This guide is written for SOLIDWORKS 2018. If you are using an earlier version of SOLIDWORKS, please download our earlier documents.
This information is subject to change without notification. Please make sure you are using the most current version of the document. If you have any questions or find that there are discrepancies between this document and the SOLIDWORKS website or documentation, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems technical support.
If you are experiencing serious issues with your SOLIDWORKS software, you may need to fully uninstall the program and all associated programs and files before attempting to reload the software. This document covers how to do this complete removal of the product.
This is not a troubleshooting guide. If you have any technical issues with SOLIDWORKS, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems technical support.
Before uninstalling SOLIDWORKS
Prior to uninstalling SOLIDWORKS you will need to deactivate your current SOLIDWORKS activation. This section outlines the deactivation process.
It is recommended, but optional, to copy your current user settings and custom part files before uninstalling SOLIDWORKS. Please reference Appendix A on the steps to use the copy settings wizard and Appendix B for file locations of custom parts and files.
1. Go to Start, All Programs, SOLIDWORKS 20XX, SOLIDWORKS 20XX x64 Edition.
2. After SOLIDWORKS starts, go to the Help pull down and choose Deactivate License.
3. Choose to activate Automatically over the Internet.
If you have more products than SOLIDWORKS activated (Simulation, for example), you will need to choose the product to deactivate.
Note: If you have Simulation Professional or Premium or Flow Simulation, you will need to deactivate these first then deactivate SOLIDWORKS.
4. Press the Next You will now connect to the SOLIDWORKS Activation site to return the license. You will be informed that the license has been transferred back to SOLIDWORKS.
5. Press the Finish button to complete.
SOLIDWORKS will not run on this machine until it is re-activated.
Uninstalling SOLIDWORKS 2018
1. Make sure you are logged in as the administrator.
2. Disable all anti-virus and anti-spyware programs.
3. Go to the Control Panel and choose Uninstall a program.
4. A list of programs will be displayed. Find SOLIDWORKS 2018 SPx in the list and select it and press the Uninstall
5. The SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager will launch at this time into the Welcome tab. You will be shown a list of SOLIDWORKS products that are loaded on this system. Select the programs you wish to remove.
Note: If you wish to do a clean-uninstall (removal of registry and files) click CHANGE next to Advanced options. You will be able to select Registry Entries to remove custom settings, Data Files and Folders to remove custom parts and Toolbox folders, and Download Files and Folders to remove downloaded folders. Once you selected what you want to remove click Back to Summary.
6. Click the Remove Items button at the bottom of the screen to continue.
7. If you are using a standalone license and you have not transferred your licenses already, a dialog will appear and allow you to transfer currently activated licenses on the computer.
8. The selected products will now be removed from the system.
9. You will be informed when SOLIDWORKS is completely removed from your machine. Press OK to continue.
10. You will now be returned to the remove/uninstall window of the control panel. If you have any older versions of SOLIDWORKS, COSMOS, eDrawings, DWG Editor or SOLIDWORKS Explorer, you will want to remove these as well.
After uninstalling SOLIDWORKS
At this point, the SOLIDWORKS products have been removed from your machine. However, many folders, files and registry keys still remain on your system. Using the advance uninstall option in SOLIDWORKS removes these files, but it is possible that some may have been missed or the advance option was never chosen.
If these items were the cause of your software issue, reinstalling the product without removing these will not fix the issue. This section covers how to safely remove all remaining items from your system to fully uninstall SOLIDWORKS. Please refer to appendix D on the steps to remove Enterprise PDM once SOLIDWORKS 2018 has been uninstalled.
The computer registry is where much of the information for all your programs is stored. This is accessed in the registry editor program – regedit. See appendix E for additional help on using regedit.
You must be very careful to only delete the items specifically called out in this document. Any other items removed from this area may cause your system or other programs to not function correctly.
Again, the RECOMMENDED clean uninstall method is to use the Advanced Options during the uninstall through the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager (see attached PDF). However, if the system needs to be cleaned manually, the following registry keys and folders can be deleted.
Program Files and Folder:
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Composer\
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Explorer\
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\eDrawings\
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS\
- C:\Program Files\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Shared
- C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Shared
Data Files and Folder:
- C:\SOLIDWORKS Data
The Microsoft fix-it tool is only used for troubleshooting failed uninstallations. You should attempt to uninstall SOLIDWORKS through the SOLIDWORKS 2018 installation manager first, prior to using the fix-it tool.
The Microsoft Fix-it tool is designed to remove only the programs within the Windows Installer Registry. Because of this files, folders, data folders, templates, and SOLIDWORKS registry information will not be removed. If your regular uninstall failed through the installation manager, it is possible to use the fix-it tool to remove necessary components to reinstall a newer version of SOLIDWORKS.
Again, this is recommended as a last resort if you cannot uninstall SOLIDWORKS due to an error and troubleshooting with support has not worked.
1. Download the Microsoft Fix-it tool
2. Click Next on the bottom right of the Fix-it program.
3. Choose Uninstalling.
4. Scroll through the list of programs and choose SOLIDWORKS 2018 SPX and click Next.
5. Choose Yes, try uninstall.
This can take several minutes to finish. It is possible that after the program has finished running SOLIDWORKS can still appear inside your programs. If this happens uninstall SOLIDWORKS through the clean uninstall process previously outlined in the article and it will be removed.
If the Microsoft Fix-it tool is successful in removing SOLIDWORKS from your programs and features you will still need to clean the registry and various other files and folders. Reference the sections above to do this before re-installing SOLIDWORKS.
