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Why You Need LOCAL Administrative Rights to Install SOLIDWORKS

Article by Jim Peltier, CSWE created/updated February 27, 2014

Perhaps the most common reason for failed installations our customers encounter is a lack of proper permissions to install SOLIDWORKS. To ensure that the installation goes smoothly, one of the things we always state is that the user must have local administrative rights on the computer in question. In response to this, most users reply back to us that they do have administrative rights only to find out that they are a domain administrator. One way to check for this is to:

  1. Click the Start button
  2. Right-click the Start button and select Computer Management (for Windows 7 users, go to Start > right-click on Computer and choose ‘Manage’)
  3. Expand Local Users and Groups, select the Groups folder
  4. Right-click Administrators and choose Properties from the list.

Here’s a screenshot:

Computer Management

To access this screen, go to Start, then right-click Computer and choose Manage

The result will be a list of all the recognized local administrators and administrator groups. If you are a domain administrator, but you don’t see DOMAIN\Domain Admins listed here then you do not have the necessary rights. If you do not see your username listed here then you do not have the necessary rights.

Some of the more conservative IT folks out there are either uncomfortable giving administrative rights to users, or do not understand why it is necessary. The reason behind why it is necessary is that during the installation of SOLIDWORKS, the installer needs write access to the registry. Lots of keys are created in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, which requires local administrative rights during the installation. The same access is required if a repair of SOLIDWORKS is required or when upgrading to the latest service pack. If you are using a network license of SOLIDWORKS, you will need those same rights to redefine the license server.

User settings are stored in HKEY_CURRENT_USER, which means that if a user does not have write access to this portion of the registry they will be unable to customize their SOLIDWORKS user interface and be unable to change file path locations for locating templates or toolbox. That said, a user does not need local administrative rights to access this portion of the registry, and they can be granted access to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\SolidWorks\ as well as its subkeys to gain enough access to use SOLIDWORKSand customize the user interface.

Some anti-virus software packages block write access to the registry..  This can potentially be a problem if the publisher hasn’t allowed an exception for SOLIDWORKS. That is why we recommend disabling the anti-virus for the duration of the install. It can be enabled again after the installation is complete.

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Jim Peltier, CSWE

Jim has been using SolidWorks since 2001, and has spent most of that time working in the design of industrial automated manufacturing equipment. He has been working as an Applications Expert at Javelin Technologies in Oakville, Ontario since July 2012 and is a Certified SolidWorks Expert (CSWE).

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