Lost your SOLIDWORKS data in a crash? SOLIDWORKS Auto-recovery can help

Article by Chris Briand, CSWE created/updated December 13, 2012

Everybody has had it happen at least once…you dig in on an important project and get so carried away by your design you forget to save your work regularly.  It’s generally not until there is some sort of complication that we realize that we haven’t yet saved our files and committed our design to the sea of zeros and ones sitting on the hard drive.

With time being as precious as it is these days, any time that we can recover from a crash or unforeseen circumstance is of benefit.

SOLIDWORKS Auto-recovery

When you start SOLIDWORKS after a crash any documents that had been active for more than the Auto-recovery interval should appear in the SOLIDWORKS Document Recovery Tab within the task pane. From there they can be saved as a new file or used to replace the original.

SolidWorks Auto-recovery tab

SolidWorks Auto-recovery tab

The Auto-recovery settings may be found under: Tools > Options > Backup/Recover

Auto-Recover Option

SOLIDWORKS Auto-recover Settings

What if the SOLIDWORKS Recovery Tab did not appear during the restart after the crash?

If you take a look at the folder listed under the Auto-recover settings you will discover where SOLIDWORKS has been saving your Auto-recovery data. Navigating to the folder within Windows Explorer, you should see a file with an .SWAR extension.

Personally I think SolidWorks should have labeled the Auto-Recovery extension as *.SWEAR – this is what we all do when we experience a crash…

Visibility of this file extension requires having hidden files visible within your Windows Explorer options.

If you look carefully at the name of the auto-recover file, you will see that SOLIDWORKS has saved a copy of the part or assembly file and added a prefix, and appended the file extension.

  • For Example: PART A.SLDPRT – Is saved as: AutoRecover Of PART A.SLDPRT.SWAR

If you edit the name and extension of the file, removing the AutoRecover prefix, as well as replacing the .swar extension with the correct part, assembly or drawing file extension – we end up with a copy of our original file, that has the last change saved based on the number of minutes set in the Backup/recover options.

I hope this short tip will benefit those who find themselves in a bind, I know it has come in handy for me on more than one occasion. View this article to help you determine why SOLIDWORKS is crashing.

Happy Modeling!

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Chris Briand, CSWE

Chris has been educating and supporting Engineers, Designers and IT Personnel within the 3D CAD industry since 2002, and was adopted into the fantastic team of applications experts here at Javelin Technologies in early 2006.  Chris enjoys the continuous learning driven by the ingenuity and challenges Designers bring forward. Innovation using 3D Printing, 3D CAD and other technologies, combined with a diverse background as a technologist, allows Chris to find solutions that accelerate Designers, and take Design Teams to new heights. Chris is currently being held at an undisclosed location, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.