How to Install Multiple SOLIDWORKS Versions on your system

Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE updated April 19, 2012

Do you need to install a second release of SOLIDWORKS on your system?  For instance your company may have already upgraded to SOLIDWORKS 2020, but you may have a customer that requires files in SOLIDWORKS 2019 format.

That’s actually not a problem, you can install multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS side by side on a single computer.  In some previous releases this may have required some additional steps to ensure that the settings for each installed version were completely separate, but these extra steps are no longer needed.

When installing multiple releases there are two modifications that should be made during the installation process.

Modify Installation Location

On the Summary screen, expand the Installation Location section and click “Change” to modify the installation location from the default.

Modify the path in the Install selected products to box from the default folder “SOLIDWORKS Corp” to a version specific location.  Click Browse and create a new folder for the installation to use.  We recommend using a format such as SOLIDWORKS 20XX for clarity.  Click “Back to Summary” once the changes have been made.

Toolbox Data Path (For SOLIDWORKS Professional & Premium)

Back on the Summary screen, expand the Toolbox/Hole Wizard Options and click “Change“.

Modify the path for the toolbox location from the default to a unique folder for this installation.  Click Browse and create a new folder on the C: root.  Again, we recommend using a format such as SOLIDWORKS Data 20XX for clarity.  Click “Back to Summary” once the changes have been made.

Once the changes have been made, proceed with the installation.

Some commonly asked questions

Are there any known issues with running multiple releases of SOLIDWORKS on the same system?

SOLIDWORKS Development tests all new releases for compatibility when installed alongside the previous major release.  So the having the latest release and the previous major release installed on the same system is always a supported combination.  However releases that are multiple years apart are not tested for compatibility, though they work together with no issues.  If issues are encountered that cannot be reproduced in a supported environment, it may be necessary to uninstall one of the releases if no other workaround can be found.

How many different releases can be installed on the same system?

Again, only the combination of one major release and the major release that either immediately preceded it, or immediately followed it is officially supported.  So the combination of SOLIDWORKS 2018 and 2019, or of SOLIDWORKS 2019 and 2020 would be tested and verified as fully compatible by SOLIDWORKS, but not SOLIDWORKS 2018, 2019 AND 2020.  While this not tested, there may not be any issues encountered with this configuration, but if they are and the issues cannot be reproduced in a supported environment, it may require one or more releases being uninstalled to address such issues fully.

How does SOLIDWORKS licencing work when there are multiple releases installed on the same system?

For Standalone licensing, the latest release installed on a system will require activation.  If an older release is then installed on the same system, no further activation steps will need to be done, the activation of the latest release will provide licensing for the older release as well.  Both versions can be launched at the same time.

For Network licensing, the SolidNetwork License Manager that the client is requesting a license from must be the same release or newer than the SOLIDWORKS release on the client.  If two different releases of SOLIDWORKS are both launched on the same client at the same time, only one license will be consumed by the client.

What video card driver should be used when there are multiple releases installed on the same system?

Always use the video card driver certified for the latest release installed on the system.

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Andrew Lidstone, CSWE

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