SolidWorks Crashes & Slowdowns: It’s Your Fault

You like that title? I did when Richard told it to me. It’s also the title of a new presentation I’m working on. Richard had done a similar presentation back in ’04 and, realizing it was right up my alley, bequeathed it unto me. After much updating, it’s almost done. I’m hoping to be presenting it at the next SASPUG meeting. I thought though, that I’d give you, my loyal reader (the check is in the mail), a peek into this incredible presentation by sharing some of the info in it over a couple of posts.

CAD Hurts!

Seriously, it can. It can cause headaches, bruising (from banging your fist on your keyboard) and serious amounts of stress. All CAD systems experience SSC (slowdowns, stalls and crashes). A lot of what you experience can depend on what you know or don’t know.

Many of the common denominators for SSC are your OS, the maintenance on your hardware and software, how you go about creating your models/assemblies/drawings and by simply not getting any help.

Like any other software package, SolidWorks will only work on certain operating systems. Yes, I know that’s somewhat short-sighted, but that’s the way it is. The current version of SolidWorks runs on WindowsXP (32- or 64-bit) or one of the Vista Business versions (32- or 64-bit). If you work some geek magic to get SW to work on a Mac, or any other platform, you’ll be SOL when it comes to tech support.

Is your network up to the task at hand? While everyone knows that you shouldn’t work across your network, most pull from, and save to, a network drive. If your network is maxed out, SSC, and data loss, are bound to show up. An easy test: Get in early and download/upload a good sized file, tracking the time. Do the same during the middle of the day and at the end of the day. If there’s a noticeable difference in the times, you might want to look at upgrading. If it’s at all possible, you should have a dedicated engineering server. You don’t need another department’s issues corrupting your data.

    April 14, 2009 · Posted in SolidWorks Community, SolidWorks Tips  
        

    Comments

    • http://www.solidmuse.com Anna Wood

      Great stuff Jeff, I am looking forward to the series.

      Cheers,

      Anna

    • JeffMirisola

      Thanks, Anna!
      Feel free to add info. I know that you're well versed in optimal systems and would love your feedback.

      Jeff

    • http://www.3-ddesignsolutions.com Devon T. Sowell

      Hi Jeff-

      Being a consultant with over 30 clients, I'd say that the majority of the SolidWorks users I've worked with have sub-standard computers that hinder their productivity.

      Devon Sowell

    • JeffMirisola

      Devon,
      Yup, I'll be getting into that next.

      Jeff

    • Pingback: SolidWorks Crashes and Slowdowns, Part 2 - Jeff’s Tool Shed

    • Max Green

      SolidWorks Crashes & Slowdowns… and it does it much much more than Solid Edge.
      I want my Solid Edge Back !!! :(((

    • Michael

      I like the topic and would like to hear more. I find that most of my crashes have to do with the video driver. Whenever I enable openGL the system runs slower but is much more stable.

      A comment on you Mac reference. I have a mac pro at home and I run windows XP 32-bit on boot camp and run Solidworks. For the last year I have been using it to work at home and to date have not had a single crash or slowdown. In fact I have never had windows or Solidworks run so well. I'm not necessarily promoting a mac but I do think it is interesting.

    • JeffMirisola

      Max,
      Have you done any investigating into what causes your issues? I'd be happy to try to help you out if you'd like.
      Knowing your system specs (including any applicable network specs), what sort of models/assemblies you're creating and the symptoms you're seeing would be a good place to start.

      Jeff

    • JeffMirisola

      Which card are you using?

      I know others that are using Macs and have very few problems. It's just that it's an unsupported system setup, so getting tech support would be next to impossible.

    • Michael

      My work system where I get the crashes is a Dell Precision Workstation, Dual Xeon 3 Ghz, 6 GB ram, running XP x64, the card is a Nvidia Quadro FX 3400 running the Solidworks recommended driver (which is not the latest by the way).

      Even though the x64 runs faster I have always suspected it to have a stability problem.

      You are right about the tech support for Solidworks/Windows on Bootcamp but since I havn't crashed I havn't needed it.

    • JeffMirisola

      One more question: Are you choosing Dell or Nvidia as the manufacturer? You should be choosing Dell. Believe it or not, the drivers can differ.

    • Michael

      Dell, the card came with the system. I just checked the SW website and searched on my system. They have a “Dellized” (their word) Driver for a FX3450 that I am going to try. Thanks for the tip. Last time I checked they didn't have anything for my system.

