Frequently Asked Technical Support Questions


General FAQ's

What should I do before I upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2008?

  • Update your Video Card to a SOLIDWORKS Certified Driver. SOLIDWORKS recommends the use of certified graphics cards and systems. A certified graphics card or system is tested to a higher standard and is supported by the vendor. A listing of the latest Certified Drives may be found at the link:
  • Check System Requirements to ensure successful installation and optimum performance, verify that your system complies with the requirements:
  • Administrative rights are necessary on the local system in order to perform SOLIDWORKS installation or upgrades. System DLLs and drivers are updated which require administrative privileges. The necessary permissions will have to be obtained to ensure a successful installation of SOLIDWORKS. Only read and execute permission are required to run SOLIDWORKS.
  • Disable any Anti-virus or Anti-spyware applications that you may have running.
    This step must include terminating any anti-virus or Anti-spyware services that are running. Certain anti-virus application do not allow for system resources to be updated if they are in use.
  • Save copies of all SOLIDWORKS parts, assemblies, and drawings in your current version prior to upgrade. We recommend the creation of a backup copy of your SOLIDWORKS Data. Once the files are converted and saved in SOLIDWORKS 2008, these files are no longer accessible in previous versions of SOLIDWORKS software.
  • Backup all of your custom document templates, sheet formats, or design library items from previous releases. You should backup these files before installing SOLIDWORKS 2008

I want to learn all the new SOLIDWORKS 2008 features.  What can I do?

There are a few things you can do:

  • Access the free SOLIDWORKS 2008 Update training course:
    • Step 1: Log into the SOLIDWORKS Customer portal
    • Step 2: After logging in, under the Self Service area, click the Tech Tips, Best Practices and API examples link
    • Step 3: In the Technical References area, select the Training link
    • Step 4: Fill in and submit the form and an i get it login and password is sent via e-mail
  • Review the "What's new in SOLIDWORKS 2008" manual that can be found in SOLIDWORKS under the Help menu.
  • If you are a subscription service customer, please contact for access to our web training session for SOLIDWORKS 2008.

What Windows Operating Systems will be supported by SOLIDWORKS 2008?

Windows XP Professional (32 bit or 64 bit editions) and Windows Vista Business or Ultimate (32 or 64 bit editions) will be required to install SOLIDWORKS 2008. SOLIDWORKS 2008 is no longer available for the Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system.

Can I have more than one version of SOLIDWORKS installed on my system at the same time?

Yes, it is possible to have multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS on the same system.  During install, specify separate paths for the install directory and the common files directory. Please be aware that SOLIDWORKS does not support backward compatibility.

Will SOLIDWORKS 2008 files open in SOLIDWORKS 2007?

No, SOLIDWORKS is not backwards compatible.  Once a file has been saved in SOLIDWORKS 2008, it cannot be opened in SOLIDWORKS 2007 unless it is exported as a neutral file (Parasolid).  Note that when importing a neutral file all feature data is lost.

Can I run any third party add-in or custom program with SOLIDWORKS 2008?

  • SOLIDWORKS Gold Partner companies have 30 days from the release of SOLIDWORKS 2008 to support the latest version. Check with the Gold Partner that their add-in product is compatible before upgrading. Click here for Gold Partner product details
  • Support Partner (Non-Gold) companies support the latest release on their own schedule. Check with the Solution Partner that their add-in product is compatible with SOLIDWORKS 2008 before upgrading. Click here for Solution Partner product details
  • Custom programs/add-ins should be checked to ensure they are compatible with the latest release.

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Registration FAQ's

Why has my old 16 digit SOLIDWORKS serial number (Prior to 2007) changed to a new 24 digit serial number for SOLIDWORKS 2008?

All standalone 16 digit serial numbers will be converted to a new 24 digit serial number format in order to support online Product Activation.

Do I need to obtain a new registration code to install SOLIDWORKS 2008?

Registration of SOLIDWORKS 2008 will be handled automatically through online Product Activation.

What is Product Activation?

Product activation is an anonymous, secure, and hassle free process that authenticates licensed users during the installation process. For more information regarding product activation please refer to the SOLIDWORKS Activation FAQ:

I do not have internet or e-mail Access on my SOLIDWORKS System - How will I activate my product?

Activation requires that you have Internet or email access. After activation, you do not need to be online to use the products. If you do not have email access on the computer where you use this product, you can save the activation file and send it from another computer.

