Virtualization and SOLIDWORKS

Alex Taguchi

Prior to 2015, all virtual software for all SOLIDWORKS products were considered unsupported. Beginning with SOLIDWORKS 2015 products, the official policy for supporting and using SOLIDWORKS in a virtual environment has changed. DS SOLIDWORKS has certified specific virtual environments for both client and server-side usage. The technical details and our recommendations can be found in this guide.

Can you virtualize SOLIDWORKS?

Starting with SOLIDWORKS 2015, some virtualized environments have been certified for use by DS SOLIDWORKS. Previous versions are not blocked from being installed in virtualized environments, but were never developed or tested in them. Versions prior to 2015 would be considered uncertified for virtualization.

What does certified mean?

Certification means the product was developed and tested by DS SOLIDWORKS in a specific environment. When a SOLIDWORKS product is listed as certified on the system requirements website, this means that:

  • DS SOLIDWORKS tested the product in these environments with QA validation and intends the product to operate correctly within it.
  • Hawk Ridge Systems Technical Support and DS SOLIDWORKS Technical Support will investigate concerns related to SOLIDWORKS products in certified environments.
  • Hawk Ridge Systems Technical Support and DS SOLIDWORKS Technical Support are not obligated to investigate/correct problems with the environment itself.
  • DS SOLIDWORKS R&D will investigate defects documented as SPRs for potential corrective action.

Supported Products

SOLIDWORKS supports all products for virtualization with the exception of Electrical(server and client).

  • SOLIDWORKS, eDrawings, and Composer require a GPU for good performance in a virtualized environment.

What are the minimum hardware requirements?

The minimum requirements to run SOLIDWORKS are the same as a local installation, so the virtual environment should take into consideration the same requirements as a local workstation, except scaled to support the intended number of clients. For the latest information on minimum requirements, please refer to the DS SOLIDWORKS Minimum Requirements.

What about hardware accelerated graphics?

With a certified virtual environment and certified graphics card, it is possible to enable hardware accelerated OpenGL for both vGPU and GPU-passthrough modes. Please consult the VMWare or Citrix documentation for the proper configuration to enable hardware OpenGL. The currently certified cards for a vGPU-model would be the NVIDIA Tesla series:

Here are some additional links for more information:

Without a certified graphics card and driver, hardware accelerated OpenGL will not be supported.

Which virtual environments are certified?

For the most updated information, please refer to the DS SOLIDWORKS Virtual Support website. The table below outlines currently supported virtual software.

Virtualization Environment




VMware vSphere ESXi


6.0 (SW2017 SP02)


VMware Workstation




Microsoft Hyper-V




Parallels Desktop, Mac *




Citrix XenServer




  • Parallels Desktop for Mac is only supported for the non-server SOLIDWORKS products.
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