    • Woody

      When I was running on our company network – lots of crashes that I did not get at home. When I left SWX “checked-out” at work ~85% of my crashes went away. I did a lot of study time early at work before other users arrived and these crashes went away too! Don't run other programs especially Outlook and MS & IE Explorer! The other 15% is just the “beta-tester” in me. :)

    • JeffMirisola

      Max,
      Have you done any investigating into what causes your issues? I'd be happy to try to help you out if you'd like.
      Knowing your system specs (including any applicable network specs), what sort of models/assemblies you're creating and the symptoms you're seeing would be a good place to start.

      Jeff

    • Jeff

      On the topic of GPUs. What truly makes a workstation graphics card (such as ATI Fire or Nvidia Quadro) a requirement for SW versus a standard desktop graphics card (such as ATI Radeon or Nvidia GeForce)? The cost differential is huge between workstation cards and standard (gaming) desktop cards. Back when I was running SW 2007, I had much greater performance on my ATI Radeon X1900 versus my Nvidia Quadro on my workstation. I always assumed this was because of having more VRAM (3X more). Is this correct?

    • http://www.missionmobility.com/ Brian C.

      I have a Dell Precision M6300 with Dual Core processor T9500 @ 2.6o GHz, 4GB Memory, and the NIVIDA Quadro FX 3600M video card, with Windows Vista service pack-1.
      How do I check the driver for the video card? – It claims it is up to date.
      Where is the openGL located at?
      How much free hard drive space do I need to maintain?
      Should I set the Virtual Memory to a certain level?

      I have been having issues where the drawing area of the screen goes black and Solidworks locks up. I have to shut it down and reopen to get it to work again.

      Thanks for the help.

    • TNG11

      Problems seem to be more frequent on XP x64. Windows XP x64 is actually Server OS with an XP interface, so drivers, especially graphics drivers, can be a problem. x64 is not necessarily faster, but can enumerate more memory space. Is installing the x64 version of Solidworks on XP x64 (or Vista x64) the way to go, or would Solidworks 32-bit on XP x64, allow for the increased addressable memory space and provide more stability?
      Solidworks has .NET Framework dependencies, as do many other applications. There are multiple versions of .NET Framework installed on workstations, as a result of multiple versions of Visual Studio development environments. Can mis-matched.NET versions cause application SSC's? I have checked many of our CAD stations, and no two have the exactly the same .NET's. Microsoft also has x64 versions of .NET 2.0 in addition to 32-bit version, for example, and SP1 and SP2 for each. Are these the same? Can SP2 'break' Solidworks, or the x64 version is not recommended for use with Solidworks? Are there certain .NET's that are required by Solidworks, or conversely that should not be present on a Solidworks box?? If Application A (which is .NET dependent) is currently using some ofthe libraries on Workstation A, and Solidworks then attempts to use the same libraries, what happens? SSC?

      I would beg to differ with the title of the article. The SSC is not 'our' fault, but rather the fault of the Solidworks development team for A) not properly documenting the software for exact system requirements, including dependencies such as .NET, so that Solidworks users may ensure they are running a 100% compatible and stable platform, and B) not properly trapping the application, in case of anomalies.

      The fact that a link to an article on how to deal with frequent and severe application crashing in Solidworks, is provided in a Solidworks User Community newsletter, does not bode well. What if Solidworks was not an established vendor? Would companies searching for a new 3D design app, be likely to select the product with such poor stability ratings?

      Solidworks is easier to use than many other apps, is widely used, and is a very valuable asset to an organization, but the fact that SSC's are so prevalent should be viewed by Solidworks development team as a significant issue, putting product marketing at risk for both established user communities and potential new customers, which should be given the highest priority to resolve. Why is it left up to the end users to test and debug problems, via SR submission. Wouldn't an SR system to report problems, be in the realm of a 'beta testing', and not your production release? Stability should be job 1, feature request second.

    • http://www.plastics411.org/ Tom Moyak

      I'm running Solidworks 2007 (32-bit) and 2009 (64-bit) on a new, loaded PC ($6k) running Windows XP-64. I struggled with having to resort to “tricks” to get 2009 to open for the past 2 weeks until my VAR finally found out from Solidworks that updating to Internet Explorer 8 is causing a lot of problems out there with people running on 64-bit machines. The temporary solution is to uninstall IE8 (it automatically reverts to IE7 – no need to reinstall), but the email stated that it is slated as a hot fix for the next Solidworks Service Pack. I hope this helps some others out there.

