PDM File Version Upgrade Utility (FVUT)

The PDM File Version Upgrade Utility (FVUT) is a tool that allows you to upgrade SOLIDWORKS files located in your PDM vault to the latest version. The tool automatically checks out, upgrades, saves and checks native SOLIDWORKS files back into the vault. All references, revision tags, and workflow states remain intact after the process is done. This utility is only used to upgrade native SolidWorks files including, .sldprt, .slddrw, and .sldasm. Template and block files must be upgraded manually. The Toolbox should also be upgraded separately if managed in PDM.  

A PDM Upgrade does not require the use of the File Version Upgrade Utility, however, there are situations where using the tool can be beneficial. 

When using FVUT you will be able to have several workstations involved. The first workstation that is setup would be the Coordinator Workstation and each of the remaining workstations would be the Agent Workstations. The maximum number of workstations cannot be greater than the number of PDM CAD Editor licenses you have.



Completing the Upgrade

Final Steps after the upgrade

Addendum for 2020 SP4 or higher



Primary Benefits of using the File Version Upgrade Utility tool:

Improved Performance when you are upgrading from a version more than two years older to a newer version, such as upgrading from 2017 to 2021

When the vault is very large, using the FVUT can help ensure that users do not have issues when accessing the files in the new version.  Since SOLIDWORKS will attempt to save all components in the new version, if the user does not have check-out permissions this can cause issues with assemblies.



There are specific requirements and recommendations for each workstation involved with the upgrade. Additionally, you will want to ensure you have a full backup of your archive prior to running the upgrade. You will also want to ensure your Archive Server has enough room for the upgrade. The tool will give you an estimate before you start about the space requirements.


Each Workstation requires you to install the File File Version Upgrade Utility software.
Steps for installing the FVUT software:

  1. Navigate to <path of installation media>\SWPDMClient\Support\File Version Upgrade
  2. Double click File Version Upgrade.exe.
  3. Select Next
  4. Accept the license agreement and click Next.
  5. Click Install.
  6. Click Finish.

Additional recommendations when setting up the workstations that will be used for the process:

  • Ensure that the target SOLIDWORKS version, which the files will be updated to, is installed.
  • Disable all SOLIDWORKS add-ins and stop them from loading on startup.
    NOTE- that the Enterprise PDM add-in will automatically be unloaded during the upgrade process.
  • Close all running applications including SOLIDWORKS. The upgrade tool will start SOLIDWORKS as needed. Also, stop any non-essential processes to free up as many available resources on the system.
  • Ensure that the hardware resources are sufficient to open all larger assemblies that will be upgraded. Each workstation should meet the minimum requirements for SOLIDWORKS.
  • It is recommended that you reset the SOLIDWORKS options to be the same on all workstations performing the upgrade. You can reset to default settings by opening SOLIDWORKS > ‘Tools’ > ‘Options’ > ‘Reset All’.
  • Ensure that there are no checked-out files on the client. The upgrade tool will need to clear the local cache in the vault view on the client as it processes the upgrade batches. Log in as ‘Admin’ user and search for checked-out files. Match the workstation hostname in the ‘Checked out on’ column to find the files that are checked out on the specific workstation.
  • Ensure that the logged-in user in the local vault view has sufficient permissions to upgrade files. The user must be able to read and check out all files to be upgraded. When possible, perform the upgrade logged in as the ‘Admin’ user to ensure you get full access. Give ‘Admin’ user full folder and workflow permissions.
  • Test the upgrade procedure. To ensure the upgrade tool can process files without problems, you should run test upgrades on the workstation.

Coordinator workstation specific setup:

  • Give participating clients read/write access to all files in the vault you are upgrading.
  • Create a shared folder drive on the network for the work instruction files and share it with full (read/write) permissions for all participating clients.


Completing the Upgrade

Performing a Trial File Upgrade:

Before upgrading the SOLIDWORKS files in a production vault, perform the upgrade on a copy of the production vault to ensure that there are no upgrade problems. Click here for steps to create a test environment 

  1. Restore a complete backup of the file vault to a separate server.
  2. Start the File Version Upgrade Utility by doing one of the following:
    On Windows 7, click Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS PDM > File Version Upgrade.
    On Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 or later, from the Windows Start menu, click SOLIDWORKS PDM > File Version Upgrade.
  3. Follow the instructions in the upgrade wizard.
  4. Verify that the upgrade is successful.

