Clean Install…huh…what?

Posted on May 11th, 2008. Posted In SolidWorks Tips

Clean install. What is it? It’s what you should be doing when moving from one major release to the next. Why? Because I said so. Ok, so that’s not a valid reason. However, I’ve often said, "if you just do things my way, there won’t be any problems." I digress, though…
Back to clean installs. First the ‘why?’. It’s actually quite simple. By doing a clean install, you remove all traces of the previous version of SolidWorks from your machine. By removing this legacy data, you lessen the chances of having dangling bits of data floating around to screw up your new installation. There have been many times when someone will call in, or I’ll read something in a forum, where a user is bemoaning the latest version of SolidWorks. They’ll harp on about it being full of bugs. After determining that s/he simply stuck in their DVD and upgraded, a clean install is recommended. Lo and behold, no more bugs! (Ok, so there probably are still some legitimate bugs left, but not anywhere near what they were experiencing.) Naturally, there is a codicil to  this whole thing. There are users out there, myself included, who need to have multiple versions on their machines.  Since I started running two separate installs, I’ve found that I tend to have to reinstall more often. Though, working for a VAR presents a whole host of new and exciting problems….
I’ve always found it strange how a very small percentage of the user community will complain about "numerous bugs" in a new release and suddenly said new release is crap.  It never ceases to amaze me how negative reviews travel so much faster and wider than the positive reviews. What prompted this quasi-rant? A post located here, in the Eng-Tips forum. Because the original poster had one customer complaining about their ’08 install, his company was prepared to NOT install ’08 and wait for ’09. This, in my opinion, is simpy ridiculous. Since ’08 came out, people have been raving about it. Yes, it’s had some problems. Yes, people had trouble adjusting to the new UI, but come on! ’08 has to be one of the most stable releases yet! Is it perfect? Hardly. Remember, though, that SolidWorks is created by Humans and Humans make mistakes. Ergo, the program will have mistakes. Can you name any software product that doesn’t?
How do you go about doing a clean install? Well, I’m glad you asked. First things first. Use your copy settings wizard to, duh, copy your settings. Next, use Add/Remove programs to remove SolidWorks. Once this is done, go to C:\Program Files and remove any SolidWorks folders in there. After that, go to Start->Run and type in regedit. This will bring up your Registry Editor. Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE->Software, remove any SolidWorks or SRAC folders. Do the same under HKEY_CURRENT_USER->Software. You’ve now completed a clean install.

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