    • JeffMirisola

      Jeff-
      As I understand it, the hardware is essentially the same, it's the software (drivers) that are different. With a “pro” card (FireGL or Quadro), your edges are more clear (via antialiasing) and OpenGL is supported. Nvidia has a detailed tech report available in PDF: http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro_geforce.html. I know that people used to mod their gaming cards into CAD cards, though I'm not sure it's still doable.
      As for the cost differences, it all comes down to supply and demand. There's less of a market for the CAD cards, so they charge more.

      Jeff

    • JeffMirisola

      Thanks for the info, Tom. I've seen this same issue on forums.solidworks.com as well.

    • JeffMirisola

      Brian,
      Go to: http://www.solidworks.com/sw/videocardtesting.html and make sure that the driver version listed for your computer matches the driver that's installed. It's been my experience that Dell usually messes that up.
      Start SolidWorks and, without having any documents open, go to Tools->Options->System Options->Performance. You'll see the OpenGL option towards the bottom.
      Free space: The more the better, IMO.
      Virtual Memory: If you're working on large assemblies, max it out. I believe the rule of thumb is 2X the minimum. I max it out.
      Your drawing issues definitely sound video related. You probably have the wrong driver. Download the new driver. Uninstall the old driver, reboot, install the new driver, reboot.

    • JeffMirisola

      Honestly, I'm not sure how to answer your questions. I'm not a programmer in any way, shape or form so I can't speak to the .NET questions.
      What I do know is this: CAD software is highly resource intensive. To expect the programmers of said software to be able to write code that covers every possible system/network setup is asking for too much. Then there's the whole issue with hardware/software updates. Because CAD software is so resource intensive, a driver update, a hotfix or an update to your AV can wreak havoc.
      Perhaps the title is a bit misleading, but it's been my experience as a long time user, and a former AE, that many crashes can be attributed to the end user. Does SolidWorks have bugs? You bet it does. So does almost any other software out there. How said bugs manifest themselves will also depend on your system and what you've installed. Looking through the forums, you'll see people who have, for them, critical issues. Others don't see those issues at all.
      I disagree with your statement about SolidWorks linking to my article. The overall gist of the article, and its sequels, was how to prevent common crashes. Ones that, generally, are user caused. Had the article been about major bugs in the software, and how to get around/avoid them, I'd still disagree. Were SolidWorks to link to such an article, it would show that they're aware of them and not afraid to admit as much. One would hope, too, that it meant they were working on them.
      I've forwarded on your comment to friends at SolidWorks. I'm hoping that they can pass it on to the right people to get answers to your .NET questions.

      Jeff

    • Leon

      I am a new SW 2009 user and I must admit that the SSC's can be a much at times, but then again I have a sub standard machine, the company I work for has an internal IT dept. and they seem to think that administrators and CAD users can all use the 'basic company machine', they should know better to begin with. I suppose they are governed by the company with regards to monies allocated towards IT systems etc. It all boils down to management ignorance. I have found that 9 out of 10 CAD users out there know exactly what they need and want in order to get the job done! You have to agree with Devons comment!

      I am also in the unfortunate position that there is not a lot of support at the workplace when it comes to SolidWorks help and advice, for that reason I am also really fortunate that I have the opportunity to experiment and fail horribly, but every now and then the experiment turns into awe if the newly gained knowledge is shared (and old SW users do not like new SW users telling them how to do things). I am a AutoCAD user (from v.14 up to 2009) the same with ProSteel and now SolidWorks and I must admit that it is by far the best way to learn any CAD software (or any software for that matter), the internet and people like you naturally makes this steep learning curve a little less steep, I have read and looked at hundreds if not thousands of blogs, websites thanks to YouTube), mails, etc.

      Back to the issue at hand. SSCs can in some way be contributed to the user and in many ways to the software/hardware. Obviously very few of us have dedicated CAD machines and we check mail, listen to music, do spreadsheets, work on a second CAD program and surf the web all on one machine. Having a dedicated, well set-up CAD system solves a lot of issues, but unfortunately the reality is that very few companies will (and can) do this for their much valued CAD designers (note: hint of sarcasm due to lack of pay increase).

