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10 Things to Do Before Upgrading to SOLIDWORKS 2024

Friday December 1, 2023 at 8:00am

Packed full of great new features, SOLIDWORKS 2024 is now available to download and install.

However, before you click ‘download’, it is a good idea to take some time to do a bit of a system health check and make sure you’re ready for SOLIDWORKS 2024.

So we’ve pulled together 10 things that you should consider before upgrading to SOLIDWORKS 2024.

10 THINGS TO DO BEFORE INSTALLING SOLIDWORKS

  1. Check the system requirements
  2. Plan time for your upgrade
  3. Check your IT permissions
  4. Double check if you are using SOLIDWORKS PDM
  5. Deactivate previous SOLIDWORKS versions
  6. Activate your 3DEXPERIENCE platform
  7. Organise your SOLIDWORKS folders
  8. Make backups of key files
  9. Update Microsoft Office to 2021
  10. Pencil in your subsequent service pack updates
 

1. Check the System Requirements

You should always consult the SOLIDWORKS official System Requirements and End of Life pages prior to any upgrade.

As software advances, we find that it moves beyond the capabilities of older, auxiliary software. As such, it’s important to note that SOLIDWORKS 2024 no longer supports:

  • Windows Server 2016
  • Microsoft Excel/Word 2016/2019
  • SQL Server 2016

Whether or not you are affected by the above changes, it’s worth giving our Hardware team a call to make sure your system checks out, and that you are using a system that works for you.

While it is certainly not a necessity, you may wish to use this as an opportunity to review your PC hardware, especially as it starts to show signs of age or decreased performance.

Consider whether you could boost your productivity with our range of certified, professional Dell laptops and desktop CAD workstations, delivered to your door in as little as 48 hours!

2. Plan Time for your Upgrade

As with any major software update, you must consider the time required to upgrade and plan accordingly.

We would certainly not suggest upgrading the software midway through a major project or with deadlines looming.

While the installation shouldn’t take long, it’s worthwhile planning time out of your main working hours to minimise disruption.

Also consider if your company operates over multiple sites, as you would want to schedule the upgrade to happen in a way that has the entire team update at the same time.

If you are running a floating/network license, you also need to update the SolidNetWork License Manager (SNL), and reactivate it so that the client machines can retrieve a license.

This is available via the download by running the “Server Products” option on the first screen.

You should also consider who you work with, i.e. your suppliers and customers.

With an active subscription, SOLIDWORKS 2024 files can be opened in a fully editable format by older versions up to two years prior (so SOLIDWORKS 2022 and 2023), to aid collaboration on any projects you have with external parties.

It’s also good to include a bit of a buffer, so that if you do run into any problems during installation, then our Technical Support team can get you up and running again quickly and keep you on schedule.

3. Check your IT Permissions

We would always recommend the installation to be done whilst logged in as a local or domain level administrator. A user with admin rights may not be sufficient.

The program normally asks for a reboot on completion, so do ensure after the reboot you log back in as the same user (admin) that conducted the initial installation for the process to fully complete.

4. Double check if you are using SOLIDWORKS PDM

The process for upgrading SOLIDWORKS when also using SOLIDWORKS PDM is a little different.

We strongly recommend contacting our PDM consultants via the Technical Support desk before proceeding with any upgrades.

Please refer to the FAQs below for more information on how to upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2024 with PDM.

If you aren’t using SOLIDWORKS PDM, then consider utilising the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Services to manage your CAD data instead via the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and continue with your installation!

5. Deactivate Previous SOLIDWORKS Versions

This is good practise for any piece of software when available.

If you have any previous versions of SOLIDWORKS installed, then be sure to open up SOLIDWORKS and deactivate your licenses before downloading SOLIDWORKS 2024.

This applies to all types of SOLIDWORKS installations, whether they are Standalone, Network, or Admin Images.

HOW TO DEACTIVATE STANDALONE SOLIDWORKS LICENSES

  1. Open SOLIDWORKS
  2. Go to Help > Licenses > Deactivate…
  3. Click ‘Select All’
  4. Click ‘Next’ to deactivate the selected SOLIDWORKS licenses.

For help deactivating network licenses or admin image installations, please contact our Technical Support team on 01926 333 777 or via support@solidsolutions.ie

6. Activate your 3DEXPERIENCE Platform

New licenses of SOLIDWORKS 2024 come with the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Services.