Appendix A - Copy Settings Wizard
You can save your toolbar locations, command changes, keyboard shortcut hotkeys and system options (including file locations). If you want to save these, you will need to save the settings. Once you have reinstalled SOLIDWORKS, it will have the default settings, so you should test if SOLIDWORKS functions correctly before reapplying your custom settings.
1. Go to Start, All Programs, SOLIDWORKS 20XX, SOLIDWORKS Tools, Copy Settings Wizard.
2. Press the Save Settings button on the first page and press the Next button to continue.
3. If you have SOLIDWORKS open, you will be warned that any changes in the current sessions will not be saved. Close SOLIDWORKS if you want to keep any changes from this current session. Press the Yes button to continue.
4. On the following page, you can specify the location and name of your settings file. Press the Browse button to search for a save location.
5. Select the check boxes in front of the customized settings you would like to save.
6. Press the Finish button to save the .sldreg file.
7. You will be informed that your .sldreg file has been successfully saved. Press OK to finish.
8. You can browse to the save location and see the file. When you want to reset your SOLIDWORKS program to use your customized options, simply double-click this file and the settings will be written to the current user’s registry.
Appendix B - Creating backup of your files
Software issues can be caused by your registry settings or support files. It is a good idea to save your settings and files, but you will want to test that your issue is repaired with the default settings before reapplying your customizations.
Before searching for these files please see the showing hidden folders section of this document, appendix C.
SOLIDWORKS Data to Save: File Templates, Design Library, Custom Materials and Sheet Formats
If you have changed any of the above items, you will want to make a copy of the folder where these customized items are stored. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ Toolboxes when SOLIDWORKS is reinstalled.
Make a copy of your data folder and save it in a new, safe location. By default the location is:
In the event this removal of SOLIDWORKS is a result of a Toolbox issue, it is best practice for you to make a copy of your SOLIDWORKS default Toolbox library. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ Toolboxes when SOLIDWORKS is reinstalled.
Make a copy of your Toolbox library and save it in a new, safe location. By default the location is:
Flow Simulation Files
In the event this removal of SOLIDWORKS is a result of a Flow Simulation issue, it is best practice for you to make a copy of your Flow Simulation folders. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ Flow Simulation folders when SOLIDWORKS and Flow Simulation are reinstalled.
Make a copy of your Flow Simulation folder and save it in a new, safe location. The default location for this folder is:
C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation
In the event this removal of SOLIDWORKS is a result of a CircuitWorks issue, it is best practice for you to make a copy of your CircuitWorks folders. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ CircuitWorks folders when SOLIDWORKS and CircuitWorks are reinstalled.
Make a copy of your CircuitWorksfolder and save it in a new, safe location. The default location for this folder is:
Appendix C – Showing hidden files
By default, many file locations for SOLIDWORKS are in hidden folders. To be able to access these folders, you must set your system to show these items.
1. Start Windows Explorer.
2. Press Organize>Folder and search options.
3. Press Tools, Folder Options in the resulting window there will be a View Tab on this tab. Select the option Show hidden files and folders from the list of advanced settings. Press OK.
At this time, you will be able to see hidden folders; you may want to reset this option back to Do not show hidden files and folders after you have uninstalled SOLIDWORKS completely.
Appendix D – Removing Enterprise PDM
If your company uses Enterprise PDM (EPDM) for data management, you will need to remove this program from your computer as well. If you do not use EPDM, please go to the next section of this document on cleaning the registry.
NOTE! Be careful when performing this manual cleanup - this should ONLY be used to completely uninstall/remove the client software and registry settings when troubleshooting problems.
If performing this operation on a system where the archive or database server is installed, your existing file vaults will become unusable as the registry settings are destroyed. If you are uninstalling an Enterprise PDM archive or database server, please contact us atsupport.hawkridgesys.com or call us (in the U.S. 877-266-4469; Canadian customers dial 866-587-6803).
Follow the instruction below to export the EPDM registry keys out before deleting the SOLIDWORKS registry folders. The computer registry is where all information for all your programs is stored. You must be very careful to only delete the items expressly called out in this document. Any other items removed from this area may cause your system, or other programs, to not function correctly.
1. Open the registry editor, press the Windows button in the lower left corner of the screen and type regedit into the search line. Then select the regedit program from the search results.
2. Right-click the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SOLIDWORKS\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise and select Export to export the Enterprise registry key.reg file. Save this file to a safe location.
Continue saving .reg files of the following registry keys:
- All platforms:
- 64-bit platforms:
3. Go to the Control Panel and choose Uninstall a program.
4. A list of programs will be displayed. Find SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM in the list and select it. Press the Uninstall
5. Go into the registry editor again as in step one of this section. Then delete the following keys:
- All platforms:
6. Delete any registry entries left under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SharedDlls
that reference PDMWorks Enterprise DLLs and executables. Note that the data value indicates how many times a DLL is being shared between different applications.
7. Go through all keys under the following registry key and ensure Enterprise PDM is not listed (look for Display Name):HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\
8. Delete the folder C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDMand its contents.
9. Delete the folder:
C:\Users\[USERPROFILE]\AppData\Local\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM.
10. Continue to the following sections, Cleaning the Registry and Cleaning Folders and then return to this section.
11. Go into the registry editor like in step 1 of this section. Then go to File, Import and import the .reg files you saved in step 2 of this section.
12. Reboot the machine.
Appendix E – Accessing the registry editor
To access the registry editor:
1. Click on the Start Menu and search for the following command “Regedit”.
2. Click on the regedit.exe command in the search results.