This guide is written for SOLIDWORKS 2023. If you are using an earlier version of SOLIDWORKS, please download our earlier documents.
This information is subject to change without notification. Please make sure you are using the most current version of the document. If you have any questions or find that there are discrepancies between this document and the SOLIDWORKS website or documentation, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems technical support.
If you are experiencing serious issues with your SOLIDWORKS software, you may need to fully uninstall the program and all associated programs and files before attempting to reload the software. This document covers how to do this complete removal of the product.
This is not a troubleshooting guide. If you have any technical issues with SOLIDWORKS, please contact Hawk Ridge Systems technical support.
Before uninstalling SOLIDWORKS
Prior to uninstalling SOLIDWORKS you will need to deactivate your current SOLIDWORKS activation (only for standalone licenses). The next section outlines the deactivation process.
It is recommended, but optional, to copy your current user settings and custom part files before uninstalling SOLIDWORKS. You may also backup your PDM registry key folders, if you wish to do so. Please reference Appendix A on the steps to use the Settings Wizard for saving your user settings, Appendix B for file locations of custom parts and custom files, Appendix D for creating a PDM backup.
License deactivation/ Transfer
- Type SOLIDWORKS 2023 into the Windows Search line or use your SOLIDWORKS 2023 desktop icon to launch the SOLIDWORKS 2023 install.
- After SOLIDWORKS starts, go to the Help menu and select Licenses>Deactivate….
- Click on Select all and use the default selection Automatically over the Internet (recommended).
- Select Next. You will now connect to the SOLIDWORKS Activation site to return the license.
- You will be informed that the license has been transferred back to SOLIDWORKS.
- Press the Finish button to complete.
Note: SOLIDWORKS will not run on this machine until it is re-activated.
Uninstalling SOLIDWORKS 2023
- Make sure you are logged in as the Administrator.
- Disable all anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. (Some of these programs can sometimes block the uninstall process. It is also recommended to turn these programs off before reinstalling SOLIDWORKS.)
- Type Control Panel into the Windows search line to pull up the Control Panel and select Uninstall a program. (A list of programs should be displayed which are by default in alphabetical order.)
- Right-click on SOLIDWORKS 2023 from the list and select Uninstall in order to launch the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager. (By default, all SOLIDWORKS related programs are selected. Make sure that only the programs you wish to remove are selected.)
- The SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager will launch at this time into the Welcome tab. You will be shown a list of SOLIDWORKS products that are loaded on this system. Select the programs you wish to remove.
Note: If you wish to do a complete clean-uninstall (removal of all files including registry files), then click on the Change link next to the Advanced Options. There, you will be able to select Registry Entries to remove serial numbers and custom settings, Data Files and Folders to remove custom files such as Toolbox, and Download Files and Folders to remove downloaded install files. Once you have selected what you want to remove, click Back to Summary.
- Click the Remove Items icon at the bottom of the screen to continue. (If you are using a standalone license and you have not deactivated your licenses already, a dialog will appear to allow you to deactivate currently activated licenses on the computer. The selected products will now be removed from the system.)
- Press OK to continue. (You will be informed when SOLIDWORKS is completely removed from your machine.)
- If you have any older versions of SOLIDWORKS, COSMOS, eDrawings, DWG Editor or SOLIDWORKS Explorer, etc. that you wish to remove, then you will have to repeat the steps in this section for those programs as well.
After uninstalling SOLIDWORKS
At this point, the SOLIDWORKS products have been removed from your machine. However, many folders, files, and registry keys remain on your system. Using the advance uninstall option in SOLIDWORKS removes these files, but it is possible that some may have been missed. If you also wish to remove PDM registry keys, then you may check and see that those were removed by also checking the list in Appendix E.
If these items were the cause of your software issue, reinstalling the product without removing these will not fix the issue. This section covers how to check and safely remove all remaining items from your system.
Cleaning the Registry and Folders for SOLIDWORKS
The computer registry is where much of the information for all your programs are stored. This is accessed in the Registry Editor program.
- Type regedit into the Windows search line in order to select and open the Registry Editor program from the search results.
- Select File, Export, if you wish to back the registry in order to avoid any accidents on the following steps. It is not possible to undo a folder deletion in the registry, so that is why a backup is recommended.
Important: You must be very careful to only delete the items specifically called out in this document. Any other items removed from this area may cause your system or other programs to not function correctly.
- Continue by deleting the following registry key folders.
If you choose to only back up your PDM, then follow the steps in Appendix D of this document first, then return to this step.
Program Files and Folders:
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Composer\
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Explorer\
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\eDrawings\
- C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS\
- C:\Program Files\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Shared
- C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\SOLIDWORKS Shared
- HKCU\Software\Dassault Systemes (Composer)
- HKCU\Software\SOLIDWORKS 20xx
Data Files and Folders:
- C:\SOLIDWORKS Data
- C:\ProgramData\Dassault Systemes
Microsoft fix-it tool
The Microsoft fix-it tool is only used for troubleshooting failed uninstallations. You should attempt to uninstall SOLIDWORKS through the SOLIDWORKS 2023 installation manager first, prior to using the fix-it tool.
The Microsoft Fix-it tool is designed to remove only the programs within the Windows Installer Registry. Because of this files, folders, data folders, templates, and SOLIDWORKS registry information will not be removed. If your regular uninstallation failed through the installation manager, it is possible to use the fix-it tool to remove necessary components to reinstall a newer version of SOLIDWORKS.
Again, this is recommended as a last resort if you cannot uninstall SOLIDWORKS due to an error and troubleshooting with support has not worked.
- Download the Microsoft Fix-it tool
- Click Next on the bottom right of the Fix-it program.
- Select Uninstalling.
- Scroll through the list of programs and choose SOLIDWORKS 2022 SPX and click Next.