      Thanks for all the info in these discussion groups. Back to work, now I just need to start SW up again, you didnt seriously think Im doing this while my SolidWorks is running?!! :-)

    • Joel Aragon

      Thanks for wasting my time with a worthless article to via a tips and tricks link , but I guess it is my fault for actually believing Solidworks would deliver a useful tip to its users!

    • JeffMirisola

      Thanks for reading, Leon.
      There are definitely times when the software is at fault but, as I mentioned in my response to TNG11, more often it is user error. I suppose, though, that I should clarify that statement as it's covering a wide swath. User error could mean installing an incorrect driver or another software package that conflicts with SolidWorks. It could also be file mismanagement, poor modeling techniques or sub-standard hardware (no offense).
      Good luck on your SolidWorks journey, Leon. I've been enjoying mine for almost 11 years and learn more every day.

    • Steve

      What's the point? To piss off SolidWork owners.
      Now Jeff's Tool Shed, that's your fault.

    • JeffMirisola

      Honestly, I'm not sure how to answer your questions. I'm not a programmer in any way, shape or form so I can't speak to the .NET questions.
      What I do know is this: CAD software is highly resource intensive. To expect the programmers of said software to be able to write code that covers every possible system/network setup is asking for too much. Then there's the whole issue with hardware/software updates. Because CAD software is so resource intensive, a driver update, a hotfix or an update to your AV can wreak havoc.
      Perhaps the title is a bit misleading, but it's been my experience as a long time user, and a former AE, that many crashes can be attributed to the end user. Does SolidWorks have bugs? You bet it does. So does almost any other software out there. How said bugs manifest themselves will also depend on your system and what you've installed. Looking through the forums, you'll see people who have, for them, critical issues. Others don't see those issues at all.
      I disagree with your statement about SolidWorks linking to my article. The overall gist of the article, and its sequels, was how to prevent common crashes. Ones that, generally, are user caused. Had the article been about major bugs in the software, and how to get around/avoid them, I'd still disagree. Were SolidWorks to link to such an article, it would show that they're aware of them and not afraid to admit as much. One would hope, too, that it meant they were working on them.
      I've forwarded on your comment to friends at SolidWorks. I'm hoping that they can pass it on to the right people to get answers to your .NET questions.

      Jeff

    • JeffMirisola

      Honestly, I'm not sure how to answer your questions. I'm not a programmer in any way, shape or form so I can't speak to the .NET questions.
      What I do know is this: CAD software is highly resource intensive. To expect the programmers of said software to be able to write code that covers every possible system/network setup is asking for too much. Then there's the whole issue with hardware/software updates. Because CAD software is so resource intensive, a driver update, a hotfix or an update to your AV can wreak havoc.
      Perhaps the title is a bit misleading, but it's been my experience as a long time user, and a former AE, that many crashes can be attributed to the end user. Does SolidWorks have bugs? You bet it does. So does almost any other software out there. How said bugs manifest themselves will also depend on your system and what you've installed. Looking through the forums, you'll see people who have, for them, critical issues. Others don't see those issues at all.
      I disagree with your statement about SolidWorks linking to my article. The overall gist of the article, and its sequels, was how to prevent common crashes. Ones that, generally, are user caused. Had the article been about major bugs in the software, and how to get around/avoid them, I'd still disagree. Were SolidWorks to link to such an article, it would show that they're aware of them and not afraid to admit as much. One would hope, too, that it meant they were working on them.
      I've forwarded on your comment to friends at SolidWorks. I'm hoping that they can pass it on to the right people to get answers to your .NET questions.

      Jeff

    • designerrr

      New to the site. Looks like I will learn more about solid modeling

    • JeffMirisola

      I like to think that I help out from time to time. Thanks for stopping by!

    • JeffMirisola

      What's the point of the post or…?

    • JeffMirisola

      I'm sorry you didn't find this post, or any of its related posts, useful. Perhaps you have some suggestions on what you would find useful?

    • Bhushan Kulkarni

      Its true Tom.
      It is a reported issue.

    • Bhushan Kulkarni

      Hi,
      True the above things.
      One more thing Graphics cards. Many users never take this thing seriously and it is important for SolidWorks 2008, 2009. Even they do not upgrade drivers regularly!

