SolidWorks Education Edition software launches a new version yearly, and it causes a lot of anxiety for CAD administrators, and IT executives in schools and institutions, as it involves deployment to numerous computer labs, especially if the school owns hundreds, if not, thousands of licenses on campus. This blog post aims to take the anxiety away, by providing a step-by-step guide on upgrading the SolidNetWork License Manager, to creating an Administrative Image, to deployment of SolidWorks to Client PCs, using DVDs and Admin Image. These installation methods have been used in deployment of large install bases in Singapore, for example, at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where licenses are floated across schools, among faculty members and students.

Upgrading the SolidNetWork License Manager

Before any upgrade is done, the License Manager needs to be upgraded to the latest entitled version. To minimize disruption, upgrade should be done during holidays or off-peak season when usage of the computer lab is low. It is heartening to know that, SolidWorks Network Licenses are backward compatible. This means that, after the License Manager has been upgraded, computer labs running previous versions of SolidWorks will still be able to work! This process takes around 10-15 minutes to complete, so plan your schedule and factor in downtime!

The video below, gives you a step by step guide on upgrading the SolidNetWork License Manager.

Here’s a short summary on upgrading the SolidNetWork License Manager:

  • Launch an existing installation of the SolidNetWork License Manager and check if there are any active licenses.
  • Stop the License Manager Service.
  • Transfer the SolidWorks Licenses out of the server PC.
  • Uninstall the SolidNetWork License Manager from the Control Panel.
  • Delete any installation folders for the SolidNetWork License Manager (usually found in C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86))
  • Install the latest version of SolidNetWork License Manager.
  • Launch the new installation of the SolidNetWork License Manager.
  • Activate the SolidWorks software.
  • If a firewall is in use, enable the option “A firewall is in use” and open ports 25734 and 25735.
  • Check that the License Manager is distributing licenses.

Creating and Administrative Image

Administrative Images are installation images meant for large scale deployment of the software. SolidWorks Admin Images allows an image to embed serial number information, customize server locations, and configure how the software is installed. If configured properly, Admin Images are a lifesaver for installation on client PCs. Installation using the traditional DVD method is time consuming as it requires the user to key in serial number information, server address, and installation location. Trust me, I know how it feels to manually install SolidWorks on 300 PCs using DVDs! It took me 5 days to complete the job, and left me with a sore wrist from keying in so many serial numbers. With the Admin Image, this job was cut down to 1.5 days.

The video below provides you with a step by step guide on creating a SolidWorks Administrative Image.

Once the Admin Image has been created, all you need to do is to share the folder on a network drive, and point users to the “SWStartInstall.hta” file. I would also copy the folder onto a few USB flash drives, and use them as direct installation media. I noticed that this was a much faster option compared to installing directly from the network drive. Most PCs now come with USB 3.0, this helps in getting the installation of SolidWorks done in lightning speed.

Client Installation using DVD or Admin Image?

If you intend to install SolidWorks on just a single PC, you can perform the manual installation using DVD.

The video below shows you the client PC installation process of using a DVD and Admin Image.

Do note that, prior to installing the software, you will need the software serial number, and location of your license server. When prompted for the server location, key in 25734@<Server Name>. 25734 is the port number that SolidNetWork License Manager uses. Occasionally, the server name may not be detected, in such rare cases, you may try 25734@<IP Address>. However, do note that if your network uses a dynamic IP address, keying in the IP address may not be ideal.

Before ending off, I would like to highlight Windows Update KB3072630 has been affecting quite a number of SolidWorks installations. You can read about the fix here on a previous blog post. (http://www.selfpac3d.com/3d-software/solidworks-kb3072630/). If you are performing a new installation of SolidWorks, I would highly recommend you reading the post and understanding the fix before proceeding with the client installation.

Here is a guide on the procedure that you should take when installing SolidWorks on Client PCs:

  • Download registry keys here.
  • Run the registry key KB3072630_Disable.reg
  • Install SolidWorks on Client PC either with DVD or Admin Image.
  • Run the registry key KB3072630_Re-enable.reg

I hope that this guide is comprehensive enough in providing you with a hassle and fuss-free upgrade experience to the latest version of SolidWorks Education Edition!