Running the Upgrade Utility:

  1. Start the File Version Upgrade Utility by doing one of the following:
    On Windows 7, click Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS PDM > File Version Upgrade.
    On Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 or later, from the Windows Start menu, click SOLIDWORKS PDM > File Version Upgrade.
  2. On the Welcome screen, do one of the following:
    - To set up the upgrade, click Initiate a new upgrade process (Coordinator Workstation).
    - To run a work instruction file created for the upgrade, click Participate in an upgrade process (Agent Workstation).
    -To retry an upgrade that was terminated unexpectedly, click Restart an interrupted upgrade process (Coordinator and Agent Workstation).
  3. Follow the instructions in the upgrade wizard.


Creating and Using Work Instruction Files:

By creating work instruction files, you can run the upgrade tool concurrently on several workstations to reduce the upgrade time.  You create the work instruction files on the first workstation that runs the upgrade tool, which becomes the coordinator workstation.


  1. Create a shared folder and give each workstation that will participate in the upgrade Read/Write access.
  2. Start the File Version Upgrade Utility by doing one of the following:
    On Windows 7, click Start > All Programs > SOLIDWORKS PDM > File Version Upgrade.
    On Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 or later, from the Windows Start menu, click SOLIDWORKS PDM > File Version Upgrade.
  3. On the Welcome screen, select Initiate a new upgrade process (Coordinator Workstation) and click Next.
  4. Complete the wizard screens.
  5. On the Upgrade Settings screen:
    a) Under Upgrade Settings, select Divide the upgrade work into multiple work instruction files.
    b) Specify the number of work instruction files to create.
    c) For the Shared location for work instruction files, enter the name of the shared folder you created in step 1 or click the browse button to navigate to the folder. NOTE - The folder name must be in UNC format.
    d) Click Next.
  6. On the Ready to Upgrade Files screen, do one of the following:
    - To upgrade now, click Yes. When a completion message appears, click OK.
    - To exit the upgrade utility and run work instruction files later, click No.
  7. If you selected No in step 6, run the File Version Upgrade tool again to perform the upgrade using the work instruction files.
  8. On the Welcome screen, select Participate in an upgrade process [Agent Workstation].
  9. On the Select Work Instruction File screen:
    a) Browse to the location of the work instruction files.
    b) Select the work instruction file to process.
    c) Click Next. The Work Instruction File Summary displays a read-only summary of the
    settings specified for the upgrade.
    d) Click Next.
  10. On the Ready to Upgrade Files screen:
    a) Click View Files to see a list of files that will be upgraded.
    b) To upgrade the files, click Yes.
    c) When a completion message appears, click OK

Completing an Interrupted Upgrade:

Sometimes an upgrade is interrupted unexpectedly, for example, when you lose a network connection or lose power.

  1. Click Retry in the error message.
  2. In the message indicating that the conversion did not complete successfully, click OK
  3. Click Exit.
  4. Solve the problem that caused the interruption. For example, restore the network or restart the computer.
  5. Run the Upgrade utility again.
  6. On the Welcome screen, select Restart an interrupted upgrade process (Coordinator and Agent Workstation).
  7. On the Continue Interrupted Migration screen, click Next.
  8. On the Work Instruction File Summary screen, click Next.
  9. On the Ready to Upgrade Files screen, click Finish.

Final Steps after the upgrade

You will want to check the upgrade completed correctly by checking the logs. This will also let you know what files did not upgrade via the tool and require manual upgrading. Additionally, if you used the ‘overwrite existing version’ option during the upgrade, you can restore from a backup if there is something incorrect with the upgraded copy.  After you confirm your upgrade is complete, you can delete the backup files to free up space on the server.


When the upgrade is complete check the logs:

  • View the upgrade log files.
  • Manually upgrade files that the tool was unable to upgrade automatically.
    NOTE - Manual upgrade creates new versions. If you upgraded using Overwrite existing versions, manual upgrade will invalidate the reference structure.
  • Optionally, use Get Latest Version to create local copies of files that were converted on other workstations.
  • Open a subset of converted files in SOLIDWORKS to verify that the conversion was successful.
  • If you selected to overwrite existing versions of files, after ensuring that the upgrade was successful, remove the backup files from the archive server.

