SOLIDWORKS PDM Upgrade Process Overview

Article by GoEngineer on Sep 17, 2019

Before the Upgrade

The best approach when performing an upgrade to your SOLIDWORKS PDM system is being prepared. Rather than winging-it, plan the transition of your current PDM version to the new one you’re going to install. This will save your company downtime and employees frustration. This document is intended to serve as a guide for what to expect during the update. If there’s an area you’re not familiar with, it is recommended to read that section of the 20XX Installation Guide.


  • Avoid downtime by scheduling the upgrade when all or most employees aren’t scheduled to work (Typically nights and weekends)
  • Alert employees when the upgrade will take place and keep them updated on what to expect and/or if they need to perform the client upgrade steps and what they are
  • Back up your PDM Servers and data. Failure to do so could result in possible data loss and downtime. 

Installing from a link/email?

You can download the dataset from this link: or perhaps you already have or will soon have installation DVDs.

If you’re using a link then, following the download, you’ll want to extract the files to a known folder location before running the installation (run “setup.exe” in the root of the extracted folder). Please utilize 7-Zip ( for the extraction process to avoid installation issues. Otherwise, the default WinZip utility will flag the installation files as malicious during extraction and disrupt your ability to install.

Here is how to install SOLIDWORKS from our download:

Check System Requirements

Graphics Card Drivers:


*Ensure SQL version is within specification

SQL Standard Server ((E)PDM Professional)

If you’ve discovered your current version of SQL Server is not compatible with the version of PDM you’re installing/upgrading to, you’ll use the installation media you received (DVDs) or need to request a link and password to download the SQL Standard installation files.

Brief Overview

  • Perform a system backup
  • Disable Anti-Virus/Anti-Spyware/Anti-Malware & Firewall programs running in the background Including Windows Defender Firewall or Security Essentials
    • Control Panel > Security and Maintenance > Change Security and Maintenance Settings > Disable Virus Protection (Similar process for firewall)
      *If there are more AV/Firewall programs installed, you’ll need to track them down and temporarily disable as well – Unsure? Check out which programs are installed in Programs and Features from the Control Panel
  • Disable User Account Controls
    • Control Panel > User Accounts > Change User Account Control Settings > Move slider to lowest position
  • Update PDM on servers
    • Update SQL server ((E)PDM Professional – SQL Standard; PDM Standard – SQL Express)
    • Must have SQL sa credentials (password used for sa in SQL Management Studio)
    • Must input correct SQL instance – If default, use: Localhost
    • Map to SOLIDWORKS_20XX_SPX.X download
  • Update PDM Database server
  • Update PDM Archive server
  • Update License Manager (SNL)
    • Update Files/ToolBox/APIs etc.
  • Locate and Run Upgrade application from Installation Files (Updates SQL Tables)
    • If installation files were saved to the default location, follow this mapping:
      C:\Users\User_Name\Downloads\SOLIDWORKS_20XX_SPX.X\SWPDMServer\Upgrade \Upgrade.exe
      • Right-click > Run (If the ‘Next’ button didn’t seem to do anything, click it again)
  • Update PDM Client on all workstations which use the vault
    • Each workstation using PDM will need to be upgraded to matching version with the servers – Download the Installation Files, then perform update using the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager/ 
      • Upgrade: Click: Start menu > type: Installation Manager > Double-click
      • New install: C:\Users\User_Name\Downloads\SOLIDWORKS_20XX_SPX.X
        • Locate Setup.exe (icon of Red Box with S and W)
          • Right-Click > Run
  • Perform a system backup (Learn more here.

This document is a quick guide, intended for experienced PDM Administrators and/or an outline of what to expect in terms of what’s involved. if you need a more in-depth, comprehensive guide, please carefully follow the Installation Guide of the corresponding year. There are many important sections within the Installation Guide which were very briefly addressed or not mentioned in this article. The Installation Guide Is a long and technical read, but it’s much easier to be thourough the first time around than miss an important piece which was overlooked and have to deal with later.

It’s always an excellent idea to double check which type of license (Editor/Contributor/Viewer) and type of license ((E)PDM Professional/PDM Standard). Remember, the PDM Pro database icon is gold while PDM Standard is Silver. Lastly, be sure to enable security options disabled earlier.

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, and more

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