probably not the last either).

It is very important to check if the add-ins you are using are compatible with the new version of SOLIDWORKS, you are installing. Most often these add-ins are CustomTools and PDM. These have to be the same version or newer than the SOLIDWORKS version, you are installing. The same rule applies here as on the Network License Manager. However, the PDM add-in has a limitation of two years, which means that a PDM 2019 add-in can run on a SOLIDWORKS 2017 but not on a SOLIDWORKS 2016.

5. There’s no going back…

Once you have updated your SOLIDWORKS license and have begun working with and saving your files, you cannot go back to the previous version, as SOLIDWORKS is not backward compatible. If you want to test it first, you can make a pack and go of an assembly and check how it reacts with the new version of SOLIDWORKS.


As a final note: When you have updated your SOLIDWORKS license, it is very tempting to start working right away, but I recommend that you take some time to go through the “What’s New” document. There may be some new additions to the program that can ease your work or even make some of your processes obsolete. You can also have a look at these videos showing the coolest new features in SOLIDWORKS 2019:

WEBINAR: What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2019 – Part 1
WEBINAR: What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2019 – Part 2

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me and my coworkers in the PLM Group support team.

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