SOLIDWORKS on a Virtual Machine

Article by updated March 19, 2014


Can you run SOLIDWORKS on a virtual machine? Yes! You absolutely can. This is a stark contrast to the past environment for SOLIDWORKS. In the past, SOLIDWORKS was explicitly not supported on virtual machines and there weren’t any options to run a SOLIDWORKS product on a web browser either. Imagine that, a world where SOLIDWORKS couldn’t run on a virtual machine or in a web browser. But things have changed. So what’s different now? Let’s take a look back and learn from the past.

SOLIDWORKS in the Past

The lack of official support stemmed from the limitations of OpenGL. The official position of SOLIDWORKS was “Virtual environments force SOLIDWORKS, eDrawings and DraftSight to run in Software OpenGL mode resulting in significant graphics performance degradation.”

Software OpenGL forces the software to talk to a graphics driver and not the graphics card directly. But today’s virtual machines are capable of taking advantage of the graphics card, they can access the GPU directly.

3DEXPERIENCE Model Virtual

And this has been further extended to enable CD offerings on the cloud or in your web browser. SOLIDWORKS offers beta versions of the software you can access in a web browser in addition to many of the new 3DEXPERIENCE apps that are full-featured CAD modeling applications on the web. The latest two of these apps are xDesign and xShape which offer the power of SOLIDWORKS CAD on the web browser. This is made possible because of the innovative 3DEXPERIENCE platform which enables next level collaboration and CAD modeling.  

So when people ask us, “Can I run SOLIDWORKS on a virtual machine,” the answer is now: yes! And there’s even CAD in a web browser with the latest products from SOLIDWORKS.

SOLIDWORKS Supported Virtual Environments

A list of supported virtual environments is listed on the system requirements for SOLIDWORKS. The complete list is shown below.

solidworks hyper vSOLIDWORKS Virtualization Environment
Ready to learn more about 3DEXPERIENCE and other cloud-based features? Click on the button below to watch our on-demand webinar, An Introduction to xDesign and 3DEXPERIENCE.

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