How to update to the latest SOLIDWORKS Service Pack

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated July 25, 2011


Each year there are typically five SOLIDWORKS service pack updates released to address SPRs (Software Performance Reports), providing an even better 3D modeling experience.

The update process is quick, provided you have done all the necessary prep work.  This post will guide you through the best practices for an update.

The SOLIDWORKS Service Pack Download:

This will be the longest process of the update but you do have the option to leave it downloading and continue working in SOLIDWORKS.  Here are 3 methods for downloading the installation files:

  1. In SOLIDWORKS click Help > “Check for Updates” or in Windows click Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager > Check for Updates
  2. Download from a SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal account by browsing to  Select “Downloads and Updates” and choose the version of SOLIDWORKS to download.
  3. The Background Downloader is found in the Windows task tray.  It can be started from Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager > Background Downloader.  This can automatically check for updates and start the download (by default to My Documents\SOLIDWORKS Downloads)
SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager SOLIDWORKS Service Pack

SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager

When launching the Installation Manager (running the Setup.exe), you have the option for ‘Individual (on this computer)’ or ‘Download and Share all files’.  The ‘Individual’ option will only download the files required to update the existing installation (a patch).  The Download and Share option will download the entire installation files (similar size to the DVD) of that service pack.  This option is very useful as the downloaded files can be transferred to another computer to update or perform a fresh install straight to the latest service pack.  You no longer need to install from the DVD (service pack 0) and apply patches for the latest service.

Disable Background Downloader

I prefer being in control when the download occurs so I’ve disabled the Background Downloader by clicking the icon in the Windows Task Tray and deselected ‘Automatically Download Updates’:

Background Downloader Disabled

Background Downloader Disabled

If SOLIDWORKS is already installed, I would go through Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager > Check for Updates.  Choose ‘Download and Share’.  The download will be large, but you can then you have a digital copy of the entire file set so the DVD is no longer needed.  On a 20+Mbps internet connection, it’s done in a couple hours.  Store the full downloaded fileset on another drive or server in case you have a hard drive failure.

If you are having difficulties downloading through the Installation Manager, please review the Troubleshooting your Installation Manager Download blog post.

The SOLIDWORKS Service Pack Installation:

Now that you have the full installation file set downloaded (by default it is saved under My Documents\SOLIDWORKS Downloads), you can now start the Installation.  This process should only take about 30 minutes.  Log into Windows as the full LOCAL Administrator account.  It’s crucial to have full permissions over all folders and registry keys on the local machine

For a more detailed description of the Installation process, please review our SOLIDWORKS Installation Guides on our support page.

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.