How to Upgrade Your SOLIDWORKS PDM Server

upgrade PDM server guideIf it’s time to upgrade your SOLIDWORKS PDM servers, the task may seem a bit daunting. This guide will help you with everything you need to know and walk you through the process step-by-step to make sure you perform a successful PDM upgrade. Let’s get started.

Listed below is a checklist of the items you will need to do to upgrade your SOLIDWORKS PDM server. This checklist is also the topics that we will cover in this guide:


  1. Verify whether or not you have Toolbox in the vault
  2. Download and share installation files
  3. Back up information
  4. Upgrade the servers
  5. Upgrade the database
  6. Upgrade add-ins
  7. Upgrade the clients

Verifying if you have Toolbox in the PDM vault

This first step is an important one that shouldn’t be skipped. If you have Toolbox in the vault, you will need to have your “primary” client (the first SOLIDWORKS user you plan to upgrade) check out the Toolbox before you start your upgrade. Once their upgrade is complete, they can check in the Toolbox at the newly upgraded version. 

To verify, log in as Admin in the Administration tool. In SOLIDWORKS 2018 and newer, Toolbox will be under the SOLIDWORKS node. In older versions, it will be directly in the main list. Double click it to open. If Manage SOLIDWORKS Toolbox in the vault is checked and there is a Toolbox root folder path entered, you manage Toolbox in the vault. If it’s unchecked (as seen below) it is not and you don’t need to worry about the Toolbox in this upgrade.

upgrade PDM server toolbox

Download and share installation files

The servers and clients are all installed from the same installation files. Navigate to and log in with your account. 

upgrade PDM server download

If you do not have an account, select Create a SOLIDWORKS ID and register using your serial number. Once logged in, select Downloads and Updates.

upgrade pdm server downloads and updates


Select the year and service pack you wish to install, accept the agreement, and download the setup.

upgrade pdm server downloads

To download all the files ahead of installation, run the setup file and choose the option to Download and Share all files.

Tip: The download is the setup file only, so the setup file will have to be run to download the components for installation.

upgrade pdm server installation manger

Back up information

It is extremely important to back up and upgrade your database beforehand to make sure you can go back if something goes wrong. Some users choose to also back up the archive. This is only truly needed if you plan to run the File Version Upgrade Utility.

Tip: If your Toolbox is in the vault, you will want to check it out prior to following the instructions in this section.

First, you need to ensure no one is making changes after you back everything up. In the PDM Administration tool, right-click the vault and go to Properties. Select Block Logins to prevent users from logging in before you have finished the upgrade.

upgrade pdm server vault properties

Now you are ready to do the server backup.

Expand Databases, right-click on the vault database, and select Tasks > Back Up…

upgrade PDM server backup

Select a Full backup and save location. Select OK to complete the backup.

upgrade pdm server solidworks

Upgrade the servers

On the License Server, Database Server, and Archive server (repeat steps as necessary if they are separate machines): Run the Setup.exe from the root of the DVD or downloaded installation files.

Select Server Products.

upgrade pdm server products

Tip: The SNL, Archive, and Database servers can all be on separate machines or on the same machine. It may be necessary to run this install on more than one machine.

On the Summary page, select Change next to SOLIDWORKS PDM Server.

upgrade pdm server summary

Ensure the correct server components and version of SOLIDWORKS PDM are selected (Professional vs Standard). If you are installing the database server, you must fill in the location, username, and password to connect to the SQL instance.

upgrade SOLIDWORKS PDM Server

upgrade pdm server tutorial

WARNING: The name for the SQL server defaults to localhostSWPDM so it will likely need to be changed.

Tip: The Archive and Database can be on one machine or separate machines. Select the correct products for the machine you are installing.

Once you have chosen the correct settings, return to the Summary page, accept the license agreement, and Install.

The next thing you need to do is activate the licenses. Run the SolidNetwork License Manager Server and select Modify…

Choose the option to Activate/Reactivate your product license(s) and select Next >

Fill in firewall information if needed in the SolidNetWork License Server Information and select Next >.

Select All on your licenses and select Next > to activate.

upgrade pdm server activate

Upgrade the database

Run the Database Upgrade Tool from:

[Installer Directory]swpdmserverUpgradeUpgrade.exe

Enter your SQL server name including instance (if not the default instance) and click 

Next >. You will be prompted to enter your SQL server credentials again.

upgrade pdm server local

Select the vaults you want to upgrade and then continue through the prompts until it completes.

Right-click on the vault in the Administration Tool and go to Properties again to Permit logins.

Load the Archive Server Configuration tool and stop the service. This is to stop users that may have already been logged in from continuing to modify files.

upgrade pdm server archive

Upgrade add-ins

Upgrade the Dispatch and SOLIDWORKS Task Add-ins if present per the SOLIDWORKS PDM Administration Guide (found in the Administration tool under Help > Administration Guide..) section called Performing the SWTaskAddin Upgrade (For SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional Only) and Upgrading Tasks.

Upgrade clients

Now you’re ready to finish the upgrade by installing the clients. 

I hope you found this guide helpful! For more SOLIDWORKS tips and tricks subscribe to our newsletter

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About the Author

Lindsay EarlyLindsay Early is an Application Engineer Consultant and has been with Fisher Unitech for six years. Lindsay is a Certified SOLIDWORKS Expert and Elite Application Engineer having earned over 14 SOLIDWORKS Certifications including Mechanical Design, Simulation, and Data Management.


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