SOLIDWORKS PDM Sandbox Vault for modification and troubleshooting

Article by Joe Medeiros, CSWE updated August 16, 2013


A SOLIDWORKS PDM Sandbox Vault (test vault) should be used when modifying or troubleshooting your vault. Working with a SOLIDWORKS PDM Sandbox vault can help prevent problems, with your production vault, when you make changes. Some changes such as modifying workflows, may result in problems that can take a very long time to resolve. It is highly recommended to test any change in your Sandbox vault, before applying these changes to your production vault.

Creating a Sandbox vault is a simple procedure and well worth the time invested. In SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Administration, right-click on the server where you wish to create the Sandbox Vault and choose Create new vault.



Enter a name for your Sandbox vault.

vault name


Select the root folder where new file new file vault will be created.

archive folder

Choose the location of the database server. If you wish you can give the database a different name

database server


You will be prompted to enter the database server “sa” password.

sa passwrod

Chose the Language and the Date format.

language & date

Enter the admin password, or use the default password created during the archive server installation.

admin password

For the configuration of the vault, choose the Empty standard configuration. We will populating the Sandbox vault with nodes from the production vault and do not want  add any additional content.

Configure vault


After the Sandbox vault has been created, by clicking on Finish on the last screen, we need to Export the nodes from the production vault. Right click on the production vault and choose Export.

Export production vault


Save the Export as a .cex file.

save export


Lastly, right click on the newly created Sandbox vault and import the .cex file created earlier. You will be prompted to select the .cex file.

import cex

Now that you have a SOLIDWORKS PDM Sandbox vault you can use it to develop, troubleshoot and test the various nodes and items of your vault (i.e. cards, workflows, templates etc..). Once you have created and thoroughly tested  an item and would like to migrate it to your production vault, you can export that item and import it into the production vault. Individual nodes and items can also be exported from the production vault, for development or troubleshooting in the Sandbox vault. Items and nodes can also be dragged and dropped from vault to vault.

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Joe Medeiros, CSWE

Joe Medeiros is a SOLIDWORKS and PDM Certified Expert. He has been helping SOLIDWORKS users with training, mentoring and implementations since 1998. He combines industry experience with a thorough understanding of SOLIDWORKS products to assist customers in being successful. He shares his experience and expertise through blogs; one of which has been incorporated into the SOLIDWORKS Essentials training manual.