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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