Installing Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS

Installing Multiple Versions of SOLIDWORKS

Written by Greg Dawes, Application Engineer

It is more common than ever to have customers and vendors share their SOLIDWORKS data. The primary challenge in sharing SOLIDWORKS data between two engineering departments is mismatching versions of SOLIDWORKS CAD software.

Some engineering departments upgrade to the newest release of SOLIDWORKS as soon as it’s available, others wait for Service Pack 3, some stay a full year behind by upgrading when Service Pack 5 is released, and others even upgrade every other year.

One of the most common solutions to this problem of sharing SOLIDWORKS data across multiple versions is to have multiple versions installed on your machine. If done incorrectly, you can definitely cross your wire and accidentally reference supporting files from different versions or run into an issue where your toolbox fasteners won’t open in the older version.

Follow these basic guidelines and you’ll be able to install and run two separate releases of SOLIDWORKS software.

The gold standard for Installing Multiple versions would be to begin with a complete uninstall of all SOLIDWORKS products. Check out our blog post from 2013, which is still applicable today, for saving off your settings, backing up customized files and completely uninstalling SOLIDWORKS.

In this example, all previous versions of SOLIDWORKS have been uninstalled and we’ll be installing SOLIDWORKS 2015 SP3 and run it right alongside SOLIDWORKS 2016 SP3.

Make sure the intended SOLIDWORKS versions have been downloaded. (The default download locations are “C:\Users\<username>\Documents\SOLIDWORKS Downloads”). Run the Installation Manager, in my case for SOLIDWORKS 2015 SP3.

I’ll do an installation on the Individual computer…

SW Installation Manager

Enter the appropriate serial number(s)…

SOLIDWORKS Serial Number

Make the appropriate “Products” changes.

This is the step where things start to change a bit. We’ll change the Installation Locations…

Change SW installation locations

Browse to select a different location than the standard “C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS CORP”…

Installation location

And change this to “C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp 201x” in this case “2015”…

Change SOLIDWORKS Installation Folder

Choose “Yes” when prompted to create the path…

SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager

Back on the Summary page change the location of the Toolbox installation…

Installation Manager Summary Page

Make sure you have the option of creating a new Toolbox chosen, and Browse to select a new location for Installing the Toolbox…


Create “C:\SOLIDWORKS Data 201x”, in this case 2015.

Toolbox location

Run the installation.

Repeat for the process for the other version(s) of SOLIDWORKS to be installed.

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The following images are on Windows 10 after both installations were completed.


SOLIDWORKS Versions Side-By-Side

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