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How to Recover SOLIDWORKS Files After a Crash

Monday April 10, 2023 at 9:00am

SOLIDWORKS has two different methods to help you recover from an unexpected crash or loss of data in the form of auto-recovery and back-up settings.

These can be found within System Options > Backup/Recover and should be turned on before getting started in SOLIDWORKS. Let’s run you through how to turn them on and recover lost SOLIDWORKS data.


Turn on the Auto-Recovery tool by ensuring the ‘save auto-recover information’ checkbox is selected and set the interval value to 1 or more.

Then, when you restart SOLIDWORKS after a crash, any documents that had been active for more than the specified interval should appear in the SOLIDWORKS Document Recovery tab. These can then be recovered and saved to replace the original file or create a new file.

As you work in SOLIDWORKS with auto-recovery turned on, temporary files are created in the specified file location. These files are deleted when the original file is saved and closed normally, but the temporary files will remain in the folder if the software did not close down normally.

If you are not prompted to recover files upon restarting SOLIDWORKS, then navigate to the auto recovery folder specified through Windows Explorer to check for files with .SWAR extensions.

The default folder path is:


Auto-recovered files will be named with a prefix ‘AutoRecover of’, the SOLIDWORKS file name and then the file extension ‘.SWAR’.

E.g. Propeller.SLDPRT is saved as: AutoRecover Of Propeller.SLDPRT.swar

You can recover a copy of your original file at the last saved state by editing the file name and extension. Remove the AutoRecover prefix, and remember to replace the .swar extension with the correct part [.SLDPRT], assembly [.SLDASM] or drawing [.SLDDRW] file extension.


The backup feature saves a copy of the document every time changes are saved to the original file. Turn it on with the checkbox.

So each time you save, a copy is created with that timestamp in the folder specified, providing you with a series of revisions. That means if you accidentally save a file but then wish to undo some changes, you can recover the previous version.

Increasing the ‘Number of backup copies per document’ will create a new version of the file on each save, until the number is reached, and the first backup version is overwritten.

The backup copies are either stored in the same folder as the original files, or you can specify a backup folder on a local drive.


While these are both great tools, auto-recovery should never be solely relied upon. Make sure you’re saving regularly, especially before creating a complicated or intense feature, and are employing a data management system to secure and control your data.

We’ve pulled together 10 reasons why you should be using SOLIDWORKS PDM to back up and store your design data.

Learn more about SOLIDWORKS PDM Pro and how Solid Solutions can help you get set up and working more efficiently.

Take the Next Steps...

Learn how to use and manage SOLIDWORKS PDM and enhance your CAD skills with our CPD-accredited SOLIDWORKS training courses.

Whether you’re a beginner or are intimately familiar with CAD, our friendly and expert trainers are ready to help you get the most out of SOLIDWORKS, either online or in a classroom local to you.

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