Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM - Part 1: High Performance Migration

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

Many companies have several projects stored in their Windows file system prior to an Enterprise Product Data Manager (EPDM) implementation. While it is ideal to leave older projects within the old filing system, it is sometimes important to integrate them into the new PDM system for future use. This is the first of a three part blog series entitled Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM.

It is recommended that you implement in a test vault prior to executing on your production vault. Some instructions are intended for migrating large amounts of data at once. If you are only moving a few documents into the vault, it is still applicable but some steps may not be necessary.



Prepare the Source Data
  1. If possible, update all the files to the latest version supported by your EPDM version. This especially applies to CAD files for which EPDM has plugins (SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Inventor). SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler can bulk upgrade SOLIDWORKS files. AutoCAD has a similar utility. Outdated versions of CAD files can have trouble successfully migrating into an Enterprise PDM vault. They can also be the source of performance issues in SOLIDWORKS as well as Enterprise PDM.
  2. Ensure against excessively long filepaths or invalid characters. Windows can handle up to 255 characters for a full file path, but it is recommended to keep it well below that.

Prepare the Vault

  1. Generally, it is not recommended to permit duplicate files for SOLIDWORKS extensions. Right click File Types in the Administration tool and choose Duplicate file name settings to toggle this setting. In a migration scenario, it may be necessary to temporarily allow them if there are too many duplicates to fix, but it is best to eliminate duplicates if at all possible.

TIP: Once a duplicate has been checked into the vault, it can always be checked in/out regardless of the status of this setting.

Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM


  1. Uncheck the option to look in the entire vault for drawings. This will cause extreme delays when migrating large amounts of files at once. Right-click your username in the Administration tool and go to Settings > Check In and uncheck Look for drawings in the entire vault. This must be reversed after migration.
  2. Create a Migration folder within the vault at the root. This will be the staging area for all of the files. In this folder you will want to save duplicate File Datacards with NO default values for any of the controls that may overwrite previously entered data. This is especially true for variables like Revision, Drawn By, and Drawn Date. This will prevent erroneous data from getting written to the legacy data.
  3. The Migration folder should have its own single-state workflow. To do this, in the Conditions choose Filepath and put %Migration% for the Argument. This can later be adapted to include revision as described in Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM Part 3: Legacy Revision Workflow (coming soon!), or just include links to your production workflows.
  4. Initially, start with the following check in settings under Warnings in the Group Properties (It is recommended to keep these settings on even after Migration). This will prevent check-in of assemblies/parts/drawings with erroneous references. You may need to toggle them off if the issues cannot be resolved. If you toggle them off, it is strongly recommended to export a copy of the errors before going forward with check in.


Migration from Windows to Enterprise PDM


Prepare the Host


  1. Choose a machine for the migration. Consider using the archive server for the initial load (especially for large file sets) and check in so the files do not need to be transferred over the network when checking in. Additionally, the computer you choose must have a sizeable hard drive to accommodate your data.
  2. Optionally install fully licensed copies of authoring software for the file types to be loaded in the vault. This includes SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, Office, etc.
  3. Turn off anything that could disrupt the load of data: screensaver, overnight updates, etc.
Performing the Migration


  1. Yellow to Yellow Copy: For large amounts of data, copy the entire directory into a local Windows (Yellow) folder. It is not recommended to copy directly from a network drive into the vault because network latency can cause it to fail when it is only partially completed.
  2. Rename or remove the mapping for the original location the files were in. This will force the SOLIDWORKS files to look in the new location for references during check in.
  3. Yellow to Green Copy: Copy the directory from Step 1 into the Migration folder (Green). While it is copying, Enterprise PDM is performing an Add operation where it copies the files to the Archive and creates the entries in the SQL Database. This can take an hour or more, depending on the quantity of data. For especially large source folders it is acceptable to move them in smaller subsets, but the relative file structure must be maintained to preserve references. Do not continue to Step 4 until all files have been copied in.
  4. Check in all non-SOLIDWORKS files first. Then check in parts, assemblies, and finally drawings. You can use a search to filter the file types by searching *.<file extension>. It may take several minutes for the check in dialog to show depending on the quantity of files.

TIP: You can save a copy of the check in errors for future reference within the check in dialog.

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

For more training and tutorials on the many 3D CAD Modeling solutions in the SolidWorks family of products and add-ons, register for an upcoming Event or look into our SOLIDWORKS training.

  • Share this
Find Your Design Solution in the CATI Store.
Browse Products