Written by: Marty Adams, Technical Support Engineer
In our modern software environment, the use of physical media has been overtaken by downloads. Given the cost of distribution, not just the cost of the DVD(s), it is everything, from burning the media to in your hands. The software lifespan is now often measured in months. It’s not surprising that the download has won. Likewise, updates and service packs are now downloaded rather than distributed on physical media. As with most things there are good and bad that go with that.
When you elect to install a new service pack, you will automatically download and run the new installation manager.
For most, the default option of individual installation seems a reasonable choice. Selecting this will automatically apply a differential update. This is, as it sounds, the difference between the service pack you are at, and the one being applied. Smaller download, less overall time for the process, usually not a bad option for a single, non-network installation.
Another option is to “Download and Share all files”.
This is a full installation file set.
What does that mean? You might think of it as a rollup package. Typically everything you need is in there.
From this download you can update an existing installation of the same version on any station, or install directly to that service pack level. Really handy when setting up a new computer or rebuilding an existing one. Windows 10 upgrade perhaps… (*Remember to transfer your license activations first). The advantage here is only one download. For network installations with many users this is amplified. But, this is also good for the standalone license using a secondary installation. Download once, update workstation and secondary.
In a differential download the size is variable, sometimes relatively small, sometimes not. Relative to what? Well, a full download of the current version is about 10 GB. A differential is typically less than 1-2 GB.
Smaller is good right? Not always.
If you should ever need to reinstall, you will need to start from your base installation and apply the service packs accordingly. This can involve several runs through the installation manager, or yet another download to get the current differential package.
My preference is to use the download and share (download only) option any time a service pack is retrieved. I will have a larger download but will have everything I need for that version and service pack. Additionally, the full file set can be placed in a common network location and used from there, eliminating the need for the storage of differential downloads on each machine.
Adding a new workstation? Point to the network location and run the file setup.exe.
You will want to be mindful of the download location. The default is the user’s My Documents folder under SOLIDWORKS Downloads. This can be changed to another location prior to starting the download. Network capacity, download bandwidth, and available drive space should be considered. Having retrieved the package, the download manager will terminate. It is your choice of when to initiate the service pack update process. You may find it easier to download on off-peak hours, and install when you’re ready.
This time when you run the installation manager you will select the individual installation option.
Hey, you already have the full download.
The question of which method is right for you is left as just that, up to you. Each has good points, and some not so good ones. To make the best decision you need to be aware of your options. A little time spent upfront, can save a lot later.
Just a few of my takes on the download option I thought I’d share.
**When upgrading your operating system, as in the case of Windows 10, it is recommended that you transfer your license(s) activation off of the machine first to prevent any loss of availability due to system changes.**