The files names in upgrade logs take the following formats:

  • Files that have been upgraded Upgrade Utility <id>Batch<n>.log where:
    • <id> is a unique alphanumeric string
    • <n> is the number of the batch file for which the log was created
    Example: Upgrade Utility 471F2FDS Batch 4.log
  • Files that could not be upgraded Upgrade Utility <id> Batch <n>.logExcluded.log
    Example: Upgrade Utility 471F2FDS Batch 4.logExcluded.log

Backup Files:
If you choose to overwrite existing versions of files when you upgrade, the upgrade tool creates a backup file for each overwritten file.
These backup files remain after the upgrade. You can remove them after you verify that the upgrade succeeded.
It is not possible to disable the backup option, so ensure that you have sufficient free disk space on the archive server before you start the upgrade.
The Ready to Upgrade Files screen gives an estimate of the amount of space that is needed.

  1. The upgrade tool retrieves the original version of the file from the file archive folder to the client system that is running a work instruction file to perform the upgrade.
  2. The tool opens the file in SOLIDWORKS, upgrades it, and sends it back to the archive folder when the batch process completes.
  3. Before the version is replaced, the original version in the archive is renamed using the following format: bak_counter_version.extension
    • bak is the prefix for all backup files.
    • counter is a unique counter in case the existing file with the same backup name exists from a previous upgrade.
    • version is the number, in hexadecimal format, of the file version that is being replaced.
    • extension is the file extension.
  4. The upgrade tool places the upgraded version of the file in the archive using the original file name.

Restoring an Incorrectly Upgraded Version from a Backup:
If an upgraded version of a file is incorrect, you can use the backup file to restore the original content of the file.

  1. In the local file vault view, determine the name of the file to find.
  2. Open Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio and click Connect.
  3. Expand Databases and select the vault containing the file you want to restore.
  4. Click New Query.
  5. In the right pane, type a query in the following format:
    select * from documents
    where filename like 'filename.ext'
    For example:
    select * from documents
    where filename like 'speaker_frame.sldprt'
  6. Click Execute.
    Record the files DocumentID, which is listed in the Results tab.
  7. Exit the SQL Server Management Studio.
  8. Use a calculator to convert the DocumentID to hexadecimal format.
  9. In an Explorer window, navigate to install_dir\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS PDM\Data\vault_name.
    If the archive server data folder is not listed above, to locate it:
    Run Regedit.
    Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SolidWorks\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise\ArchiveServer\Vaults\vault_name\ArchiveTable
    The archive tables will be listed here, they are the 0-F folders
  10. Expand the vault archive that matches the last digit of the hexadecimal number.
    For example, if the hexadecimal number is 3B, expand the folder labeled B.
  11. Expand the folder that matches the hexadecimal number.
  12. Rename or delete the version of the file you want to restore.
    For example, rename 00000002.sldprt to 00000002.backup.
  13. Rename the appropriate bak_ file to the original file name.
    For example, rename bak_0_00000002.sldprt to 00000002.sldprt.

Locating and Removing Backup Files:
When the upgrade is complete and all the files are converted to the latest version, the backup files can be removed to free up disk space on the archive server. Each file archive is stored under the file vault archive folder.

To locate the file vault archive folder:

  1. Run Regedit.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SolidWorks\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise\ArchiveServer\Vaults\vault_name\ArchiveTable
  3. The file archives are spread out over 16 subfolders(0-F). If the vault archive has been split up, some of those subfolders may be on different drives. 
  4. Use Windows search or another search method to search for all files under the vault archive with a name starting with bak_.
  5. Delete all the files that are found.



Addendum for 2020 SP4 or higher

If you are using SOLIDWORKS and PDM 2020 SP4 or higher there are two SOLIDWORKS settings that affect saving.  Turning these settings off should improve performance when opening older files and saving them to the new version.  Turning off these settings will allow several environments where the FVUT is recommended to be able to skip its use while not seeing performance degradation.

Under System Options > Drawings > Performance, the setting “Include Detailing Model Data when saving” is enabled by default.  This setting can cause drawings to take a very long time to save.



Under System Options > External References, the setting “Force referenced documents to save to current major version” will have SOLIDWORKS requiring all referenced documents for assemblies or drawing to be saved in the newer version. Turning this off will allow you to save/update only the files you have checked out at the time rather than force you to check all referenced files out and resave them.



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


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