This week, let’s talk about your PC. There are things you can do, and should do, to help keep your PC running smoothly. Hopefully, a lot of this will be old news for many of you.

Keep your hard drive clean. Clean out your temp directories and defrag monthly. I like to use ccleaner to take care of my temp directories. It’ll get rid of all those unneeded files as well as  clearing out unused registry files, cookies and other memory fluff. I know that there are other products out there, so feel free to add your favorite in the comments section.

Speaking of hard drives, don’t skimp on size; not that that is easy to do these days. As with so many things PC-related, bigger is better. Even with that super-mega-sized hard drive, be sure to not let it get too full. The more free space the better. The more crap that’s on there is the more crap that has to be gone through to find what you’re looking for. That equals slowdown.

I know that I’m as guilty as the next for repeating this but, don’t go cheap on RAM! SolidWorks still says that the bare minimum required is 512MB, unless you’re using ’09. Not. RAM is cheap, people, so don’t go cheap! You can get 4GB of RAM for ~$60 on newegg. There’s no excuse for not doing it, unless your PC just can’t take that much which brings up a whole new set of questions. For those of you using 32-bit machines, you can still benefit from 4GB of RAM by enabling the /3GB switch. This involves editing your boot.ini file. Google “3GB switch”, you’ll find plenty of info out there. I’d rather not disseminate the instructions. The last thing I need is to mistype something and have someone email death threats because they can’t get their computer to boot up.

Be nice to your computer. Turn it off when you’re not using it; it saves energy and releases memory. Make sure you keep all your drivers up-to-date, both for hardware and software. Stay away from “semi-professional” software. They can overwrite or delete files you need as well as cause driver conflicts.

Just a short post this week. Have a great weekend and GO SOX!

I’m typing this up with, what may be, a broken thumb. As it turns out, it’s the thumb I use most on my spacebar, so it’s wreaking havoc not being able to use it. You never understand how much you depend on something until you can’t use it. I digress, again, though.

Today, we’re going to discuss installing SolidWorks. I was tempted to skip over it as it’s been discussed innumerable times in the forums, but what the hell. Nothing like a refresher course, right? There aren’t too many things to remember when it comes to installing SolidWorks, especially if it’s a  brand new, stand alone install. For those, it’s pretty much throw in the DVD and follow the prompts. You may want to change a default location here or there or, perhaps, not install something that’s included, but that’s about it. Ok, that may be over-simplifying it. There are still occurrences of Anti-virus software screwing things up, as well as other glitches, but those are all few and far between.

If it’s a networked seat, you’ll want to be sure that you know the name of the license server. You should also know the network location of Toolbox, because, if you’re using Toolbox in a multi-user environment, you have put it on the network, right? Right? Ideally, your CAD Administrator or IT department has set up an admin image and you won’t have to worry about any of this. If they haven’t, get them to do it. It’ll make life easier for everyone.

The fun stuff, now. You’ve got the newest version in your sweaty palms and you want to install it. Now. Do you need to keep the old version? If the answer is yes, you’ll want to set up a separate destination folder on your hard drive (C:\SolidWorks 20xx). You don’t want to be installing the newer version of Toolbox over the old one. It’ll cause you pain and agony, the likes of which you’ve never seen. (Could I be any more melodramatic today?) Many people run 2, 3 or even 4 versions of SolidWorks on their machines. More often than not, it’s to accomodate customer’s needs. Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done. There will be the occasional hiccup running multiple versions, but you’ll be fine most of the time.

If you’re going to just be working with the newest version, there’s some recommended steps you’ll want to take. First, go to Start->All Programs->SolidWorks->SolidWorks 20xx->SolidWorks Tools->Copy Settings Wizard and run it. This will create a reg file of your settings so you don’t have to recreate the environment you’re used to. Do the usual add/remove program thing and get rid of SolidWorks. Open up Windows Explorer and do a search for SolidWorks. Be sure to include hidden files and folders. When SolidWorks installs, it dumps some stuff into C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data, which is, generally, a hidden folder. You’ll want to delete any SolidWorks folders on your hard drive, except for ones you created to hold models/assemblies/drawings. Still with me? Good. Now, this next step is not for the faint of heart. If you’re uncomfortable messing around in your registry files, skip down to the next paragraph. Go to Start->Run and type in regedit then hit  ‘ok’. This will open up the registry editor. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software and delete the any SolidWorks related folders. This may include eDrawings, Dassault Systemes, COSMOS, etc. Do the same in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE. You can also download a cleaning utility, such as ccleaner, to further check the registry and remove dangling .dlls. At this point, you can follow one of two paths. You can reboot or not reboot. I’ve heard various theories on both. Personally, I don’t reboot. More to the point, I tend to forget to reboot. Nonetheless, I haven’t had any issues by not rebooting. Go ahead and install SolidWorks.

If you created a registry file, run the copy settings wizard and select ‘Restore settings’. You should be all set now with a perfect, no issue install of SolidWorks. I’ll pause while you laugh…

The above info is, to the best of my knowledge, the best way to do a clean install of SolidWorks. Individual results may vary. Side effects may include swearing, keyboard hammering, pulsating forehead viens, burst blood vessels or heavy drinking.

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