To begin using the built-in data management system and collaborative tools and that come with these, make sure you activate your 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

Click the link in your activation email to activate the platform and get started by following our free starter guides to the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Services here.

If you have a SOLIDWORKS Subscription, but haven’t yet got around to upgrading your existing licenses to include the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Services, then get in touch with your Solid Solutions Account Manager.

7. Organise your SOLIDWORKS Folders

It’s time for some spring cleaning!

At this point while you are SOLIDWORKS ‘naked’, it’s a great time to do a few bits of admin.

Ensure that your SOLIDWORKS installation files are stored in an accessible location. When it comes to installing the latest version, it’s sensible to amend the SOLIDWORKS Corp and SOLIDWORKS Data folders with the suffix ‘2024’ added.

Don’t worry, our installation guide covers everything you need to know about the actual installation.

You should also double check that your template files are stored outside of the SOLIDWORKS Corp, Program Files, ProgramData, and SOLIDWORKS Data folders. These are all folders that could be removed during an upgrade, should you decide to do a clean installation of SOLIDWORKS 2024.

When working with multiple users it is good practise to store template files in a shared folder, such as a SOLIDWORKS PDM vault.

8. Make Backups of Key Files

We always recommend to all of our customers that they should be keeping regular backups of their key files.

This will include standard templates, toolbox databases, and the output data from SOLIDWORKS (parts, assemblies and drawings).

For those using Product Data Management (PDM) Systems and other database driven systems (SOLIDWORKS Electrical and PCB), we strongly encourage customers employ backup schemes of the archive and databases as the software will not do this automatically for you.

Some files (such as toolbox) will be upgraded with the new version install, and this process is not reversible, so it is imperative you have a backup copy just in case.

You should take care to backup any key data related to SOLIDWORKS, this includes the actual CAD files, templates and standard documentation, shared data such as SOLIDWORKS Toolbox, and any databases associated with programs such as PDM or SOLIDWORKS Electrical.

9. Update Microsoft Office to 2021

As mentioned in the first item in this list, SOLIDWORKS 2024 does not support Microsoft Office 2019 or older.

That means if you want to maximise your SOLIDWORKS productivity and prevent any issues further down the line, you should update your Microsoft Office products to 2021 before installing SOLIDWORKS 2024.

Microsoft Office is used to drive design tables, sustainability reports, and loads more functionality within SOLIDWORKS.

10. Pencil in your Subsequent Service Pack Updates

Every major SOLIDWORKS version sees 5 scheduled updates throughout the year called Service Packs. These provide performance enhancements as new technology becomes available, and roll out updates under the hood to improve your experience as a SOLIDWORKS user.

It may feel a little early to think about another SOLIDWORKS update before you’ve even installed this one… but at least being aware of the update schedule is helpful for now.

Based on historical releases, we expect the following Service Pack updates:

  • SP01: January 2024
  • SP02: March 2024
  • SP03: May 2024
  • SP04: August 2024
  • SP05: November 2024 (Overlaps with release of SOLIDWORKS 2025)

As SOLIDWORKS is continually developed during the year, these dates are subject to change at any point.

Do consider pencilling in some time during those months to update your SOLIDWORKS again.

Take the Next Steps...

While comprehensive, this list is certainly not exhaustive. If you have any further questions, then do check out our answers to frequently asked questions below to answer any queries you may have. If you are a user of SOLIDWORKS Electrical or SOLIDWORKS PDM, then we recommend reading the SQL-related FAQs in particular.

If you have a question that isn't on the list below, then please contact our Technical Support team by emailing them via support@solidsolutions.ie or call us on 01926 333 777.

Are there any changes to the installation process?

The installation process remains the same as prior releases, driven by the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager wizard.

Full documentation on the installation process can be found on the SOLIDWORKS Website..

If I use other SOLIDWORKS Products, such as PDM or Electrical, what should I consider?

There are additional factors to consider if you use any of the add-on products to SOLIDWORKS i.e. PDM, PCB, Electrical etc.

These products also need to be updated to be aligned with the SOLIDWORKS version and you may therefore need to back up the data and database, before installing the necessary server and client based programs. Due to this software being server based, you may need to co-ordinate the upgrade with your IT department to ensure access and access rights.

