SOLIDWORKS PDM File Upgrade Tool recommendations

Article by GoEngineer on Jun 19, 2019

You use SOLIDWORKS PDM to store your files and you have just upgraded your SOLIDWORKS to the latest version. You have a lot of files in your vault and you have assemblies that contain subassemblies to several levels. It takes a long time to open your assemblies in SOLIDWORKS because SOLIDWORKS has to convert each referenced file from the old format to the current version. Inside of PDM, you have to check out a file in order to change it (like updating the file format to the current SOLIDWORKS version). You cannot check out every file you reference in order to update the saved version to the current version of SOLIDWORKS. What can you do?

You can run the SOLIDWORKS PDM File Upgrade Tool to update the models in your vault.

What is the SOLIDWORKS PDM File Upgrade Tool?

The “SOLIDWORKS PDM File Upgrade Tool” (Upgrade Tool) is a utility provided by SOLIDWORKS to help in upgrading files in the PDM vault. You make choices as to how you want to handle the updating process and then the Upgrade Tool will start crawling through the vault, checking out files, opening them in the current SOLIDWORKS version, saving them and then checking them into the vault.

This can take a long time in a large vault (I have had it take a couple of weeks) but that is OK. If the task is shared among several computers (an option inside of the Upgrade Tool) this time can be greatly reduced. Once the parameters have been set, then the utility runs and creates a log file of the results.

Who would use the Upgrade Tool?

The tool would be used by a SOLIDWORKS PDM Vault administrator after SOLIDWORKS has been upgraded to a new version at his company.

Who would NOT use the Upgrade Tool?

If your company is always creating new files – seldom referencing older files – then you might decide to NOT upgrade the files in your vault.

Why use the Upgrade Tool?

Files will open faster in SOLIDWORKS if the file format matches the current SOLIDWORKS version. This way, SOLIDWORKS doesn’t have to convert the file from an older version to the current format each time the file is opened in SOLIDWORKS.

Where is the Upgrade Tool located?

The Upgrade Tool must be installed onto the system that will be running it. The installation files are located in the SOLIDWORKS installation media in the path “…SWPDMClient\Support\File Version Upgrade\”. Run the file “File Version Upgrade.exe”.
Instructions for the upgrade tool are located in the SOLIDWORKS PDM Installation manual in the chapter “Upgrading SOLIDWORKS Files”. This chapter will also tell the user where to obtain the installation file for this version of SOLIDWORKS PDM.

“This is a great company to do business with and I love the software they provide!”

-Joe Engineer, Know It All, GoEngineer

Upgrade Tool Recommendations

Below are some of the options in the Upgrade Tool and our recommendations on them.

  • Check in files – If possible, check all files into the vault. Any file that is checked out cannot be updated by the Upgrade Tool.
    This isn’t an issue if the checked out file is actually being modified by a user. After all, the first time this file is saved after the SOLIDWORKS upgrade it will be updated to the current version of SOLIDWORKS.
    However, often a search for checked out files will result in files that aren’t actually being modified by anyone. They may have been checked out inadvertently and this might be a good time to check-in or delete any files that were added to the vault but never checked in.
  • Version of updated file – It is recommended that a new version of the file is created (don’t select to overwrite the latest version). There have always been some files that don’t convert to the new version properly. Therefore, it is helpful to have the ability to reference the unmodified file. This can help to answer questions as to when the file became corrupt.
  • Versions with revisions – Since a new version of the file is being created, move the revision tag to the newly created version. You have the option of creating a new revision but this might cause confusion. After all, the design hasn’t actually changed – only the file format.
  • File references – In a way, this doesn’t matter. Usually, a user will do “Get Latest Version” on an assembly. This command will ignore the referenced version of the file and will cache the latest version of all referenced files locally. When the assembly opens, it will use the cached files. The only time the “Referenced” version is important is when you are getting a down-rev version of a file. Then, it will use the version of the files that were being referenced at the time that version was checked.
  • Order of upgrade – Upgrade parts first, then assemblies. Don’t upgrade drawings. Why not upgrade drawings? For two reasons:
    1. The purpose of this is to increase performance when opening an assembly. Assemblies don’t reference drawings.
    2. Drawings are complex and are the most prone to have problems after the upgrade. This is an automatic process and problems can occur without anyone realizing it. A human should look at the drawing to resolve any issues incurred during the upgrade process.


To summarize our recommendations:

  • Check in files first. Do a search in the vault for all checked out files
  • Upgrade parts first, then assemblies. Don’t upgrade drawings
  • Create a new version of the file
  • Move the revision to the new version
  • Any issues or questions please call GoEngineer Technical Support – 888-559-6167

About GoEngineer

GoEngineer delivers software, technology and expertise that enable companies to unlock design innovation and deliver better products faster. With more than 35 years' experience and tens of thousands of customers in high tech, medical, machine design, energy and other industries, GoEngineer provides best-in-class design solutions from SOLIDWORKS CAD, Stratasys 3D printing, Creaform & Artec 3D scanning, CAMWorks, PLM, Altair, and more

View all posts by GoEngineer


Get the latest articles delivered daily to your inbox, unsubscribe at any time.