SOLIDWORKS, 3D CAD

SOLIDWORKS 2021: Tips For a Successful Upgrade

By David Ramsey on October 2, 2020

It's that time of the year, sweater weather is finally here! We always look forward to this season, not just for the pumpkin spice and the apple pie, but because it's the update season for SOLIDWORKS to play with! Less than two weeks ago, the enhancements and new features for SOLIDWORKS 2021 were released, and we want to make sure your transition into these changes goes as smooth as possible. Here are the key points to help you have the best experience when upgrading to SOLIDWORKS 2021.

Installation Type and Backup Plan

It’s important that you consider your installation type before updating. Do you have a stand-alone or network license? If you have a network license, it is important that the SOLIDWORKS Network License Manager (SNLM) be updated first. This is required as the SNLM must be the equivalent or more recent version than the client machines (2020 SNLM can manage 2020 and below licenses, but 2020 SNLM cannot manage 2021 licenses).

Once you’ve confirmed your installation type, make sure you back up your settings. This means PDM Vaults, Custom Settings in SOLIDWORKS and toolbox databases. If using SOLIDWORKS PDM, please contact the TriMech PDM team prior to upgrading to SOLIDWORKS 2021 so we can help.

>> Read our article about how to use the PDM File Version Upgrade tool

Copy Settings Wizard

Before updating SOLIDWORKS, it's important that you capture your current user settings. These are things like your toolbox menus, your keyboard shortcuts and custom file locations for templates. Essentially, things that you're going to want to make SOLIDWORKS “yours” once again.

If you are doing a Clean Uninstall, when the registry is left alone, then a New install or Upgrade will pull in the prior settings, with an option on starting up the first time to use the newer menus and Command Manager, or use your old one. The prior system options including file locations will still come into the newer version.

Settings Wizard SOLIDWORKS

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If using online licensing, these settings can be backed up to the SOLIDWORKS cloud so they are available on any machine the user logs into:
  1. Log in to the SOLIDWORKS software.
  2. In Tools > Options, click Synchronize Settings.
  3. Select Synchronize Now
  4. Upload Settings. Sends your settings from the current machine to the cloud storage service. Update your settings in the cloud at any time by uploading them again.

>> Watch our Video Tech Tip, Save and Restore Your Customizations and UI in SOLIDWORKS

Custom Templates in Custom File Locations

If you're going to be using custom templates for drawings, parts or assemblies it's important that you create a separate file location for these templates in SOLIDWORKS file locations in the Options dialog. This is necessary because during the update process SOLIDWORKS wipes the default directory and any custom information is removed. By saving your custom templates in a unique location and running a Copy Settings Wizard, these locations are restored once the software is updated.

Custom Templates in SOLIDWORKS

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Confirm System Specifications

System Specs Confirmation in SOLIDWORKSAs SOLIDWORKS grows and becomes more robust, the physical requirements of your CAD machine also grow. As such, it is important to make sure that your Workstation meets the hardware needs of the newer, better software.

>> Click here to review system requirements for SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS PDM

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS be installed on my machine? Yes. During the install, SOLIDWORKS will recognize there are other versions already installed. Pay attention to the install options as it will ask you if you wish to upgrade an existing install or not.
    Note: It is recommended to create a new install folder for the new version (C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS 2021) AND a new SOLIDWORKS Data folder (C:\SOLIDWORKS Data 2021) for Toolbox. If you do not specify a new Toolbox folder, the older version will be updated to the new version and you will run into issues with Toolbox.
  2. Can multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS be installed on my machine if I have a network license? Yes. See previous note.
    Note: The SNL Manager on the server will need to be upgraded to the latest version first. A 2020 SNL Manager will still serve licenses of older versions (i.e. 2019, 2020, etc.).

Hopefully this article provides you with some important information to consider and answers some of your more immediate questions before planning your next upgrade. If you have any additional questions, please be sure to reach out to our Tech Support Team at 888.874.6324 .

Now that you have an overview of the top tips for a smooth upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2021, we encourage you to click on the button below and download our complete guide, Getting Ready for SOLIDWORKS 2021.

Download Guide