How do I download a full file set for installing SOLIDWORKS and related products?

Having access to a full set of files for installing SOLIDWORKS and related products can be extremely advantageous. This article explains how to obtain those files.

SOLIDWORKS can be downloaded from any computer and the files can be used to install different product bundles or licenses anywhere. There is a particular technique to this. This article will discuss what you should do, as well as what you shouldn’t.

How Can I Start A Download?

There are a couple different ways to get the latest version of the SOLIDWORKS software. For instance, you can…

Check for Updates

Use the SOLIDWORKS Help menu and click Check for Updates...


Using the Check for Updates… command is easy enough, as long as you don’t try to update SOLIDWORKS while it’s running. That won’t happen if you use the Download and Share… option, which we will talk about shortly.

The Background Downloader

The Background Downloader runs by default after installing SOLIDWORKS. Automatically, it will periodically check for updates and will download updates with little or no input from you. Hovering over the Background Downloader icon, which is located in the Windows system tray, will show the download status.


If you let it download an update, the files which are downloaded are a partial file set. They are just enough to get your software up to a particular service pack. This is fine if you have a slow internet connection (because fewer files are downloaded), or only have one license of SOLIDWORKS to install on one computer. If, on the other hand, your company has multiple licenses, or it is necessary to install on multiple computers, you are better off with the full file set. If you fall into this latter category, don’t use the Background Downloader.

A full download allows for installing any bundle of the software (SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional, or Premium), regardless of license type, complete with add-on products (such as Simulation, Inspection, and so on) anywhere, on any computer, as often as necessary. It is one stop shopping at it's finest!

Right clicking the Background Downloader icon brings up the following menu. "Check for Updates" will immediately check for new service packs or versions of SOLIDWORKS. "Automatically Check for Updates" checks for updates every 2 days. "Automatically Download Updates" does exactly that, but in the background while you're working. Do you really want that?


Selecting "Change Download Settings" will open the following window. Feel free to change the frequency that SOLIDWORKS checks for updates automatically, or the path where the downloaded files are saved.


Disabling the Background Downloader is not a bad option, especially if you prefer to download SOLIDWORKS on your own terms, which we will discuss in the next section. Additionally, if your company has multiple users, or has an IT department and you will not be personally installing or updating SOLIDWORKS anyway, disable the background downloader. You have no reason to use it.

If "Disable Background Downloader" is selected, the menu will disappear and so will the Background Downloader icon, with seemingly no way to get it back. There is an easy way to reinstate the Background Downloader, though. Simply head over to the Windows Start menu and scroll through the list of applications. Look for the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager folder and expand it. Here you will find yet another way to check for updates, as well as getting the Background Downloader turned back on.


Download the Installation Manager

This method is the least problematic. You will need a 3DExperience ID account. If you do not have one, browse to and click Join near the top right corner of that web page. Follow the prompts to create your account.


Once your account has been created, head back to the same web page and click Log In. After logging in, make your way to the Downloads section by clicking Support > Desktop Solutions > Downloads.DownloadSW07

You must have an active SOLIDWORKS subscription with your reseller in order to download SOLIDWORKS software.

After clicking the Downloads link, the next page will be the Downloads page. There may be another prompt for a login, or the web page may say "Login for full access". This is not uncommon. Enter your 3DExperience ID credentials again and access should be granted.

Dassault Systèmes, the SOLIDWORKS Corp parent company, went through a massive database transition in 2023. If experiencing download access issues, contact your reseller. They can determine if your contact information properly transferred to the new database, or if it needs to be manually added, which they can do.

If the Downloads page is still inaccessible, it may be because you have not been granted the appropriate role in the DSx.Client Care System, your contact information is missing, or your company has an expired subscription contract. Your SOLIDWORKS reseller can help with all of these issues.

If you do see the Downloads page, it will look similar to the following image. There are usually 4 versions available in the "Select Version:" drop down list. Select the desired version, then click the "SOLIDWORKS Products" link to the left of the desired version and service pack.


