How To Manually Backup the SOLIDWORKS PDM Database

Article by Andrew Lidstone, CSWE updated July 5, 2019


When troubleshooting SOLIDWORKS PDM issues, or when performing operations like software upgrades you may need to manually backup the SOLIDWORKS PDM Database outside of your normally scheduled Maintenance Plan.

This backup can be run as a task within the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio.

Step 1:  In the Management Studio, right click on the PDM database that needs to be backed up, then go to the Tasks flyout and select “Back Up…

Step 2:  In the Back Up dialogue box, on the General page, ensure that the Backup type is set to Full and the Backup component is set to Database.  In the Destination area, make sure that the Back up to option is set to Disk.  You may need to select the existing destination and select “Remove”, then click “Add…“.

Backup the SOLIDWORKS PDM Database

Backup the SOLIDWORKS PDM Database

Step 3:  In the Select Backup Destination dialog, click “…” and select the folder where the backup file should be created.  Enter a name for the backup file, including the “bak” extension. Clicking Ok in the Select Backup Destination dialogue will return to the General screen of the Back Up dialogue.

Select Backup Destination

Select Backup Destination

Step 4:  On the Media Options page of the Back up dialog window, set the Overwrite media option to Overwrite all existing backup sets, then check the option under Reliability to Verify backup when finished.

Overwrite media option

Overwrite media option

SOLIDWORKS PDM Compress backup

Compress backup

Step 5 (Optional):  The backup file size will depend on the size of the vault.  It can be quite large, possibly several gigabytes.  When compressed however the file size will decrease dramatically.  If the file size will be very large, on the Backup Options page of the Back up dialogue window, you may wish to set the Compression action to Compress backup.  Alternatively, the .bak file can be compressed using Windows compression or a third party program.

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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.