- Select Yes, try uninstalling.
This can take several minutes to finish. It is possible that after the program has finished running SOLIDWORKS can still appear inside your programs. If this happens uninstall SOLIDWORKS through the clean uninstall process previously outlined in the article and it will be removed.
If the Microsoft Fix-it tool is successful in removing SOLIDWORKS from your programs and features, then you will need to clean the registry and various other files and folders. Reference the sections above to do this before re-installing SOLIDWORKS.
Appendix A - Settings Wizard
You can save your toolbar locations, command changes, keyboard shortcut hotkeys, and system options (including file locations). If you want to save these, then you will need to save the settings. Once you have reinstalled SOLIDWORKS, it will have the default settings, so you should test if SOLIDWORKS functions correctly before reapplying your custom settings.
- Go to Start, All Programs, SOLIDWORKS Tools 20XX, Settings Wizard.
- Press the Save Settings button on the first page and press the Next button to continue.
- If you have SOLIDWORKS open, you will be warned that any changes in the current sessions will not be saved. Close SOLIDWORKS if you want to keep any changes from this current session. Press the Yes button to continue.
- On the following page, you can specify the location and name of your settings file. Press the Browse button to search for a save location.
- Select the check boxes in front of the customized settings you would like to save.
- Press the Finish button to save the .sldreg file.
- You will be informed that your .sldreg file has been successfully saved. Press OK to finish.
- You can browse to the save location and see the file. When you want to reset your SOLIDWORKS program to use your customized options, simply double-click this file and the settings will be written to the current user’s registry.
Appendix B - Creating backup of your files
Software issues can be caused by your registry settings or support files. It is a good idea to save your settings and files, but you will want to test that your issue is repaired with the default settings before reapplying your customizations.
Before searching for these files, please see the Showing hidden folders section of this document in Appendix C.
SOLIDWORKS Data to Save: File Templates, Design Library, Custom Materials and Sheet Formats
If you have changed any of the above items, you will want to make a copy of the folder where these customized items are stored. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ Toolboxes when SOLIDWORKS is reinstalled.
Make a copy of your data folder and save it in a new, safe location. By default, the location is
In the event this removal of SOLIDWORKS is a result of a Toolbox issue, it is best practice for you to make a copy of your SOLIDWORKS default Toolbox library. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ Toolboxes when SOLIDWORKS is reinstalled.
Make a copy of your Toolbox library and save it in a new, safe location. By default the location is:
Flow Simulation Files
In the event this removal of SOLIDWORKS is a result of a Flow Simulation issue, it is best practice for you to make a copy of your Flow Simulation folders. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ Flow Simulation folders when SOLIDWORKS and Flow Simulation are reinstalled.
Make a copy of your Flow Simulation folder and save it in a new, safe location. The default location for this folder is:
C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp\SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation
In the event this removal of SOLIDWORKS is a result of a CircuitWorks issue, it is best practice for you to make a copy of your CircuitWorks folders. This gives you the ability to test the functionality of the existing ‘default’ and ‘copied’ CircuitWorks folders when SOLIDWORKS and CircuitWorks are reinstalled.
Make a copy of your CircuitWorksfolder and save it in a new, safe location. The default location for this folder is:
Appendix C – Showing hidden files
By default, many file locations for SOLIDWORKS are in hidden folders. To be able to access these folders, you must set your system to show these items. Below are the steps to do this.
- Open a File Explorer dialog or Windows Explorer dialog.
- For Windows 10, select the View tab and make sure Hidden Items is selected. (Windows 8.1, or Windows 7 steps).
At this time, you will be able to see hidden folders; you may choose to reset this option back to Do not show hidden files and folders after you have uninstalled SOLIDWORKS completely.
Appendix D – Backing up PDM Registry
Follow the instructions below to export and backup the PDM registry key folders before deleting the SOLIDWORKS registry folders.
- Type regedit into the Windows search line in order to select the Registry Editor program from the search results.
- Right-click the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SOLIDWORKS\Applications\PDMWorks Enterprise and select Export to save the Enterprise registry key.reg file. (Save this file to a safe location.)
Continue saving .reg files for the following registry keys:
For all platforms:
For 64-bit platforms:
Appendix E – Removing PDM
If performing this operation on a system where the archive or database server is installed, then your existing file vaults will become unusable while the registry key folders are removed. If you are uninstalling a PDM archive or database server, then please email us at support.hawkridgesys.com or call us at support. (For USA customers, dial 877-266-4469; For Canada customers, dial 866-587-6803).
The computer registry is where all the information for all of your programs are stored. You must be very careful to only delete the items expressly called out in this document. Any other items removed from this area may cause your system, or other programs, to not function correctly.
- Go to the Control Panel and choose Uninstall a program.
- A list of programs will be displayed. Find SOLIDWORKS PDM in the list and select it. Press the (If the version is 2015 or older, then it may read as SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM)
- Go into the registry editor again as instructed in step 1. of Appendix D in this document. Then delete the following keys:
- All platforms:
- Delete any registry entries left under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\SharedDlls
that reference PDM DLLs and executables. Note that the data value indicates how many times a DLL is being shared between different applications.
- Go through all keys under the following registry key and ensure PDM is not listed (look for Display Name): HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\
- Delete the folder C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM and its contents.
- Delete the folder:
C:\Users\Username\AppData\Local\SOLIDWORKS\SOLIDWORKS Enterprise PDM.
- Continue to the following sections, Cleaning the Registry and Cleaning Folders and then return to this section.
- Go into the registry editor like in step 1 of this section. Then go to File, Import and import the .reg files you saved in step 2 of this section.
- Reboot the machine.
For further assistance, please contact our support team at email@example.com, or 877-266-4469 (US) or 866-587-6803 (Canada).