How to Upgrade SQL

When upgrading SOLIDWORKS PDM to 2022 or later, it is often necessary to upgrade SQL itself.  PDM Professional will require SQL Standard or SQL Enterprise while PDM Standard will only run on an instance of SQL Express.  This article will help you upgrade your SQL. 


Before attempting to Upgrade any PDM Server components, please be sure to create backups of your data.

After upgrading PDM Server to 2022 or greater from an earlier version, you will need to upgrade your SQL version if it is not 2016 or higher.

If you have not updated your SQL, you will run into the error “SOLIDWORKS PDM Support SQL 2016 and above” during the Database Upgrade step.

SOLIDWORKS PDM supports SQL Server 2016 and above.

You may also see the following error when attempting to log into the vault.

The program and file vault are of incompatible versions


The first step to updating your SQL is to confirm the compatibility with your Windows Server Operating System

SQL Server in Windows operating system - SQL Server | Microsoft Learn


After verifying compatibility, use Microsoft’s website to obtain the installation files. Choose the version that your server is compatible with. (2016 or 2019)

If you need to upgrade SQL Standard, the paid for version that is needed for PDM Professional, you will need to get the installation files from the Microsoft Volume License Service Center. Here is the link: Volume Licensing Service Center (

Below are the links for SQL express:

SQL 2016 SP3:

KB3177534 - How to obtain the latest service pack for SQL Server 2016 (


SQL 2019:

Download Microsoft® SQL Server® 2019 Express from Official Microsoft Download Center

SQL 2019 latest cumulative update (you will need to do this after upgrading to SQL 2019):

Download SQL Server® 2019 for Microsoft® Windows Latest Cumulative Update from Official Microsoft Download Center


After installing the executable, you will want to run it as administrator. Be sure to select Custom.

Select installation type: custom


After selecting custom, you will select install.

Specify SQL Server media download target location


Under the Installation section of the SQL Server Installation Center, you need to select upgrade from a previous version of SQL Server.

Upgrade from a previous version of SQL Server 


You will accept the license agreements and select next.

License Terms


You will then select your instance that PDM exists on. Then hit next.

Select Instance


If you have any features, you will select them in the options prior to this next screen shot. If you do not have any features, it will automatically send you to the last step. This process can take a fair amount of time depending on the size of your database.


After completion, you will have to restart your server.


If you did not upgrade the SQL Cumulative update yet, you will receive the following error when trying to upgrade your PDM database.

SOLIDWORKS PDM 2021 and higher requires SQL Server 2019 Cumulative Update 4 or later.


Please download the latest cumulative update from the Microsoft website. Run the executable and accept the license agreement, then select next.

License Terms 2


Select all PDM existing instances, then hit next.

Select Features


Select next.

Check Files In Use


Select update.

Ready to update


You will need to restart your server after the cumulative update.

Complete 2


After you restart your server, the SQL upgrade is complete.

Complete 3


To finish the database upgrade, navigate to your SolidWorks installation media and run the Upgrade.exe

\SOLIDWORKS 202# SP0#\SOLIDWORKS 202# SP0#\SWPDMServer\Upgrade

Open the upgrade tool and run it. Select your vault and click next.

SOLIDWORKS PDM Database Upgrade Wizard


Select next.

This step will perform the upgrade


Select Finish.

database upgrade finished


After this, you should now have a working PDM client and server with all compatible components.


Contact Us

For further technical support please contact Hawk Ridge Systems at 877.266.4469 for the U.S. or 866.587.6803 for Canada.

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