In early October, we started noticing some issues with the SOLIDWORKS training website. When trying to download a file set, the download would either display an error or simply never begin. This behavior has continued since then, so I reached out to SOLIDWORKS directly for some answers.
This is not caused by any particular threat contained within the training files, which I have been assured are perfectly safe. The problem is related more generally to how different web browsers are handling executable (.exe) files. Due to the risk of malware being hidden in a seemingly innocuous program, many browsers take precautions to ensure users don’t inadvertently wreck their systems. These checks seem to now be catching the SOLIDWORKS training files, making it more difficult—though not impossible—to access these documents.
In the near future, SOLIDWORKS will start uploading the training documents as zip files rather than executables. Until then, there are some workarounds. These differ depending on the browser, so I’ll cover each of the main three browsers separately: Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox.
I’d recommend only following these procedures for the training files and not for any other documents. There’s a good reason for these precautions, so I do not suggest you bypass them in other situations.
When attempting to download from the training page in Google Chrome, the download will be stopped before it can begin without any indication. This behavior is the result of a series of security enhancements Google announced last year to prevent insecure downloads from secure websites (i.e. HTTPS pages). Since they pose an especial threat, Chrome rolled out these measures against executable files first, though other potentially unsafe file types have been flagged since then as well.
Previously, users could get around this by opening the download link in a new tab, as indicated by a note on the training page, though this method is also unsuccessful now. There is, however, another option. If you right-click the link, you can choose to save the link itself. In the Save As dialog, you’ll see that the file being saved is the relevant executable. After saving the file, it will show up with an error in the lower-left corner of your web page. Clicking the arrow next to the document offers an option to keep the file, allowing it to download like normal.
It is possible that this technique will cease working in the future as Google continues to introduce new restrictions on suspicious downloads, but for the time being this is one way for you to retrieve the training files.
When attempting the download from Microsoft Edge, you will receive a message that it cannot be completed. If you hover over the file in the Downloads menu, you will see two buttons: “Delete” and “More actions.” Select “More actions” and then “Keep” from the dropdown list to accept the file. There will be a secondary warning after that, so you will need to click “Keep anyway” to confirm the download.
Like Edge, Firefox offers a quick method to force through the training file downloads despite the threat. After selecting a file, you’ll see a popup prompting you to save the file or cancel the operation. “Save File” will send the file to the queue, but Firefox will report that there is a security risk and halt the download. In the list of downloads, click the affected file to get more information on the issue. From there, you can manually allow the download.
As I mentioned earlier, there are plans for the SOLIDWORKS training team to move to zip files rather than executables. Prior to that, though, I would recommend using the procedures listed above if you need the documents. If you are still unable to download the files or are not comfortable with these methods, feel free to reach out to us and we can send them to you through our secure FTP site.
Computer Aided Technology