Parallel SOLIDWORKS Installations – How to Change the Default Version

by Rodolfo Gutierrez

Learn to Change Your SOLIDWORKS Default Version

Many of us need to have multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS installed on our computers. For those of us that fall into this group, it can be an inconvenience if every time we double click on a SOLIDWORKS file, it is opened in the wrong version.  Let’s discuss how to change which version of SOLIDWORKS opens your files when double clicking on them in File Explorer.

In this example, I want to make sure SOLIDWORKS 2015 opens all my SOLIDWORKS files. My default version is 2016 and I’m running Windows 7 but the same should apply for Windows 10.


Right-click on any part, assembly, or drawing file (.sldprt, .sldasm, .slddrw) and make sure SOLIDWORKS Launcher is the Open With default program for all three file types. Any set of files will do. 


Launch the SOLIDWORKS version you’d like to make your default one. Make sure it is the only one that is open. Then go to System Options > File Explorer > Restore File Associations and click to restore. You should get a dialog box saying that all file associations have been restored. 


Go back to File Explorer and double click on any SOLIDWORKS file (.sldprt, .sldasm, or .slddrw) and you should get an option to select your default SOLIDWORKS version. Select your version but before you do make sure and tick to remember the version selection at the bottom of the dialog. Otherwise, it will ask you every time to choose a version. You might have to do the same process for all three file types but in my experience, you only need to do it to one file type. That’s it! – Simple as that.

Now each time you double click any SOLIDWORKS file, the new default version will open it.

3 thoughts on “Parallel SOLIDWORKS Installations – How to Change the Default Version

  1. Avatarar

    I tried this, and i was able to open all files with 2015. Now that i upgraded to 2016 permanently and uninstalled 2015, when i open files with the Launcher nothing happens! (It’s as if it is still attempting to open with a deleted 2015 version). And when i follow these instructions, that box that says “multiple versions detected” at step 3 never comes up! Never gives me the option to choose which version since 2015 is gone.

    When i choose to open with the “swShellFileLauncher.exe” specifically in the 2016 installation folder for SW, Windows still tries to open it with the 2015 “swShellFileLauncher.exe” since it has the same exact file name, and Windows doesn’t recognize it as a new file with a new 2016 location =(

    1. Sandy OrtezSandy Ortez


      It would appear that some amount of the 2015 installation is still somewhere in your machine. The first thing you should make sure you have tried is to open SOLIDWORKS by right-clicking the shortcut icon and using “Run as Administrator” to open the program. Having done this do Step 2 has launched the program in Administrator mode. If this doesn’t immediately fix it you would want to run this Microsoft utility on your machine ( and ensure that no “2015” components of SOLIDWORKS are still present; if they are using this utility to uninstall them. Once those components are all removed (or that you have checked that none are present anymore) you would run a repair on SOLIDWORKS while your antivirus is disabled. To run a repair go into the Windows Control Panel to ‘Programs and Features’, right click on the SOLIDWORKS 2016 install, elect to ‘Change’ it, then select to ‘Repair’ the installation from the window that comes up.

      If none of this is working for you, it is time to enlist the support of your local SOLIDWORKS VAR to open an investigation on what is going on with your machine.


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