New Network Licensing changes for SOLIDWORKS 2008

SOLIDWORKS® 2008 now has a unified approach to network licensing:

  • SOLIDWORKS Simulation network products will now use SOLIDWORKS SNL-type Serial numbers
  • Network license files – can include both SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation products
  • One network license administration tool
  • Enables use of Licensing Borrowing for SOLIDWORKS Simulation

Do I need a new serial number for SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2008 if running a network license?

Yes, you will need to request a new serial number (16 digits).  To request a new serial number and license file:

    • 16-digit serial number(s)
    • License file(s) (*.TXT)
    • Instructions for licensing (*.TXT)

Can SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation products run using the same dongle?

Yes, in SOLIDWORKS 2008, users will be able to manage SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS Simulation licenses using one administrator tool and one dongle.  To access the SOLIDWORKS Network License Administrator go to the Windows Start menu, All Programs, SOLIDWORKS 2008, SOLIDWORKS SP#, SOLIDWORKS Tools, SolidNetWork License Administrator


Accessing SolidWorks Network License Admin

Figure: Accessing SOLIDWORKS Network License Administrator

What is the “License Order” tab in the Network License Administrator?

The License Order tab allows the IT Manager to change the order of product that are taken from the server if they want to use if multiple levels of SOLIDWORKS Simulation products found in the network e.g. SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional, SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium, SOLIDWORKS Premium (which includes SOLIDWORKS Simulation too).

I have different SOLIDWORKS Simulation products, which Serial Number do I use when installing SOLIDWORKS?

If multiple SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2008 products are to be used (e.g. SOLIDWORKS Simulation Professional and SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium), enter the serial for the most advanced version. 

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Registration Procedures

Standalone License:

To activate a license:

  1. Start the application (SOLIDWORKS, SOLIDWORKS Simulation, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional)
  2. If you have not yet activated your license, the Product Activation dialog box appears.
  3. Choose the Internet or E-mail option
  4. Choose the Home or Office option
  5. Supply your contact information
  6. Obtain the license key online or via E-mail:
    Online - Submit the request.
    E-mail - Click Save to create a file, then send the file to When you receive the license key, run the activation procedure again and click Open to load the response file.
  7. The Activation/Reactive Succeeded dialog box displays the products that have been activated.

If you experience any difficulty with product activation, please contact us at

Network Licensing:

To obtain an SNL file:

  1. Go to the customer portal
  2. Type your Sign-In Name and Password, or create a new account.
  3. Click SOLIDWORKS eRegistration.
  4. Enter your serial number and other requested information.
  5. A license file is emailed to you.
  6. When you receive the email, copy the SNL file (text file) to your hard drive.

If you experience any difficulty generating a license file, please contact us at

To obtain a SOLIDWORKS Simulation Network license file:

  1. Go to: Simulation-SN
  2. Fill out the form on the site
  3. Click the submit button after filling out the form

How does a non-Subscription Service SolidNetWork License (SNL) customer obtain a new license file?

A non-Subscription Service SolidNetWork License customer is not entitled to a new license file for each major revision of SOLIDWORKS. Upon request, the customer will receive a new license file from SOLIDWORKS to replace the expired license file.

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Installation FAQ's

What's the recommended installation procedure?  To upgrade or new installation?

Both installation methods are supported. Updating you SOLIDWORKS installation is likely the most straight-forward approach if users no longer require SOLIDWORKS 2007 on their systems.

I have a version of SOLIDWORKS that is two releases old. Do I need to do an intermediate step to upgrade to the latest release?

It is best to uninstall the current version of the software.  Then install the latest version using the upgrade CDs or DVD . For detailed instructions on how to un-install SOLIDWORKS please review the following PDF file:

What is the 2008 Installation Manager?

SOLIDWORKS 2008 uses a new version of the Installation Manager. It is a standalone application that can download/update/upgrade/ install/modify/repair all SOLIDWORKS products.  It can be used to create and manage administrative images and standalone installs all within the same User Interface.
Please note that the 2008 Installation Manager is a different application than the 2007 Installation Manager.  The 2007 Installation Manager cannot be upgraded to 2008; however, both versions can coexist on the same machine.   You can continue to use the 2007 Installation Manager to download service pack updates for the 2007 Install.

How does the 2008 Installation Manager work?

