How to Plan for a SOLIDWORKS 2024 Upgrade


This document is meant to give a general overview of the installation process and provide a simple checklist for system administrators getting ready to deploy SOLIDWORKS and PDM software. Detailed information for installation is available through the Hawk Ridge support portal.

When implementing any new version, compatibility is a significant concern. Network-based licensing requires that the license server is updated first to the new version. Without an updated license server, clients will be unable to check out the new version license. In PDM Standard and Professional PDM environments, clients must have the same major version as their target vault server.

Before loading any software, you should always log in with full administrative permissions and disable any anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Be sure your operating system has been updated with Windows Updates recently to avoid any compatibility issues with the installer.

This is not a troubleshooting guide. If you have any technical issues with SOLIDWORKS, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems technical support.

This document is only to be distributed and used by Hawk Ridge Systems customers. Any other use is prohibited.


SOLIDWORKS Standalone Installation

SOLIDWORKS Network Licensed Setup

PDM Professional Installation

SOLIDWORKS Standalone Installation

SOLIDWORKS standalone licensing is activation-based, meaning that each stand-alone license can only be activated on one machine at a time.

  • Compatibility



For more information on hardware recommendations for SOLIDWORKS, see our guides here:

2024 Recommended Hardware Guide

2024 Comprehensive Hardware Guide

SOLIDWORKS requires a video card with a certified driver. It’s best to update your video driver to the certified version found here before installation:

  • Licensing
    Each stand-alone license can only be active on one machine at a time. If you are planning to upgrade one computer from a previous version, the activation will carry over. However, if you need to switch machines or install on a new machine, you will first need to transfer the license from your old machine.

    To transfer your license: open SOLIDWORKS then use the Help > Deactivate Licenses. This feature deactivates the product on your current machine so it can be reactivated on the new machine. Then, navigate to the new computer, install SOLIDWORKS, and Activate the license.

    If you recently purchased a new license or your serial number changed, you will need to update the serial number that was used to install SOLIDWORKS. For example, if you purchased a new license of SOLIDWORKS Premium and wanted to switch from a SOLIDWORKS Standard license.

    To change the serial number of your SOLIDWORKS license: go to the windows control panel and select ‘Programs and Features.’ Find SOLIDWORKS in the list of programs highlight it and select Change:


This will launch the SOLIDWORKS installation manager. Select the option to ‘modify’ your current installation then input your new serial number. REMEMBER, if you currently have SOLIDWORKS active on your machine, you will need to deactivate this license first.

  • Access
    SOLIDWORKS installation requires the use of an unrestricted administrator account. Turning off "Windows user account controls" (UAC), and any anti-virus software is recommended during installation.

  • Copy Settings Wizard
    The copy settings Wizard can be used to copy all the configuration of one version of SOLIDWORKS to the next. Making it possible to backup and restore SOLIDWORKS configuration across the version.

  • Upgrading Hole Wizard/Toolbox
    The Hole Wizard/toolbox is a critical component of SOLIDWORKS. To avoid data loss, be sure to back up your Toolbox folder – usually found at C:\SOLIDWORKS Data. For more information, please see our Updating the SOLIDWORKS Toolbox article.

SOLIDWORKS Network Licensed Setup

The first step in a SOLIDWORKS upgrade is to upgrade the license server. License servers are backward compatible but not forwards compatible. Therefore, if you plan to use SOLIDWORKS 2023, you must have an updated 2023 license server. For a more detailed guide, please see our 2024 Network Server License Manager Installation Guide

  • Network server version Before starting the upgrade process, review the operating system compatibility here:



  • Support for virtual machines
    Currently only the following virtual machine platforms will allow activation of a license server: VMWare, Microsoft Hyper-V, Parallels, and Citrix Xen.

  • Client Installation
    SOLIDWORKS network client installation is the same as a stand-alone installation. The network license key is used to install SOLIDWORKS, and no activation is required. All clients must be able to freely communicate with the license server on ports 25734 and 25735.

  • Migration from Standalone
    • When switching workstations to use a network license, the first step will be to designate and install the SNL (SolidNetwork License) manager on the new license server.
    • To remove the previous activations. Client installations will need to be modified to use the network serial number and receive their licenses from the license server. Follow the procedure to switch the licenses using the windows control panel -> Programs and Features -> highlight SOLIDWORKS and select ‘change.’ This will give the option to change the installed serial number and add the client's license manager.
  • Admin Image Deployment
    Creating an admin image for deployment provides a method to create a single image to be pushed out to each client machine. Images can be customized per machine to change installation modules for specific workstations.

  • PDM Version
    Before updating your clients and license server, it is essential to consider if you have an active PDM system as this system will need to be upgraded as well. With SOLIDWORKS Professional, Standard or Workgroup PDM clients, if you wish to use a newer version of SOLIDWORKS your PDM vault and client software will need to be upgraded as well. A newer client will be unable to connect to an older vault.

  • License Troubleshooting
    The most common error associated with a network license is the Windows firewall blocking access to the license server. Make sure that the ports 25734 and 25735 are open on all clients and inbound on the license server.

PDM Professional Installation

PDM Professional consists of three modules: Archive server, Database server, and clients. Each of these must be updated to work together. Before upgrading, be sure to have a backup of your SQL database and vault data. Once you have current backups, to complete the installation, you will need to have logins to the SQL SA user account and Vault Admin account.

  • Change in licensing method
    2015 added activation-based licensing for PDM using the SolidNetWork license manager. Licenses for PDM are now managed through the SNL with FlexLM, giving administrators real-time information on license usage.

  • SQL Server installation

  • PDM does not include a copy of the SQL Server. Either a current installation will need to be used or a new install created. Hawk Ridge Systems can provide installation media for SQL server 2014. PDM Professional 2023 is only compatible with SQL Server 2016 and newer.

  • Vault and Client Version
    All clients must be running the same year version of the PDM software as the vault.

Client Compatibility – CAD Editor



Archive Server Compatibility



Database and Archive Server Compatibility


For further assistance, please contact our support team at, or 877-266-4469 (US) or 866-587-6803 (Canada).

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