Articles by: Andrew Lidstone, CSWE

Andrew is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.

How to relocate SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault Database Files

Relocate SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault Database Files

To maximize PDM performance, the SQL database files should be located on the fastest hard drive available. If the mdf and ldf files for the database need to be relocated, this can be done using the Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Before moving the files, ensure that a backup of the database has been performed and that the vault has been locked so that no users are currently working. Step 1:  Locate the Database files Right click on the vault database and select Properties. Click on the Files page to find the current file path and file names.  Browse to this location through the Windows Explorer and then close the Properties window in the SQL Server Management Studio. Step 2:  Detach the Database Next, again right click on the Vault Database that is being moved and in the fly out menu under Tasks select Detach. Check the box for Drop Connections…

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SOLIDWORKS Backup / Recovery Settings Explained

The loss of data, whether from hardware failure, software issues or simply human error is a constant concern for all designers.  To help protect your data you may take advantage of Product Data Management software such as SOLIDWORKS PDM, but if you do not have these tools available, or even if you do, there are a few quick simple changes that you can make to your SOLIDWORKS settings that can help you to protect your hard work. Accessing SOLIDWORKS Backup and Recovery Options In SOLIDWORKS go to Tools > Options and under the System Options go to the Backup/Recover options page.  There are three sections here that we can have control over. SOLIDWORKS Auto-recover: The Auto-recover option is enabled by default in SOLIDWORKS and will create a new auto-recover file every 10 minutes.  The Auto-recover files will only be created if: (1) the file has already been saved once, so…

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How to display the SOLIDWORKS File Version in Windows Explorer

When a file is saved in SOLIDWORKS, the major version that it was last saved in is recorded as a custom property, as shown in the image below: Display SOLIDWORKS File Version This custom property can be displayed directly in the Windows Explorer detail view so that you can have it at a glance without having to select each file. Follow the two step process below: Step 1:  In a Windows Explorer folder set to a Details view, right click on the column header bar and select “More” Step 2:  In the Choose Details dialog, select the box for “SW Last saved with” and click “Ok“. The last major version that the file was saved with will now display directly in the detail view, as shown below:

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How To Manually Backup the SOLIDWORKS PDM Database

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…“. Step 3:  In the Select Backup Destination dialog, click “…” and select the folder where the backup file should be…

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How to use the SOLIDWORKS PDM View Setup Tool

SOLIDWORKS PDM View Setup tool

Once the SOLIDWORKS PDM Client software is installed the next step is to setup the Vault View which give the user(s) access to the vault through Windows Explorer. The easiest way to do this is by using the SOLIDWORKS PDM View Setup tool.  It is recommended that you perform this procedure with full Administrator privileges. SOLIDWORKS PDM View Setup Tool Step-by-step guide The View Setup is found by going to the Start Menu > SOLIDWORKS PDM > View Setup. Screen 1:  Welcome Launch the program then click “Next>“. Screen 2:  Select Servers On the Select servers screen you will see any Archive Servers that your system can currently communicate with across the network.  If you are in a replicated environment make sure that you select the Archive Server that is local to your office (you may need to confirm this with your PDM Administrator to make sure which server is the one…

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How to Avoid Locking Out the Microsoft SQL sa Account

Starting with Microsoft SQL 2005, the Password Policy and Password Lockout settings from the Windows Operating System (found by going to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy > Account Policies) are automatically inherited by the sa account in SQL. This could lead to issues if the password stored in the Database Server Configuration program or the Archive Server Configuration tool are incorrect for any reason and the Password Policy is set to lockout the account after a certain number of failed login attempts. If that happens, PDM will no longer be able to access the SQL database and users will not be able to work in the vault. For this reason the SOLIDWORKS PDM Installation Guide recommends disabling this option for the sa account. This can be done from within the SQL Server Management Studio program, by expanding the Security folder, then the Logins folder and right clicking…

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How to change the SOLIDWORKS PDM Client License Type

When installing the SOLIDWORKS PDM Client you can select from 3 different license types:  Editor, Contributor or Viewer.  It is very important to make sure that you select the correct license type for the PDM licenses that you own, otherwise you will receive an error when trying to log into the vault. SOLIDWORKS PDM Editor:  Supports working with all file types. Users can add and modify files.  CAD add-ins allow access to PDM functions within supported CAD applications. SOLIDWORKS PDM Contributor:  Users can perform the some actions as with the Editor license but add-ins are not enabled. SOLIDWORKS PDM Viewer:  Allows read-only access to vaults, users cannot add or modify files. If the license type needs to be changed after the SOLIDWORKS PDM Client software was installed, it can be changed through the SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration program. Steps for changing SOLIDWORKS PDM Client License type Open the Administration program and…

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Resetting the SOLIDWORKS Windows Registry Entry

Longtime Windows users are likely familiar with the debilitating effects of even a single Windows Registry key becoming corrupted. SOLIDWORKS is by no means immune to such a situation. Perhaps you may have experienced some of these effects before. SOLIDWORKS showing only the splash screen and not actually launching, toolbars missing unable to be retrieved, and a number of other bizarre and seemingly random errors can all be symptoms of a corrupt registry key. You may be able to correct this by resetting SOLIDWORKS Windows registry entry. Resetting the registry will cause any settings or customization currently in place to be undone, reverting SOLIDWORKS back to a fresh, default installation. WARNING: Please be very careful when editing or deleting any entries in the Windows Registry as changing the wrong entry can lead to major issues on your system. Note that Javelin is not responsible for any changes that you make to your system,…

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