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Apple Recommendations and Support Policy

Jake Howard
This document details the current Apple support policy, and provides best practices for getting the most out of SOLIDWORKS on an Apple computer.

SOLIDWORKS Support for Apple Mac Computers

As per the SOLIDWORKS Support for Virtual Environments page, Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac is now an officially supported environment, meaning it is entitled to technical support.

For more details about hardware and environment support, please see the Hawk Ridge Systems Comprehensive Hardware Guide. Since Apple hardware remains unsupported, technical support for SOLIDWORKS will be limited to functionality, how-to, documentation, enhancements, and software bug fixes.

Technical support will only be provided for core SOLIDWORKS products, including SOLIDWORKS, eDrawings, and ePDM.

Known Issues with Virtual Environments

Although virtualization technology is officially supported by SOLIDWORKS, Hawk Ridge does not recommend this type of configuration if other options are available. Some issues that we’ve seen so far include:

  • Activation issues
    • SOLIDWORKS assigns a unique “Hardware ID” to each computer based on partition information on the drive. Since this information is virtualized in Parallels, it’s more likely to change. This can lead to activation issues.
  • Decreased graphical performance
    • Using a 3rd party software (Parallels) to manage video card switching, resource management, and other essential video functions will never be as effective as allowing a native operating system to do this.
    • SOLIDWORKS does not test or certify video drivers for Apple hardware, so stability is not guaranteed.
    • Many Mac products have high resolution displays, which can cause issues with SOLIDWORKS toolbars and context menus. It may be necessary to adjust Windows display settings to accommodate for this. In some cases, it may not be possible to get readable text size.
  • General instability/crashing
    • Virtual environments introduce an additional layer of communication and complexity between the user, operating system and its hardware. Error handling and driver integration, among other factors, may be affected by this.

 

If it is essential that your SOLIDWORKS software remain consistently operational, Hawk Ridge recommends running SOLIDWORKS on a native (non-virtualized) Windows operating system. Boot Camp is not a supported environment.

Recommendations for setting up Parallels for SOLIDWORKS on an Apple computer

Hawk Ridge Systems does not provide support for the initial installation and setup of the Parallels environment. Please consult https://forum.solidworks.com/welcome and http://kb.parallels.com/ for initial Parallels setup support.

Through technical support experience, Hawk Ridge Systems has found that the following should provide the best performance for running SOLIDWORKS with Parallels:

  • Install all available Windows updates prior to installation of SOLIDWORKS.
    • Windows provides updates and bug fixes for the “prerequisite” components that SOLIDWORKS uses. Making sure Windows is up to date ensures that SOLIDWORKS is using components that are as stable as possible.
  • Download and install the latest drivers for your video card from the manufacturer’s website.
    • SOLIDWORKS does not verify or support any of the video cards currently being used in Apple computers. Downloading the newest possible driver from the manufacturer’s website will ensure the best possible stability.
  • If you have the “Plain” disk space option selected, make sure that you’ve allocated enough space so that you have at least 10 GB free after installation.
    • Windows and SOLIDWORKS both create temporary “working” files that are later deleted when they aren’t needed. Leaving enough space for these files to be created is essential to the stability of both Windows and SOLIDWORKS.
  • Allocate ample Video and RAM resources to the virtual instance
    • Allocating 8GB or more is recommended, but this should not exceed 3/4ths of the total capacity on the machine.
  • Limit the number of files open in one SOLIDWORKS instance, tabs open in your internet browser, and the number of programs running in the background.
    • Other open programs reserve memory that cannot be used by SOLIDWORKS. Closing tabs and programs can free up more of this resource.
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    Rick Thorp

    VMWare Fusion is another popular virtualization solution on MacOS. SolidWorks does NOT currently support solutions other than Parallels, as described in the article above.