This article explains how to restore file associations for SOLIDWORKS files when the in-context Explorer menu is missing and file associations cannot be restored through the standard Windows file association method.
Often, systems that lose their SOLIDWORKS file associations for parts, assemblies, and drawings will not allow SOLIDWORKS to launch when the file is double-clicked. Additionally, if the file association is missing, the SOLIDWORKS Explorer in-context right-click menu will not appear. Users will also not be able to restore their file associations using standard Windows utilities in the following location: Control panel > Programs > Default Programs. Click "Associate a file type or protocol with a program."
If the method in the above section fails to restore file associations, users can restore these manually, by editing the computer's registry. This method will require that the user has administrative privileges to the system.
WARNING: The following method involves editing the computer's registry. Please do not attempt if you are not comfortable altering keys in this location, as deleting any keys not explicitly stated in this article can cause severe damage to your Windows installation.
1. Close out all running programs, including SOLIDWORKS.
2. Click the Start Menu button in Windows and type "regedit" to access the registry editor (type this in the search bar if on Windows 7 or prior operating systems).
3. Navigate to the following registry key location:
*the italicized extension above will relate to the file that you are trying to restore associations to (.SLDASM for assemblies, .SLDPRT for parts, .SLDDRW for drawings)
4. Right-click the "UserChoice" registry key and export the key to a safe location
5. Delete the "UserChoice" key and close the registry editor
6. Reset the file association for your SOLIDWORKS files by navigating to:
Control panel > Programs > Default Programs > Click "Associate a file type or protocol with a program" > Select "SOLIDWORKS Launcher"
7. Retest the original issue.