SOLIDWORKS Tech Tip - Missing Dialog Box

Its 8:56pm, you’re on the road in your hotel room trying to make some last minute updates to your design before your presentation at 8:00am at your biggest client’s site.  You’re adding a feature and a dialog box (or pop-up window) in SolidWorks is missing!  You know it exists, you’ve used it hundreds of times but it’s nowhere to be found on screen. Wipe the tears from your eyes it’s going to be ok.  Pick up the broken pieces of the remote control you threw across the room, you will to have to pay for that. In this Tech Tip I’m going to show you a few ways to remedy the SOLIDWORKS situation so you can finish your work and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

What’s causing this issue anyway?  SOLIDWORKS is a great customizable tool that wants so badly to please your every need that it can sometimes cause issues.  For certain tools SOLIDWORKS saves the last location of a dialog box (or pop up window) so you don’t have to keep moving it every time and it will be right where you left it last.  Unfortunately, if you left it on another screen back at your office (or it’s maybe hidden below the taskbar) Windows won’t let you get to it to bring it back to your workspace.

Here are a few tips to try and remedy the situation.

Move the taskbar

The dialog box may have been dragged underneath the taskbar.

  1. Right-click the taskbar
  2. Click “Lock the taskbar” to make sure there isn’t a check mark next to it
  3. Move it to a new location and see if the dialog box is there.
  4. You can’t believe that’s where it’s been hiding!  Drag the dialog box up and move your task bar back, so you can finish up your work.

Connect to an external monitor

You do have an extra HDMI cable in your bag or with your backup projector in case the customer’s doesn’t work don’t you? If you’re in a luxurious enough hotel that has a flat screen TV with an extra HDMI or VGA port:

  1. Connect your computer to the TV
  2. Make the TV your extended desktop.
  3. Voila!  Your missing dialog box is right there. Drag it back to your main screen
  4. Disconnect from the TV and finish up your work.
  5. Put Heroes Reborn back on because that show is awesome!

Registry edit

I have to put a disclaimer in here, this solution is not supported by SOLIDWORKS, but if you’re stuck, it’s late, your local VAR’s tech support is closed for the day, and you weren’t a Boy Scout, you may have no other option.  You will also need administrator privileges on your machine to do this.

  1. Save your SOLIDWORKS work and close SolidWorks.
  2. Click the “Start” icon
  3. Type in “regedit” in the Search Programs and Files window
  4. Click the “regedit” program to open your Registry Editor.
  5. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareSolidworksSolidworks  2015 (or your version)User Interface
  6. There you will see a folder called “Dialogs”.  You’re welcome to try and find the key for the dialog box you’re a missing, but as you will quickly learn, the naming convention used makes it a bit too difficult to know what’s what.
  7. Instead, right-click the “Dialogs” folder and choose “Rename”
  8. Rename it to “Dialogs_old”
  9. Close the Registry Editor.
  10. Open SOLIDWORKS and go back to work.  When you try and access the dialog box again SOLIDWORKS will open it in its original default location.
  11. Once you’re back from your trip after crushing your presentation and helping your company show off your sweet new design, go back to the Registry Editor
  12. Right-click the “Dialogs” folder
  13. Select “Delete”
  14. Right-click “Dialogs_old”
  15. Select rename
  16. Rename it to “Dialogs”.  Everything will be right back where you left it like you never left the office at all.

If you’re reading this it’s likely because you couldn’t go to sleep until you found a fix, so I hope it was helpful and you can go get your much needed and well deserved sleep!

Want more SOLIDWORKS tips? Let me know in the comments section below.

Brandon Nelms
Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, Inc

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