Add-on products may extend beyond the SOLIDWORKS portfolio, and may be managed by a different supplier entirely as a 3rd party plug-in. Check compatibility of these with SOLIDWORKS 2024 as you may need to either wait, or obtain a new version/license file.

Solid Solutions have also created bespoke add-ins/programs for many of our customers, there may be a need to have these reconfigured for a new release. This may or may not carry an addition consultancy charge depending on whether the bespoke program carried its own support and subscription contract.

If you are using any of the SOLIDWORKS PDM Products (Manage, Professional, or Standard) we would strongly encourage logging a support ticket with our team before you plan to undertake the upgrade. This will allow us to provide specific upgrade advice based on what we know about your implementation and communicate any key changes to system requirements or licensing policies.

Please note our support team are unable to carry out the upgrade for you, so if you are interested in using our services to plan, manage and carry out the upgrade please contact us for a quotation.

Whilst not feasible for all customers, setting up an isolated testing environment is encouraged. This will allow a single machine to be updated to the new version purely to test the key functions you rely on day to day. This could involve copying a dataset to work on in this isolated environment and ensuring these key functions are producing the end results you expect.

Any differences could relate to a software function and so this would also be a chance to consult the new version documentation that is available in the SOLIDWORKS Help, under the "What's New" section.

As a user of SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or SOLIDWORKS Electrical with a SQL Server Express 2016 Database Engine hosting my Vault / Collaborative environment, what do I need to do before I can upgrade to SOLIDWORKS 2024?

As per the system requirements regarding SQL Server, SOLIDWORKS PDM and SOLIDWORKS Electrical Customers currently using SQL Express 2016 will need to upgrade their SQL Server Database Engine to a newer supported version before upgrading the SOLIDWORKS software.

We would suggest a move to the latest supported edition which is SQL Express 2019 with the latest Cumulative Update. We would also suggest that you combine this with the latest version of the SQL Management Studio. For Customers who plan to use our services to manage their upgrades we can factor this platform change into that process. For Customers who manage upgrades in house, we’ve created a video that walks through the relatively straight forward steps involved in updating SQL Express.

Should I keep, or remove the older versions of SOLIDWORKS?

This is entirely a user choice. Having the old version available could be useful if you have projects on the go that require the older version.

Older versions may be taking up valuable disk space so this could be a factor. Having both versions available for a period of time may be useful if you suspect you are not getting the expected performance from your new release.

There are certainly no licensing restrictions with having multiple installed versions of the software on the same PC.

Do I need a new license/serial key for the 2024 version?

Your license key will remain the same for SOLIDWORKS 2024. When the software is opened for the first time, you will be asked to reactivate the software which is a quick process to confirm your entitlement to the new release.

You should however check any 3rd party add-ins you use with SOLIDWORKS firstly to ensure compatibility, but also to request any new license keys/files.

For SOLIDWORKS licenses that use the Network license setup (SNL), again, the serial key remains the same, but the server software component needs to be upgraded and reactivated to allow client machines to use SOLIDWORKS 2024.

Is SOLIDWORKS 2024 available to Education customers?

Yes! SOLIDWORKS 2024 is available to Education customers from the date of launch.

When do Service Packs get released for SOLIDWORKS 2024?

Whilst the exact dates are unknown at time of the initial release, there are typically five service packs that get released after the SP0 launch. Looking back at past releases these are the rough timings we expect:

  • SP00 – November 2023
  • SP01 – January 2024
  • SP02 – March 2024
  • SP03 – May 2024
  • SP04 – August 2024
  • SP05 – November 2024 (overlaps with the launch of SW 2025)

 

Can I open SOLIDWORKS 2024 files in older versions?

Providing you have an active SOLIDWORKS subscription, you are able to save SOLIDWORKS 2024 files as 2023 or 2022 files that can be opened in their respective versions.

Are there any things I should check after the install is complete?

It is worthwhile reading up on the new functionality which can be accessed under the SOLIDWORKS Help Menu > What’s New. You should also review Tools > Options > File Locations and ensure that the folder paths are correctly set to valid SOLIDWORKS 2022 installation locations. This blog post outlines some of these checks as well as discussing how to optimise your system for the new release.

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