The SOLIDWORKS support technicians at CADimensions frequently field questions regarding installing SOLIDWORKS. Here are a few simple tips that will help you get up to speed with running SOLIDWORKS so you won’t have to spend so much time installing the product.
Get a Customer Portal Account
Don’t have one yet? There’s no time like the present. Surf on over to the SOLIDWORKS website and click the login link. You can then navigate to the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal or MySolidWorks (see figure 1). Either link will let you create a new account, and you can access both locations with the same username and password. You’ll need your SOLIDWORKS serial number to create your account, which you can easily get by opening SOLIDWORKS, clicking the Help menu, and selecting About SOLIDWORKS.
Figure 1: Accessing your account
Download the Installation Manager
There are plenty of reasons why it’s beneficial to have a Customer Portal account, not the least of which is being able to download SOLIDWORKS. If you’ve logged in to the Customer Portal, look for the Download section, which will contain a link named Downloads and Updates (see Figure 2 inset). Are you seeing padlocks? That’s either because you don’t have a subscription service contract with us, or because you need to register your software first. Look for the Register My Products link and register the latest version of the software, even if you are currently using an older version. This should make the padlocks disappear.
Click the Downloads and Updates link, select the software you want to download, accept the license agreement, and eventually you will find yourself at a page with 3 steps. Step 2 (also shown in Figure 2) is the important one. It contains the link to download the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager. Go right ahead and click the Download link in Step 2, and make it a point to make note of where the file is downloaded to. This will probably be your browsers “Download” folder.
Figure 2: Let’s download some software!
Good Housekeeping Counts!
At this point, you’re probably thinking “Gee, that was quick.” That’s because what you just downloaded was nothing more than the Installation Manager. Here is where you will need to start paying close attention to where you’re putting things. Good housekeeping is important!
What I recommend you do is create a new folder on your hard drive specifically for the files you are about to download. For a naming convention, use the year and service pack of the software you are downloading. The example in Figure 3 shows a folder named SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP2.0. Of course, you can use any naming convention you want, but the key is to use something which makes sense to you and allows you to find the files later on without hours of searching. Take that file you just downloaded, which will be named SolidWorksSetup.exe, and move it to the folder you just created.
Figure 3: Good housekeeping will benefit you later on.
Use “Download and share all files”
When you’re ready to start the actual download, double-click SolidWorksSetup.exe to run the file, and the WinZip self-extractor utility will appear (shown in Figure 3). Click Unzip and let it do its thing. Following the extraction process, the Installation Manager will appear. Even if you want to install SOLIDWORKS, it’s still better to download everything first. With the full file set downloaded, you can then re-install if things turn sour, or you can copy the files to other locations and install on other machines, create an admin image, or simply stash the files away for safe keeping.
Figure 4: Download and share, because it’s good to share.
A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place
Remember that folder you created earlier? You’ll want to download all of your SOLIDWORKS files to that same place. When you get to the Summary screen, click the link titled “CHANGE” (not shown), then use the Browse button (shown in Figure 5) to point to the folder you created. Once you’ve accomplished that, return to the Summary screen, accept the license agreement, and start the download.
Figure 5: Make sure to set the download path.
The download will take some time, considering there is nearly 10 gigabytes worth of data. Keep in mind, you do not have to download the software on the computer you want to install it on. Furthermore, if you have a slow internet connection, let it download overnight. The download may take some time, but that doesn’t mean it has to waste your time.
There’s still one last thing you can take care of. The original folder you created (named SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP2.0 in the example in Figure 6) has junk in it you no longer need. The file “SolidWorksSetup.exe” is the compressed Installation Manager you originally downloaded. The folder titled “sldim” and the file “setup.exe” are the files and folders extracted from “SolidWorksSetup.exe”. They make up the Installation Manager, and you no longer need those either. The folder titled “SOLIDWORKS 2016 x64 SP02” is a keeper. It has everything to install SOLIDWORKS and it’s add-on products. It also contains its own copy of the Installation Manager, which is why the original Installation Manager files can be deleted.
Figure 6: Get rid of the junk.
Just to clarify, it’s safe to delete the folder “sldim” as well as the files “setup.exe” and “SolidWorksSetup.exe”. You can even take the entire contents of the “SOLIDWORKS 2016 x64 SP02” folder and move it up one directory to the “SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP02” folder. And yes, you can then safely delete the empty “SOLIDWORKS 2016 x64 SP02” folder.
Archives Can Be Your Friend
You never know when you’re going to need to install an old version of SOLIDWORKS. Keep those installation files safely tucked away somewhere for a rainy day. Furthermore, when you install the software, make sure the installation files are not deleted or moved. In other words, if you install from a hard drive or server location named E:\Archives\SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP2.0, leave those installation files there for the duration of time that version of the SOLIDWORKS software is in use. It may be necessary to run a repair on SOLIDWORKS, or may even be necessary to re-install the product. Usually, it isn’t necessary to repair or re-install the software, but it’s better to be prepared.