SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard & Professional Backup Process

Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE updated March 6, 2019


SOLIDWORKS PDM provides a secure environment for users to store files, and safely keeps archived copies of these files on a central server, preventing most potential causes of data loss on local user’s computers.

However, it is essential that copies of the PDM Archives and Database backups be offloaded to a secure location to prevent catastrophic data loss due to hardware failure or ransomware attacks.

There are 3 key elements of SOLIDWORKS PDM that need to be backed up and offloaded:

1. The PDM Archives

The PDM Archive folder contains the actual copies of files that users have checked into the vault.  A backup of the Archive Folder should be offloaded from the server nightly if possible.  The folder can be copied using any backup software.

To locate the PDM Archive folder, launch the SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive Server Configuration utility on the PDM Server, right click on the vault name and select Properties.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive Server Properties

SOLIDWORKS PDM Archive Server Properties

The archive folder location will be listed under “Path”.

Archive folder location

Archive folder location

Server Folder

Server Folder

2. The PDM Database

In addition to the file copies stored in the Archive Folders, the PDM Database should be backed up and a copy of the backup (.bak file) offloaded nightly.

If it is a SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional vault, the database can be backed up using an integrated Maintenance Plan run by SQL Server Agent in Microsoft SQL Server Standard.

If it is a SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard vault, the database is hosted on Microsoft SQL Server Express, which does not include SQL Server Agent.  The database backup file can be either generated using a third party program, or through an SQL query run through Windows Task Scheduler.

3. The PDM Archive Server Settings

The final item that should be backed up and offloaded from the server are the PDM Archive Server Settings. Learn how in our related post.

If these three elements are backed up and off loaded from the server, then restoring from a complete system failure can be done very quickly with a minimum of data loss.

NOTE: If your SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault is connected to a SOLIDWORKS Manage Professional environment you will also need the additional items explained in the SOLIDWORKS Manage Professional Backup Process article

Learn more about SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration

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Andrew Lidstone, CSWE

Andrew Lidstone is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Application Engineer specializing in Data Management systems. He has been working in the SOLIDWORKS reseller channel since 2010 helping clients get the most from their CAD tools.