      Thanks.
      Bhushan

    • Pissed

      This article does nothing but blames Solidworks users.
      But what Solidworks Corp. does?
      They're as happy as pirates who have just found a treasure.
      They rush to include a link to this article in their newsletter instead of fixing their software.
      Solidworks is really a good software but it has real stability issues.
      I used 2007 and have been using 2008. Damn thing crashes 10 times a day.

    • JeffMirisola

      Actually, the point of this article, and the others in the series, was to point out common user mistakes. In no way am I trying to say that problems are strictly user error. SolidWorks has its share of problems, too.

    • vvv

      Please help me to learn this program, I use other programs in the same area so Please help me in that

    • eyad

      Please help me to learn this program, I use other programs in the same area so Please help me in that
      eyadashor@hotmail.com

    • JeffMirisola

      Your best bet is to get some formal training, whether it be from your VAR or online.

    • Brian

      I use “registry clean expert” to keep my Windows registry clean….But it removes the link for certain “add Ins” such as Photoworks on my system.
      I have to “repair” the installation to bring it back…
      Any thoughts?

    • Colin (macduff)

      Hi Jeff,
      You mentioned working over the network causes slowdowns and crashes. But if you're working in a multi-user environment, what about your toolbox/design library everyone is sharing, and SW recommends when doing you multi-user installation? Youre constantly pinging the server throughout the working day.

      Thanks,

    • Jeff Mirisola

      I use ccleaner and haven’t had any issues, Brian.

    • Jeff Mirisola

      Colin,
      By “working across the network”, I meant opening and closing part assembly files across the network, especially assembly files. However, it’s been pointed out to me by Anna Wood that it’s not as much of an issue as it used to be. While I still refrain from it, it can be done if your network is robust enough. I’d still refrain from recommending it.
      Pinging the network, while having the multi-user environment enabled, isn’t nearly as taxing on your system as actually working across the network.
      One thing to note: The stuff I talk about in SolidWorks Crashes & Slowdowns are more guidelines than hard and fast rules.

    • bob

      Surely as the paying customer the software should be stable and usable. All information for correct installation should be state by solidworks and not blamed on the customer that has little knowledge of software that conflicts, .net ect. We are designer not computer experts.

      I have experienced major problem with 08 before SP4 and similar problems with 09 before SP3. This would suggested that it is bugs in the software and not user error that is causing the problem. We all use the program for commercial use and the key functionality is to obtain a 3d model for manufacture or a drawing. Therefore i think you guys need to seriously consider the use of the software. Improvement to the functionality is great but at the end of the day the software does the same as it did 5 years ago. As designers working on large projects with tight time scale. First a foremost we require stabilty!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JeffMirisola

      Bob,
      Believe me, I appreciate your frustration. Just for the record, I'm not affiliated with SolidWorks, I just write a blog that deals with the software.
      As the software has matured, so have computers and their related hardware. For SolidWorks to be able to document “correct installation” for every possible combination of hardware and software would be impossible. That's why others, like me, write about “best practices”. For every user who experienced major problems, there were numerous users who didn't. While some of the problems do prove out to be bugs, many are environmental variables.
      I seem to have offended some people with the title of this series, which wasn't my intention.

    • http://www.cadfanatic.com Brian

      This is a great series, Jeff. It looks like you are catching a lot of flak for it from folks who have gotten their feelings hurt, but as the old saying goes, “the truth hurts”.

      Based on my experience working as an engineer and CAD admin (with SolidWorks AND Inventor/AutoCAD), I can personally say that a LOT of problems folks have with the software is definitely based on their computer configuration, implementation, and/or modeling practices.

      Keep 'em coming!

      -b

    • JeffMirisola

      Thanks, Brian.
      Yeah, I've received a bit of flak, but it's no big deal. People seem to have the unrealistic expectation that 3D CAD should be perfect in every way. It never ceases to amaze me how they can deny it might actually be user error in one way or another, even when presented with facts and data.

      Jeff

    • Teo

      Solidworks Rx has a system maintenance option that alows the user to clean out temp. files and defrag. the disc. running the system maintenance weekl seems to be the best way to prevent the weekly/daily crashes that i experince.

    • Teo

      Solidworks Rx has a system maintenance option that alows the user to clean out temp. files and defrag. the disc. running the system maintenance weekl seems to be the best way to prevent the weekly/daily crashes that i experince.

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