Why you should use Restart (instead of Shut down) with SOLIDWORKS

Article by John Lee, CSWE updated April 1, 2021


When troubleshooting unwanted behavior on a computer, especially when running SOLIDWORKS, there are a couple of simple steps worth trying early in the process.  Restart SOLIDWORKS, and if that didn’t resolve it then restart/reboot the computer.

But beware… “restart” may no longer mean what you think it means!  It certainly isn’t what it used to be.

Restart vs Shut Down

Shutting down the computer and then turning it back on, especially if the fast boot option is enabled in Windows 10 (which it likely is, by default) is not the same as Restart/reboot.  Sure, it’s way faster, but there is a reason for that:

Shut down writes the contents of memory to a file, which it then quickly reloads into memory when you turn the computer back on.

In human terms, it would be like taking a catnap when what you really needed was a lengthy sleep complete with plenty of REM cycles.  Nerds such as myself will likely relate this to the 2003 run of Battlestar Galactica (episode title “33”), or Star Trek: The Next Generation (episode title “Night Terrors”).  Not surprising that being unable to refresh the mind for many days in a row, as with humans, might lead to mistakes creeping into the software, manifesting as unwanted behavior.

Restart, on the other hand, clears the RAM and the processor cache.  Your computer would likely thank you, if it could.  🙂

Refresh computer memory (and SOLIDWORKS behavior) with Restart daily

Before trying Restart, you can find out how long it has been since this was last done, per our article for a SOLIDWORKS Rx Reboot Check.  While the SOLIDWORKS Rx utility confirms when was the last restart, it also tends to report that “a reboot is pending on your system” (and so does the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager), but you can ignore that if you know you are rebooting often enough.

So, how many days since your system was restarted/rebooted?  Was it more than twenty?  More than fifty?  Don’t worry; your secret is safe 😉  Say no more, mum’s the word, and all that rot….    Try restarting daily.  But, certainly it might be fun to start a new category for this in the Guinness Book of World Records… 😀

SOLIDWORKS Restart Best Practice

A recommended time to restart is at the end of each day because it always takes a few minutes, and may also trigger a Windows Update.  Another benefit is that the computer boots up at the end of it all, which makes it accessible for remote access when working from home, or by your IT.  If a Shut down is required, then this can still be done after a restart.

The takeaway: use Start > Power > Restart.  For best results, perform daily

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John Lee, CSWE

John Lee is inherently lazy in that he prefers to work smarter - not harder. A CSWE with fifteen years of experience using SOLIDWORKS and a background in mechanical design, John has used SOLIDWORKS in various industries requiring design for injection molding, sheet metal, weldments and structural steel.