How to Install Multiple SOLIDWORKS Versions on your system

Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE created/updated April 19, 2012

Do you need to be able to use more than one release of SOLIDWORKS on your system?  For instance you may use SOLIDWORKS 2016 but for one supplier or customer you also need SOLIDWORKS 2015 since they haven’t upgraded yet and you need to share some files with them.  How can you install two or more versions of SOLIDWORKS on your computer and keep the installations stable and completely separate from each other? In this tech tip we’ll show you steps to install Multiple SOLIDWORKS versions on your system.

Install Multiple SOLIDWORKS Versions on your system

Like many people, you may have already done a straight installation of two or more versions of SOLIDWORKS onto your system, without making any changes to the default settings in the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager.  If that is the case take a look at your C:/ directory.  Right away you will probably notice a folder that says SolidWorks Data, and one that says SolidWorks Data(2), and maybe even a SolidWorks Data(3).  Next, if you look in the SolidWorks Corp folder in your Program Files directory you will likewise also see a folder titled SolidWorks, then a SolidWorks(2), and maybe a SolidWorks(3).

Having this type of file structure can often lead to issues with SOLIDWORKS behaviour, especially if one or more of the releases are later uninstalled.

These instructions will help you install multiple SOLIDWORKS versions on your system. The process below is starting with the assumption that you already have one version of SOLIDWORKS installed on your system (we’ll use SOLIDWORKS 2015 as our example) and that you are going to install SOLIDWORKS 2016.  The instructions would be the same for any release of SOLIDWORKS though.

Installation Preparation:

Step 1.  Download the full SOLIDWORKS installation file set using the “Download Only” option in the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager.

Download and Share all files

Download and Share all files

Step 2.  Go to Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS 2015 > SOLIDWORKS Tools > Copy Settings Wizard.  Select “Save Settings” and click “Next >”.  Browse to a location to store the settings file where it will be safe (the “SolidWorks Downloads” folder in “My Documents” is a good choice).  Give the file a descriptive name such as “SolidWorks 2015 Settings”.  Make sure all the options are checked and click “Finish”.

Copy Settings Wizard

Copy Settings Wizard

Step 3.  **IMPORTANT** Launch the Windows Registry Editor by going to the Start menu and type regedit in the search box.  In the Registry Editor expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER then Software, right-click the SolidWorks entry and select Rename.  Rename the entry something like SolidWorks_Backup.

Reg Edit


** Do NOT open SolidWorks 2015 yet. **

Installing New Release:

Step 4.  Start the SOLIDWORKS 2016 Installation Manager, and select the option to “Create a new installation”

New Installation

New Installation

Step 5.  On the Summary page of the Installation Manager click “CHANGE” in the “Installation Location” section.

Change Installation Location

Change Installation Location

Step 6.  Click “Browse…” for the “Install selected products to:” location and create a new folder named “SOLIDWORKS 2016”.  Then click “Back to Summary”

Choose new folder

Choose new folder

Step 7.  On the Summary page click “CHANGE” in the “Toolbox/Hole Wizard Options” section.

Toolbox/Hole Wizard Options

Toolbox/Hole Wizard Options

Step 8.  Select the option to “Create a new 2016 Toolbox:”.  Then click “Browse…” and create a new folder called “SOLIDWORKS Data 2016” on the C: directory.  Then click “Back to Summary”.

Step 9.  On the Summary page click “Install Now”

Applying Settings:

Step 10.  Once SOLIDWORKS 2016 is installed, launch SOLIDWORKS 2016.

*** Do NOT open SolidWorks 2015 yet. ***

Step 11.  Close down SOLIDWORKS 2016 and go to Start > All Programs > SolidWorks 2016 > SolidWorks Tools > Copy Settings Wizard and repeat the procedure from Step 3 to save a “SolidWorks 2016 Settings” file.

Step 12.  Once the is completed again go to  Start > All Programs > SolidWorks 2015 > SolidWorks Tools > Copy Settings Wizard but this time select the option to “Restore Settings”.  Select the SolidWorks 2015 Settings.sldreg file created in Step 1 and select the option to “Apply settings from this file to: SolidWorks 2015”.

Once complete, both SOLIDWORKS installations will be installed completely separate from each other.

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Andrew Lidstone, CSWE

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