SolidWorks Crashes and Slowdowns, Part 2

Last week, when I started this “mini-series”, I talked mostly about your network. (Awesome post, btw. You can check it out here.) Today, let’s talk a little about crashes and what can cause them, shall we?

You have SolidWorks open and you go to insert a drawing view. You can hear your computer crunching all the 0′s and 1′s, but what you don’t know is that some bad juju is happening. A bad address, faulty driver, unavailable memory, or some other glitch and, BAM!, you get: crashThere are some common denominators that can contribute to a crash. One is your operating system. Obviously, if you’re running SolidWorks on an unsupported OS, you’re bound to have problems. However, even the supported ones can create issues. Ever have some Microsoft patch hose your system? ‘Nuff said.

Hardware and software combinations can also cause issues. You’ll see people posting about graphics issues fairly regularly in the various forums. More often than not, it comes down to two things. Either they’re using an unsupported card or they have the wrong driver installed. The fix for the first one is pretty obvious. The second one, however, isn’t quite as obvious. Many don’t realize that the driver for an nVidia Quadro xxxxxx that is in a computer they bought from HP or Dell may be different from the driver for a home built computer. When you go to SolidWorks’ testing site, pay attention to the first drop-down menu. If you’re using a branded system, that’s who you should choose for the manufacturer. If it’s home built, then you’d choose your card’s manufacturer. Now that you’ve downloaded the correct driver, you need to uninstall the existing driver, then reboot, stare in awe of how huge your icons are, then install the new driver.

Hardware issues aren’t always just video card related. There have been issues where mice, printers or other periphery have caused problems. Granted, most of the issues could be traced back to the products drivers, but you get my gist here, right?

As far as software goes, every once in a while you’ll hear how SolidWorks doesn’t play nice with AutoCAD or some other software. This is why there are people out there who have machines dedicated solely to SolidWorks. There isn’t too much you can do about it. Sometimes things happen when it comes to software compatibility.

Next up, installation.

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    April 21, 2009 · Posted in SolidWorks Community, SolidWorks Tips  
        

    Comments

    • http://www.zeometric.com btitus

      I get issues all the time with new software that I install. I make sure EVERYTIME I install something new that I do a REPAIR on my SolidWorks intallation to ensure all the system DLL's are the proper version and registered correctly.

    • Leviathan

      I am quite interested to hear about SW installations. I have had tons of problems with the new Installation Manager. The latest one following a failed upgrade to SW2009 SP3.0 and attempt to roll back to the previous install, SW Installation manager took a shotgun approach to deleting random files on my hardrive. I had to reinstall about seven or eight different programs just to get back up and running again, uninstall SW completely and reinstall from scratch.

    • JeffMirisola

      I've heard of others having issues upgrading. Thankfully, I didn't have any problems when I upgraded.
      Do you remember what caused the failure? Did you receive an error message?
      Your best bet when confronted with such a situation, aside from talking to your VAR, is to post the problem on one of the forum sites (see the links on the right). Not only will you end up, more often than not, getting your problem solved, but you'll end up helping others who are having the same problem.

    • RKDE

      I have seen many machines that suffer with Solidworks when email is open, it always turns out to be the ctfmon.exe, turning this off in the Microsoft office cures many halts and system crashes.
      During system halts I generally find it is the explorer.exe if its not the ctfmon.exe for this I find using the task manager to close the explorer.exe and then selecting run from the file system and re-starting explorer.exe gets the system back up and running…

    • JeffMirisola

      Richard,
      Thanks for contributing, that's great information!

      Jeff

    • Charles Rice

      I have found that it is better to use dwg editor when running Solidworks, rather than using Autocad…it just functions better. I agree with you on the video card driver business, it is better to use the computer mfgrs drivers. I seem to have the most trouble when I'm in the large assembly mode, for obvious reasons.

    • Gerry

      Same huge model one running on my laptop a Gateway FX with a GEForce 9800M GTS card with Vista64 works great, the other a Dell desktop with a NVidia Quadro FX 570 windows XP 3Gb of memory CRASHES. Finally have given up on the desktop, the Dell is a piece of junk, hopefully ordering a 1 Gb gaming card will fix the “issue”.

    • JeffMirisola

      I've heard of random issues when running AutoCAD and SolidWorks at the same time. Some people can do it, others can't.

      Jeff

    • JeffMirisola

      Gerry,
      Bear in mind that by using a gaming card, SW support won't be able to help you. Also, your crashes are probably due to memory issues versus graphics.

      Jeff

    • Volker von Detten

      3D Acrobat download works only on smaller file sizes. This was verified to me and is an issue with SW as they have not resolved this problem. Who else knows about this?

    • JeffMirisola

      Volker,
      Can you be more specific when you say “smaller files”? Also, I'm not sure how it would be a SolidWorks issue. It seems to me that it would have to do more with Adobe's ability to handle large files.

