With the release of the SolidWorks 2012 software many companies are preparing to upgrade to the newer version. There are always concerns with any changes to systems or software. Here are a few things to keep in mind outside of the usual backup of SolidWorks files.
Templates and Sheet Formats
In some cases, you have your machine cleaned out before upgrading to keep from improper data being used. SolidWorks file templates and sheet formats reside on default SolidWorks installation location that is usually deleted. If not backed up, you might end up having to recreate the settings needed to make new file or recreate your title blocks in the sheet formats. This could easily be a day or two of work.
SolidWorks Settings & Toolbars
In the process of the system purge, some users remove the previous versions registry keys for SolidWorks. This will remove all the toolbars, file locations, and settings options you had been working with for the past year. To combat this, you should use the SolidWorks Copy Settings Wizard. This tool is installed with every seat of SolidWorks. It’s found under all products in the SolidWorks version folder in the SolidWorks Tools folder. This application will create a backup of your settings and paths so that in the event that you clean the PC before upgrading or get a new PC that you can quickly get back to your correct layout. Most companies even create a default set of user settings that can be easily applied for new users or new PCs.
Toolbox and HoleWizard
The Hole Wizard and Toolbox are based off of a database and part files for creation in SolidWorks. The path for where this information is stored can be found by looking at the path in the HoleWizard/Toolbox option in SolidWorks in the System Options tab. This information should be backed up prior to an upgrade. In the event that there are any problems, interruptions, or permission issues in the upgrade, the database or toolbox file associations can become corrupt. This is most common in network toolbox setups where the end user permissions are limited to the toolbox storage location.
Once the upgrade is completed, there are different approaches to migrating data from one major version to another. It is not required to convert all SolidWorks files to the latest version. However, performance can be increased by upgrading all files into the latest version.
Listed below are some considerations:
Opening Files in Older Versions
Files cannot be opened in versions older than the version they have been saved in. Be sure to make a backup of all data before starting conversion process.
Conversion ‘On the Fly’
Files can be converted when the user opens them in SolidWorks. Note that opening times increase the first time the file is opened in a new version while it is converted. After it has been saved in the new version, the opening time will be less. Files will not open lightweight unless they have been saved in the current version.
Tools exist to convert data automatically. One such tool is the ‘Convert Files’ tool in the SolidWorks Task Scheduler. This will convert all files in a specified folder to the current version. This can be carried out using several PCs with the ‘Network Monitor’ functionality.
In the Convert Files tool, there is an option to activate all configurations in the files during the conversion process. If this is selected, the 3D body information for each configuration will be written to the file. This can increase file size if there are configurations which had not been activated before. This can be the case for files containing Design Tables, Toolbox files and Design Library components. If this option is not selected, when the user manually changes configuration at a later time, there will be a short delay while SolidWorks generates the 3D body information for that configuration.
PDM Conversion Tools
PDM solutions often have a utility to extract the data from the vault, convert it to the current version and check it back into the vault. These are designed to convert the files without increasing the revision number. Solution S-020320 in the SolidWorks Customer Portal describes the utility with SolidWorks Enterprise PDM.
If the read-only parts and assemblies have not been converted to the current version of SolidWorks, they will not open in lightweight mode. It is common that shared files (e.g. Design Library and Toolbox) will be ‘read-only’ so it would be advisable to convert these to the current version then reset the ‘read-only’ flag. To avoid potential problems it is recommended to convert these files to the current version and test that they function as expected. A backup should be made before conversion.
When upgrading from one release to another, it is recommended setting up a test environment and do some testing with a copy of the data before moving all users in the production environment to the new release. This way users can identify any potential issues in advance.
Until next time…