The 2008 Installation Manager uses Windows Installer and installs all products silently passing the required parameters to the installations so the installations do not have to query the user for anything.  You can now specify only 1 file location for Installation; this location will be used as the root folder for the installation of all products.  The major advantage of using the 2008 Installation Manager is that it keeps all Products under the same in the Startup programs list as well as it creates one listing in Add/Remove Programs (listed as SOLIDWORKS 2008 SPx.x)

The 2008 Installation Manager components are listed below:

  • sldim.exe launches the Installation Manager.  Found in <downloaded file location,source>\sldim folder
  • sldimdownloader.exe process used to download the files, verify the file’s checksum, and extracts the files.  Found in C:\Program Files\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager\16.0
  • sldimscheduler.exe always runs in the background and is required to allow download later, install later; and check for updates to work.   Found in C:\Program Files\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager\Scheduler
  • sldadminoptioneditor.exe utility used only within admin images to assign products and serial numbers to users or groups.  Found in <admin image location>\sldim

What is the SOLIDWORKS Administrative Director?

The SOLIDWORKS Administrative Director is a wizard that:

  • Creates and customizes the SOLIDWORKS installation data by using an administrative image
  • Provides the option to log each client machine's installation for analysis
  • Allows system administrators to specify additional commands to execute on client machines before and after the installation
  • New for 2008, the SOLIDWORKS Administrative Director now includes the installation of SOLIDWORKS Simulation products if needed.  Also, SOLIDWORKS Explorer and SOLIDWORKS eDrawings are now also included.

The above items however can be installed using a batch file. Instructions can be found here:

Where can I find more information about SOLIDWORKS Admin Images/Admin Director?

Click here to view a help file for more information

Can the 2008 License (SNL) Manager support both 2006 and 2007?

Newer license files and License Managers will support older versions of SOLIDWORKS. Please be aware, you will need to obtain a new license file for each major release of SOLIDWORKS.

Where can I find more information about SNL installations?

You can visit the link below:

What if I am upgrading and have Toolbox installed in a shared environment?

When upgrading or doing a new installation of SOLIDWORKS 2008, in the Destination Folders dialog box, make sure the Install SOLIDWORKS 2008 common data to box contains the correct shared folder that you used in the previous version of the SOLIDWORKS software. Be certain to backup your original Toolbox files in case you are ever required to use your current version of SOLIDWORKS.

Can SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM 2008 run with SOLIDWORKS 2007?

Yes, SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM 2008 can run with SOLIDWORKS 2007.

What should I do with my SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM vault if I want to test SOLIDWORKS 2008 while running SOLIDWORKS 2007?

For testing SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM with a new version of SOLIDWORKS:

  • Backup your existing vault.
  • The next step is to upgrade the existing SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM 2007 Server to SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM 2008.
  • If the user needs to return to 2007, uninstall 2008, retrieve the backup and re-install the SOLIDWORKS Workgroup PDM Server 2007.

Can SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2008 run with SOLIDWORKS 2007?

No, SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2008 cannot run with SOLIDWORKS 2007.

Can SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2007 run with SOLIDWORKS 2008?

No, as of SOLIDWORKS 2008, older versions of SOLIDWORKS Simulation are not recommended to run with this version. It is recommended to use SOLIDWORKS Simulation 2008 inside SOLIDWORKS 2008

Warning: "If you installed SOLIDWORKS (SP0) with a web download, you need to update the installation with the CD (SP0) before you can apply a service pack"

Answer: It is preferable to install SOLIDWORKS 2008 once you receive your CDs. If you choose to install the web version, you will still need to run the installation once the CDs arrive. You will not be able to apply a service pack to an installation done through the web download.

Where can I find more information about installations?

For more information on installation related questions, go to:

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Troubleshooting & New Functionality FAQ's

Where can I find more information about the DimXpert?

Please read our DimXpert FAQ

Where can I find more information about the TolAnalyst?

Please read our TolAnalyst FAQ

What does the following error message mean?

Error:  Installation Project Manager Error: The project file does not exist (C:\WINDOWS\SOLIDWORKS\IM (8)\sldim\) Notify your administrator. {14000}


Error Message

SOLIDWORKS Error message


This error will occur if you delete the project folder before uninstalling SOLIDWORKS.  To fix the problem, use the Windows Installer Cleanup utility to remove the SOLIDWORKS Products if you get into this state.

Nothing happens when I click on Installation Manager (IM) download.

This will happen when using Internet Explorer and the SOLIDWORKS website belongs to a security zone such as high where script blocking is enabled, ActiveX controls are not allowed to be run and files are not allowed to be downloaded.  Add the website to the trusted site list zone, click ok and then refresh the web page to resolve this issue.