      Jeff

    • Joe Dunfee

      Unless the crash happens in a predictable manner, the difficulty is in determining the actual cause of the crash. I have spent days trying to figgure out why I crash SW regularly. I've done all the “right” stuff, even wiped my hard drive and started clean. Nothing worked, but of course, it is impossible to try every possible variation and use the trial and error method.

      What we really need is a method to track the cause.

    • JeffMirisola

      Joe,
      Are you saying you get consistent, yet random, crashes? That's interesting. Can you share more information?

      Jeff

    • Joe Dunfee

      I am saying that I have been unable to nail down a trigger… though I am sure they are not truely random events. Some combination of events and/or programs must trigger the problem.

      Some SW files will trigger more than the average number of crashes. Today has been totally without crashes. Yesterday, only one crash. But, last week, I had 3 or 4 crashes a day on several of the days.

    • JeffMirisola

      Joe,
      I don't know if you've tried this yet, but it may be worth a shot. Use SolidWorks Rx to document the issue from last session. Save up a few of these and then send them to your VAR and/or SolidWorks tech support. Using this method, an issue I was having was traced to a bad *.dll file that was causing what seemed to be random crashes.

      Jeff

    • Joe Dunfee

      Thanks for the reply, but I've done that.

      Also, I am curious what happens with the window that appears after a crash, and says it is sending a report. What sort of info is sent? Is it possible to view it myself?

    • Volker von Detten

      Jeff,
      Thanks for the reply. The file size limit is approx 2.5 MB. Also this issue was verified to me by SW and they confirmend to me that they yet have to find a solution to this. They also confirmend that SW2010 will still not have this rectified. Also when I try to print out of “print preview” in SW my system crashes (blue screen).
      Volker

    • JeffMirisola

      Joe,
      Your question went beyond my knowledge, so I contacted Robbie Liotta, Technical Services Manager at SolidWorks, to get his input. His response:

      It sounds like the reader is already familiar with the performance feedback program and the auto generated crash reports. Some additional info on this is available at http://www.solidworks.com/sw/support/customer-f… in case that helps.

      To answer your question, this data goes to a performance data server here at SolidWorks and is used by our development team to analyze software performance of the software and comparisons of trends between versions and service packs at a global level across the entire customer base. The nature of this data is such that it is not usually very useful on a single report basis.

      This data is not directly accessible by customers. We will sometimes use it during crash investigation discussions with resellers. Obviously we can only share data that applies to the same customer who submitted it, as this is confidential information. If a customer happens to have a problem with unexplainable random crashing which they do not have a good explanation for, we strongly recommend our customers to start a crash investigation discussion with their reseller. These are situations where SolidWorks Technical Support can provide some resources to help the reseller analyze the data and identify the causes for the crashing. A majority of crashing situations can be addressed with simple troubleshooting with the video card driver or memory monitoring, but sometimes this is not the case. As you know, the more extreme crashing scenarios can be complex discussion and something that needs to be monitored over a period of time, as there may be more than one type of crashing occurring with different causes (hardware, memory, OS, software defect, etc).

      If this reader is asking the question for the sake of curiosity and gaining some knowledge, this is great. However, I would be concerned if he is asking because he is actually experiencing an unexplainable crashing situation and isnt getting anywhere with it. I hope we are (or will be) engaging in some discussions with the VAR right now if this is the case.

    • Joe Dunfee

      Thank you for the response. However, I think in my case, the horse has been beaten to death. The dealer support has been about as much as we can expect from them.

      At my end, we have done as much as we can and have given up, and decided to live with how things are now. It is better to even stay with the version and SP release we have [2009 sp3], and perhaps someday figure out what SW features to avoid, than to upgrade to a new service pack and have to start the process all over again. Having to re-discover a new set of bugs every time is VERY time consuming.

    • JeffMirisola

      Sorry I couldn't be of more help, Joe. I do hope that things smooth out for you, and your company, in the future.

      Jeff

    • http://twitter.com/caddesigner216 Brian Mahone

      This article is very true. I have seen this my self in the past. I am just reading this to stay up to date on some of the issues at hand thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/caddesigner216 Brian Mahone

      In the past I have ran the SolidWorks RX to helpl find and fix some of the problems of crashing.

    • http://twitter.com/caddesigner216 Brian Mahone

      This article is very true. I have seen this my self in the past. I am just reading this to stay up to date on some of the issues at hand thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/caddesigner216 Brian Mahone

      In the past I have ran the SolidWorks RX to helpl find and fix some of the problems of crashing.

    • http://computerkeepsfreezing.net/Products.html nash

      “Hardware and software combinations can also cause issues”does my router firewall conflict with my antivirus firewall?

    • http://computerkeepsfreezing.net/Products.html computer keeps freezing

      “Hardware and software combinations can also cause issues”does my router firewall conflict with my antivirus firewall?

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