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Why is SOLIDWORKS Crashing?

Thursday April 6, 2023 at 8:00am

Software crashes happen. It’s part of the everyday ebb and flow of being a computer user.

But when freezing and crashes occur more frequently, they can cause no end of frustration even for the experienced user.

We’ll help you understand why SOLIDWORKS might be crashing and offer some PC first aid to brush up on to help manage SOLIDWORKS and your system.

Whether you are experiencing difficulties with SOLIDWORKS crashing or just need some pointers, it’s worthwhile calling our Technical Support team on 01926 333 777.

The team can investigate your issues and offer expert advice tailored for your hardware set up and workflow.


Firstly, let’s separate and define instability and crashes, as they can have different causes. It’s helpful to know the difference between the two when communicating with our Technical Engineers so we can help you out as quickly as possible.

Instability is a blanket term so it can be difficult to investigate. What most people might describe as ‘instability’ with SOLIDWORKS is usually referred to as poor performance or an Application Hang.

An Application Hang is described as the temporary lock-up or freezing of the System whilst a command is processed.

This can be identified by System sluggishness and intermittent issues when opening, modifying, and saving files.

If a network connection drops off whilst working with files, this can also cause applications to hang or slow down whilst the System tries to reconnect. These issues are usually indicated by the infamous 'busy thinking' circle.

Crashes are described as abnormal termination of a program, either by force closing, unrecoverable lock up, or the failure to execute a command correctly in the program code.

There are two types of crashes to be aware of:

  • Operating System Crashes
    These are commonly where Windows displays an error message and starts to collect information on/or report the crash because a basic level problem has occurred usually with the data set.

  • Application Crashes
    SOLIDWORKS and other programs may force close or shut down unexpectedly which can cause a loss of data if a problem occurs between the code in SOLIDWORKS, the data set or the OS/Hardware.


Crashes and system instability can be frustrating due to the unpredictable nature of these events and the impact it has on productivity.

Unfortunately, there is no single cause for these problems as there are almost always limitless combinations of factors at play, from inefficient software configurations to hardware failures. Given this, almost every case we see needs to be handled on an individual basis.

As mentioned, crashes are classed on two levels, Operating System (OS) crashes and Application crashes. Applications run on top of operating Systems and the two are integrated together quite heavily - therefore problems with one can adversely affect another.

The OS (Microsoft Windows) is the basic method and UI for interacting with the desktop and managing files (Windows Explorer) and launching apps or software

Applications are defined as the software packages that appear in windows and run on top of an OS allowing you to use productivity or design suites and their internal tools/features (e.g. SOLIDWORKS, eDrawings, PDM).


Despite the unique nature of most crashes and instability, there are a few common issues that repeatedly occur in many cases. Let’s explore these in more detail.

These issues are commonly related to:

  • Graphics drivers
  • Software
  • System

Graphics drivers are the basic software programs that allow the OS software to communicate with the hardware.

If drivers are not regularly kept up to date, or the incorrect drivers are installed (or no drivers installed at all), then the System can have problems driving (or controlling) the hardware.

SOLIDWORKS relies heavily on the graphics driver for manipulating models in the workspace, so it is vital to keep these up to date.

Click here to view the list of certified graphics drivers and hardware for SOLIDWORKS.


There are lots of variables to consider when investigating a SOLIDWORKS crash, and while we do have to consider SOLIDWORKS as a potential instigator, most crashes are actually caused by corruption of incorrectly configured OS changes which in turn affect how SOLIDWORKS operates.

Pre-requisite files such as the Microsoft VBA and SQL programs can sometimes cause problems if uninstalled or modified by other programs. Repairing the SOLIDWORKS installation should resolve most common problems with these files.

If a hardware or network change is made, then this can also affect performance. There are some Minimum System Requirements that should be considered whenever upgrading hardware to ensure maximum stability.

It is highly recommended that you install the latest available service pack for SOLIDWORKS to reduce the chance of running into problems which may already have been resolved in the latest release.


The System has the largest scope for things to go a little awry. There are several key areas we recommend you check in on if you’re experiencing instability or crashes with SOLIDWORKS.

  1. Only use supported Operating Systems

    SOLIDWORKS is only officially supported on Windows OS, either by running on physical hardware or virtual machines/servers.

    Users trying to run SOLIDWORKS on Mac OS may encounter instability due to the added layer of emulation between SOLIDWORKS, the OS and the physical hardware.

    There are several variables that complicate the issue here, so if you are using a Mac and seeing poor performance, then double check that you have set up your Mac as recommended in our blog post for using SOLIDWORKS on a Mac.

  2. Windows Updates

    They might be pesky and annoying, but Windows Updates are vital for maintaining stability across your computer. There are some pre-requisites required to run SOLIDWORKS, so ensure there are no pending updates on your machine.

    Search in the Start menu for ‘Check for Updates’ and keep Windows up-to-date.

    NOTE: This does not mean upgrading your Windows OS. Windows 11 is only supported for SOLIDWORKS 2022 onwards.

  3. Anti-Virus

    Occasionally Anti-Virus software can block access to files and pick up SOLIDWORKS processes as ‘false positives’ if it thinks a process is trying to access important system files.

    You may need to add SOLIDWORKS and its related processes to an ‘exceptions’ list and allow SLDWORKS.exe to run with elevated privileges.

    Speak with your IT Administrator before making any changes to your Anti-Virus’ permissions.

  4. Network Configurations

    If you have recently had network drives or servers upgraded you may notice some issues with stability of machines if file/toolbox locations referenced by SOLIDWORKS change or are moved to different drive paths.

    Ensure you have all the correct permissions to read or write the files in the folders you are accessing.


If you are seeing instability when using SOLIDWORKS, or it is crashing frequently, then the SOLIDWORKS Rx Tool can help you identify potential issues, check to see if your system is supported, and whether your graphics driver is up to date.

Search for ‘SOLIDWORKS Rx’ in the Start Menu and select the appropriate version.

Under the Diagnostics tab, the program analyses your System configuration to determine if any recommendations can be made to optimise the System.

If you are experiencing trouble with a graphics driver, then you can run SOLIDWORKS in software OpenGL mode. This bypasses the graphics card – so if SOLIDWORKS starts behaving again, it would be worth updating your driver.

You can turn on OpenGL mode on the Home tab of the Rx Tool or by going to System Options > Performance > Use Software OpenGL.

NOTE: This option should only be used in critical cases or to diagnose hardware issues. As a result of enabling OpenGL the performance of SOLIDWORKS may decrease as hardware acceleration from the graphics card is disabled.

Check out this walkthrough to learn how to update your graphics card driver.

Take the Next Steps...

With a SOLIDWORKS subscription you gain access to our expert SOLIDWORKS Technical Support team.

So if your issue persists and you find your workflow disrupted by repeated SOLIDWORKS crashes, then give us a call on 01926 333 777 or drop an email to and one of our expert engineers will be in contact.

To help diagnose your issue, we may ask for an Rx recording of the issue. Check out this walkthrough to learn how to create an Rx without video that captures your system information and can be sent to our Technical Support team.

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