SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing with a shared computer

In 2018, SOLIDWORKS introduced a new way to license products called Online Licensing. SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing allows you to easily switch between multiple computers by connecting to a cloud-based management service. This allows you the flexibility to use SOLIDWORKS from any location (if you are connected to the internet) without having to remember to deactivate your license from another device. And for cases where you know you will be without internet, you can switch to offline mode for up to 30 days, similar to how SolidNetwork License allows you to borrow licenses for offsite use. But what if you need to “share” a computer? This might be a computer in the shop that you need to open a drawing on, or quickly make a change without going back to your desk. Whatever the reason, there are a couple ways this can be done. The great thing about online licensing is that the license is tied to the user, not the machine. This means that whether you have a shared windows login or individual user windows logins, you can still take advantage of the online license benefits. If this is the first time you’ve heard about online licensing and want to convert your standalone license to an Online license, head over here to learn all the necessary steps.

Follow along as I show a couple different scenarios for using a shared computer.

Before we begin, it should also be noted that Online Licensing is NOT a replacement for SNL (SolidNetwork Licensing). A network license is much easier to manage and deploy for large groups of people and products. Online Licensing works best for an Individual that needs the flexibility to move between multiple machines without needing to remember to transfer the license first.

When setting up a machine, install SOLIDWORKS with all the products that any user might need to use. Simulation, Electrical, Visualize, etc should all be installed. Use a License Number(s) that have all these products. This license should also already be set up for online licensing. If not, follow the link shown above in the first paragraph to setup Online Licensing. SOLIDWORKS PDM and SolidNetwork License are the only products that do not support the use of Online Licensing because PDM uses SNL to acquire a license from a server on your network. If you need help with installing SOLIDWORKS, follow our guide found here:

Shared Windows Login

In this scenario, one workstation is shared by multiple users, but it’s not used 100% of the time. The machine has a generic windows user login that all the users know to access. Each user also has their own SOLIDWORKS license that they need to use on one or more of their own personal machines, be it a desktop, or laptop, this scenario will work for all cases.

When users start SOLIDWORKS on this machine, they should be prompted to login as seen below.

, SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing with a shared computer

If the previous user did not log out when they left the machine, went back to their desk, logged in, and started working again, the next user to use this machine might get a message like this:

, SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing with a shared computer

Or, if SOLIDWORKS just starts without prompting to login, then that means the previous user is still logged in. You SHOULD log them out. More on this later…

In the above example, my co-worker is trying to use a machine that I had previously used, I am still logged in. If the co-worker clicks “yes” here, soon I will see this message:

, SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing with a shared computer

Now I will need to stop what I’m doing, save my work, and allow my SOLIDWORKS session to close.

NOTE: you might also see the above message if you lose internet connection.

To prevent this from happening to you, remember to log out of the session before you leave the workstation.

, SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing with a shared computer

Individual Windows User Login

The best way to use this shared machine would be to login to windows using your own credentials.

, SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing with a shared computer

SOLIDWORKS can be used by multiple users on the same machine. In fact, multiple users can be logged in and using SOLIDWORKS on the same machine using different licenses for each user. This is something that cannot be done with machine activation because the license is tied to the machine ID. Only one serial number can be used at a time. Online Licensing follows the user with their SOLIDWORKS ID, so each user of the machine could use a different license. This is why you should install all the products your company might use on this shared machine.

However, you still need to remember to log out of windows when you leave the machine so that the next person to use the machine doesn’t use your license. So, for both scenarios, remember to log out. Otherwise, you might need to restart your session!

So, until SOLIDWORKS puts a “switch user” feature into Online Licensing, remember to log out when you leave the machine.

Alex Worsfold
Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, LLC

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