PDM Resource Monitor Warnings for GDI Handles

When using a SolidWorks PDM version prior to 2021 SP5.0 a warning can display. The SolidWorks PDM Resource Monitor indicates that GDI Handles are critically low. These warning messages can occur when logging into the PDM local vault view or using the PDM administration console. What causes these errors and how can they be addressed?


Most processes that display graphical objects and formatted text in Windows® use Graphical Device Interface (GDI) handles. By default, each process has a limit of 10,000 GDI handles. If the process exceeds this limit, the process will become unstable and hang or crash. For example, if you open many Windows Explorer dialog boxes that lists files and folder icons and images, it is possible that the ‘Explorer.exe’ process will reach 10,000 GDI handles and crash.

Because the primary interface for working with files in a SOLIDWORKS® PDM file vault is the Windows Explorer file vault view, exceeding the GDI handle limit often causes SOLIDWORKS PDM to crash. Closing Windows Explorer dialog boxes should release the GDI handles and avoid a crash. Effective with the release of SOLIDWORKS PDM 2019, the ‘Edmserver.exe’ process (the SOLIDWORKS PDM icon in the system tray) will monitor several processes and display a warning if available GDI handles are getting low.

When the monitored process reaches 8500 GDI handles, SOLIDWORKS PDM displays the following warning:

‘Warning! Available GDI handles are low for the process ‘Explorer.exe’ with process ID [ID].’

When the monitored process reach 9000 GDI handles, the warning changes to a critical warning and displays repeatedly until you reduce the GDI handles to fewer than 9000.

When you click on the warning, the following additional text appears:

’To avoid Explorer instability, please close additional Explorer windows to free resources or restart the process’

The ‘SOLIDWORKS PDM Resource Monitor’ will display the warning for the following processes: ‘Explorer.exe’, ‘ConisioAdmin.exe’, ‘Search.exe’, CardEdit.exe’, ‘FileViewer.exe’, and ‘ItemExporer.exe’

You can control the GDI handle threshold for when the warning should display from the following registry key:

‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Solidworks\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise\Vaults\_-Global\Settings'

Create a DWORD value with following names:
• ‘GDI_Danger_Threshold’ – Number of GDI handles for regular warning to display.
• ‘GDI_Warning_Threshold’ - Number of GDI handles for regular warning to display.
• ‘MonitorGDIFrequency(sec)’ – Frequency to check for GDI handle threshold.

Caution: Incorrectly editing the registry can severely damage your operating system. The SOLIDWORKS Technical Support team strongly suggests that you back up the registry data before making any changes.

Note: Upgrading to SolidWorks PDM 2021 SP5.0 or higher resolves the issue. The GDI resource issues are documented by SOLIDWORKS in SPR 875195 and 1208324. 








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