The "SOLIDWORKS Activation Wizard" link downloads just the Activation Wizard by itself. This can be used to transfer a license off a computer if SOLIDWORKS was uninstalled prior to deactivating the license.

The "SOLIDWORKS Media" links will download file sets which can be burned to dual layer DVD discs. These files are not needed unless that is your intention. 

The next page (not shown here) will be the End User License Agreement, otherwise known as the EULA. Scroll to the end and click to accept the EULA. This will take you to yet another Download page where a file can actually be downloaded! Click the Download link to download the Installation Manager.


A file named “SolidWorksSetup.exe” will be downloaded. This is the compressed, self-extracting, self-executing version of the SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager.

Unblocking Files

Windows has a security feature that blocks downloaded files. After downloading, right click the SolidWorksSetup.exe file and select Properties. If there is an Unblock checkbox at the bottom of the Properties window, check it, click Apply, then click OK to close. Now you are ready to run the Installation Manager.


The SOLIDWORKS Installation Manager

Here's the thing about the Installation Manager (or "IM" for short); regardless which version the Installation Manager is downloaded for, it always has the same name. To put this another way, the SolidWorksSetup.exe file might be for SOLIDWORKS 2018 SP2.0, or it could be for 2024 SP1.0. For this reason, it is recommended the file be placed in a folder with the same name as the version it belongs to, at least temporarily. The IM can get deleted later. The reason why will become clear shortly.

The example in the next image shows the IM moved to a folder named SW2024SP1.0. Double clicking SolidWorksSetup.exe will bring up the WinZip Self-Extractor window. (If a User Access Control window appears, click Yes to allow the app to make changes to your computer.)


Nothing special needs to be done with the WinZip window. Leave everything as is and click the Unzip button. Assuming you've created a folder for the SolidWorksSetup.exe file, it is not necessary to browse for an alternative location. Here again, you'll see why shortly.

Another WinZip window will appear stating some files were unzipped successfully. Click OK to close that window.

To Reboot, or Not to Reboot?

That is the question, and it has an easy answer. Don't.

The reboot message will appear every time. It's an intended glitch, and one that occurs nearly 100% of the time. You could reboot a dozen times and the message will still appear. Click OK to continue the installation.


It's Nice To Share

This is it! You've arrived at your final destination. There will be a few options for installing software or server components (such as a PDM vault or SolidNetWork License Manager), and an option to create an administrative image. The options may be slightly different, depending on whether some version of SOLIDWORKS is already installed on your system.

We are concerned with the option titled "Download and share all files...", shown as selected in the following image.

download and share 2023

After selecting "Download and share all files", click Next. The Serial Number screen will appear. Only enter serial numbers for license(s) you own. If the serial numbers are not known, contact your CAD administrator or SOLIDWORKS reseller. After plugging in the serial number(s), click Next again.

A serial number can be pasted (Ctrl-V) into the first box and all 6 boxes will automatically populate.

The Summary Window

The last window of any consequence is the Summary window, shown here. Clicking the Change link will give options for turning the Background Downloader on or off, as well as specifying a location to download the files. Feel free to change the download path, if you like.


You will need to accept the terms of the SOLIDWORKS licensing agreement, then click the Download Now button (not shown). Now you've got a good excuse to take a coffee break, so go enjoy a cup.

When the download is finished, you should get a confirmation the download completed successfully. Assuming the download location was something other than the folder which was created for the SolidWorksSetup.exe file (along with the unzipped Installation Manager), feel free to delete the folder containing SolidWorksSetup.exe and the IM. They are no longer needed.

Congratulations, you did it!

Prior to installing SOLIDWORKS, make it a point to ensure the installation files are where you want them to reside for as long as the software will be used. Under no circumstances should the installation files be moved or deleted if that version of SOLIDWORKS is still installed and in use!

Click here to learn about common problems when trying to download SOLIDWORKS.