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How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC

Jackie Yip on December 20, 2018 at 11:30 AM

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When a new version of SOLIDWORKS is released,  most users choose to perform an upgrade on their machine. However, what if one of your customers is still using an older release? If you are caught in this situation, there is a way to keep a previous version on the same machine.

SOLIDWORKS has an option to install previous versions of the software without losing any existing installations. In this example, we’ll be installing SOLIDWORKS 2019 with an existing 2018 version on the same PC.


STEP 1: First, we’ll run the setup.exe from the newer installation media. Refer to the Alignex Guide to Downloading SOLIDWORKS Installation Media if needed.

How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC

STEP 2: On the welcome screen, select the Individual option and then next.

How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC

STEP 3: Enter the SOLIDWORKS serial number and then click on next.

NOTE: This may be prepopulated from a previous install.

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STEP 4: When choosing an installation option, select the Create a new installation of SOLIDWORKS and then next. This will install the SOLIDWORKS version on the machine while keep existing versions.

How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC

STEP 5: On the summary page, we’ll get a screen that summarizes the settings for installing another version. A couple of things that are highlighted are the paths for installing the main SOLIDWORKS software and the Toolbox files. Our recommendation would be to change these locations to differentiate the SOLIDWORKS versions.

How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC


STEP 6: By clicking on Change from the previous screenshot, we’re given an option for modifying the folder names for these paths. We’ll choose to add the version year after the SOLIDWORKS Corp. Afterwards, click on Back to Summary to return to the previous window.

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How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC


STEP 7: We notice that the folder name has been changed.  We’ll repeat the same steps for the Toolbox/Hole Wizard location.

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STEP 8: Once finished, we can see that both the installation and toolbox locations now have the version year in their respective paths. Once we verify the rest of the options, we can go ahead and click on Install Now.

How to Install Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS on One PC

Q: Why would a user want to keep multiple versions on the same machine? Shouldn’t we always be on the latest release?

Many users work with vendors that are still on different version.  Saving files in that older version of SOLIDWORKS files will work with the newer versions but not vice versa. Therefore, keeping different versions of the software allows customers to work with their vendors accordingly.

Q: How is my serial number affected?  Does it take up an extra activation? Is there an extra cost for keeping multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS on the same machine?

Keeping two or more versions on the same machine will use the existing serial number that is currently on the machine and therefore, an extra activation is not taken up. We can theoretically have multiple versions opened up at the same time due to this. This applies to both a standalone and network license.

Q: Will we run into any issues with settings and other related products if we keep multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS?

Please refer to this link about coexistence rules: http://help.solidworks.com/2019/English/Installation/install_guide/c_product_coexistence_rules.htm

If we’re running a newer version on a network license, the SolidNetwork License Manager will need to be updated to match to most up-to-date version. Please refer to the Alignex Guide to SNL Update if we’re using a network license.

Q: Is there a way to copy our settings from different versions (ex. Toolbars, shortcuts, etc.) using the Settings Copy Wizard?

Currently, the Copy Settings Wizard will not carry settings over from different versions. However, if a newer version is installed after the older version, SOLIDWORKS will copy the settings to reflect the most recent earlier version installed on the same machine when the newer version is opened for the first time.

Q: If we longer need to keep the older versions, is it safe to uninstall?

Due to how multiple installs can share common files, we typically don’t recommend uninstalling the older versions first if a newer version is already installed. The safest way to get rid of the older versions is to either run a clean uninstall of all SOLIDWORKS versions or to uninstall the most current versions and then perform an upgrade if needed. Please refer to our blog on How to Upgrade to a Newer Version of SOLIDWORKS with more information on this.

For other technical resources from Alignex, check out our other technical support documents. Don't forget to subscribe to the Alignex Blog below for content like this delivered straight to your inbox. 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness

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