What can cause a "cannot connect to server" error after entering the serial number in the Installation Manager and clicking next with Internet Access?

A firewall or internet security application might be in use and blocking the outbound communication from the sldim.exe process to the server. To resolve this problem, allow outbound communication for sldim.exe(<SW 2008 downloads\sldim folder)

What causes many retries while downloading followed by a failed download using the Installation Manager?

A firewall or internet security application might be in use and blocking the outbound communication from the sldimdownloader.exe process to the server.   To resolve this problem, enable access to sldimdownloader.exe (C:\Program Files\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager\16.0) firewall or internet security application might be in use and blocking the outbound communication from the sldim.exe process to the server.

Will manual downloads be available for users that cannot download using the Installation Manager?

Yes, a link will be provided underneath the IM download for users that are unable to download.



Figure: Download options screen in SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal

Is it possible to use the Installation Manager to download without administrative rights?

This is not possible because the executable (.exe) must be marked as needing admin privileges for Vista support.

Can I use the Installation Manager without an Internet Connection?

Yes, the luxury of having an internet connection is that the Installation Manager will automatically choose the products the user is entitled to. You will be able to click cancel and manually choose the products. Please note that you must use the DVD or complete Download folder to perform the installation without an Internet Connection.


Installation Manager Error

Figure: Installation Manager Error dialog

Can manually downloaded files be used as the source for the Installation Manager?

No, this is not a supported workflow for installing SOLIDWORKS or any of the products with SOLIDWORKS 2008.  The manual downloads do not contain files that the 2008 Installation Manager needs.  If you download the files manually from the website, then the products need to be installed manually using the self extracting executable image.

Can products downloaded using the 2008 Installation Manager be installed manually using msiexec or swsetup.exe?

This is not a recommended method.  The 2008 Installation Manager does not download files that are required when running swsetup or msiexec.

Will it be possible to install the SOLIDWORKS products manually using swsetup from the sp0 DVD?

Yes, this will work as the DVD will contain the appropriate files required to use swsetup/setup.exe. Please note that the installations will all have to be managed individually.

'SOLIDWORKS Explorer has encountered an error' is displayed while trying to start SOLIDWORKS Explorer 2008?

This is a typical symptom of not having the .NET FrameWork 3.0 application installed on the PC running SOLIDWORKS Explorer 2008. This is required for SOLIDWORKS Explorer and SOLIDWORKS 2008 to run.  The .NET redistributable packages are included with the DVD or download. Browse the source of the installation (DVD, download folder, or Administrative Image).  Go to the <source location>\<swwi>\data\DotNetFX and double click on dotnetfx3.exe for WinXP x32 and dotnetfx3_64.exe for WinXP x64.  Once this is installed, run a repair of the SOLIDWORKS Explorer Installation.

Changes to default file paths:

  1. The new default location for the Weldment Property File:
    • For Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\
    • For Windows Vista: C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2008
  2. In earlier versions of SOLIDWORKS, the Design Library was installed by default in the SOLIDWORKS installation folder. Because Vista users may not have write access to that location, the default is now the SOLIDWORKS Application Data folder.

    If you are upgrading from a previous version of SOLIDWORKS, the installer will not change your customized Design Library location. If you experience file permission problems with the Design Library move the folder to a location for which you have write access.

    By default, the SOLIDWORKS Application Data Folder is:
    • For Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\all users\Application Data\SOLIDWORKS
    • For Windows Vista: C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2008
  1. Default Templates are now located:
    • For Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2008\templates
    • For Windows Vista: C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2008
  1. Default Sheets are now located at:
    • For Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2008
    • For Windows Vista: C:\ProgramData\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS 2008

RealView Support in SOLIDWORKS 2008

There are 3 Levels of RealView Support in SW 2008:

  1. Full OpenGL Shading Language programmability, available with current generation cards with 91.36 or better driver.  It supports all 2008 RealView features.
  2. Fallback OpenGL Shading Language programmability, available with older generation cards, may still need 91.36 or better driver.  It runs a lower quality shader program since it uses the old shadow styles and does not support HDR.  Will not see the fancy shadows and reflections.  Falls in the Supports RealView with limitations category.
  3. Fallback to generic OpenGL textures, available for all cards that had RealView enabled in 2007, but cannot do 1 or 2.  Cannot support the new shader program model. They are still capable of running RealView, but are using OpenGL extensions and basic texture support.  RealView looks the same as it did in 2007.