The Truth About SOLIDWORKS Auto-Recover

The saying, “Save early, save often” will most likely always be important for SOLIDWORKS users, but it is not uncommon that we forget to save and might lose work in unfortunate events. Luckily, SOLIDWORKS Auto-recover is here to help. You might have heard of the Auto-recover function that is built in, but does anyone actually know how to use it? The general answer seems to be, “No.” Auto-recover can be a very valuable tool and really save you a headache as long as it is set up and used correctly.

For Auto-recover to work properly, it first needs to be set up. To do this, simply go to Options>System Options>Backup/Recover and make sure that “Auto-recover” is turned on. The save time is defaulted to be every minute, but this can be changed based on your liking. When setting this time, please keep in mind that SOLIDWORKS only generates one Auto-recover file for each part/assembly/drawing. Therefore, setting the save time to every 1 minute versus every 30 will use the same amount of space. It will be more helpful if you set the save time to 1 minute. It will also be beneficial to set up your Auto-recover location to a folder that you can easily access.

Now, for Auto-recover to start creating recovery files, you must first save your work at least once! It is a common misconception that Auto-recover will have a back up of your part if you forget to save it and SOLIDWORKS closes. In that specific example, the part will be deleted and you will lose all your work. However, if you have saved the part at least one time, you can continue to create features per usual and after 1 minute (or after the amount of time that you set the save time as), a file called “Auto-recover of <part name.sldprt>.swar” will appear in the specified folder. This file will update every one minute or after the set time has passed.

If you find that SOLIDWORKS has crashed suddenly and there are features that were added to the part before it was last saved, a prompt will open with the Auto-recover file and ask if you would like to open it. Once this part has been opened, it will not be named correctly. As an easy fix, click “save as” and remove the “Auto-recover of” extension from the name. Make sure to save the file to the correct location.

If SOLIDWORKS did not crash and instead was killed by the user, closed by the user, or your computer restarted and closed the program, that Auto-recover file prompt will not open when you run SOLIDWORKS. In this case, it is important to remember NOT to close the program! If you do this, the Auto-recover folder will be wiped. Instead, keep SOLIDWORKS open and go to the location where these files are kept in File Explorer. Change the name of the “Auto-recover of” file. Delete the “.swar” at the end of the file name, and open the part. From here you can rename the part if you wish and continue working. Keep in mind that Auto-recover might not have saved some of the latest changes you made. Those will have to be redone and is an example as to why it is best to set Auto-recover to 1-minute increments.

Taryn Llorente
Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, LLC

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