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How are file paths repaired after upgrading SOLIDWORKS?

This article examines updating file paths after upgrading SOLIDWORKS.

It’s always exciting to install a new version of SOLIDWORKS and start diving into the new features and exploring new functionality. Rarely, though, is an upgrade completely without surprises.

Many upgrade issues can be directly attributed to incorrect File Location paths. For instance, the path to the Design Library may be “C:\ProgramData\SolidWorks\SolidWorks 2022\Design Library”, but in reality, you’d like to start using the new 2024 Design Library located at “C:\ProgramData\SolidWorks\SolidWorks 2024\Design Library”. An example of a Design Library file path is shown in the following image.

File Locations 1

You may think SOLIDWORKS should update all of your paths automatically, and the fact that it does not may seem like a “bug”. However, many paths are left as is on purpose. Why? Because many of the supporting file types can be customized. These may include sheet formats, weldment profiles, templates, and so on.

The paths can easily be changed by clicking the Tools menu > Options, and selecting the File Locations category. Granted, changing one or two paths is not bad, but there are over 60 paths listed in File Locations. Thankfully, there is a much easier way to ensure most of the paths are updated to the proper version folders. The Edit All button will allow for adjusting most of the paths that need updating, so let's start there.

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After clicking Edit All, the Edit All File Locations window will appear. The most significant aspect of this window is the Find / Replace button near the bottom left corner of the window and visible in the following image. The Find / Replace button can cut down the time it takes to update file paths.

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It's important to be aware of the main file locations SOLIDWORKS likes to store files. Those paths are as follows:



"ProgramData" is a hidden folder in Windows. The "20##" value relates to the SOLIDWORKS version.

A complicating factor is the installation path for SOLIDWORKS. It's extremely common to have multiple installation folders if a complete uninstall was not performed first. Using Windows Explorer, check the Program Files folder to see if there are multiple occurrences of the SOLIDWORKS folder. If there is one or more SOLIDWORKS(#) folder (where the number in parenthesis is a "2" or higher), chances are the folder with the highest value is the most recent installation folder.

If there are multiple SOLIDWORKS(#) folders, it may be due to running multiple versions side by side. It can also be an indicator that multiple upgrades have been performed over the years without ever uninstalling SOLIDWORKS first. In either case, it may be in your best interest to uninstall all versions of SOLIDWORKS, delete any extraneous folders, then reinstall using the "release year" technique described in the following section.

Running Multiple Versions

If running multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS (2020, 2022, 2024, etc.), it's important to modify the installation folders to represent the installed version. There are typically only 2 paths that are of concern, which are the SOLIDWORKS installation folder and the Hole Wizard/Toolbox database folder. They are as follows:

C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp


During a standard installation of SOLIDWORKS, it is very easy to modify these paths at the Summary screen of the Installation Manager. The technical aspects of that process are outside the scope of this article, but the path modifications can be mentioned and are what is most significant. Simply add the release year of the version of SOLIDWORKS being installed.

C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp 2024


That very simple change not only ensures multiple installations are completely independent of each other, it makes the task of updating file locations much easier. Consider using this approach even if not running multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS side by side.

Fine and Replace

Use the Find and Replace command to search for the previous installation version and replace it with the new installation version. For example, if SOLIDWORKS 2023 was just upgraded to SOLIDWORKS 2024, enter "2023" in the Find box and "2024" in the Replace box. 

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If you're feeling cautious, use the Replace and Find Next buttons to manually step through the replacement process. Otherwise, click Replace All and be done with it. Click Close when finished. All of the paths which were modified will turn green. Click Save when finished.

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Oddball Paths and User-defined Paths

If using Find and Replace for the first time, there will likely be a couple of oddball paths stuck in the mix that will require a manual update. This will especially be true if multiple versions of SOLIDWORKS have been installed on the same computer. If running multiple versions side by side, and the release year technique described earlier in this article was not used, correlating installation folders with each version can be problematic.

One method of determining what version is under a certain path is to look at the SOLIDWORKS executables Properties. This can be done by using Windows Explorer to navigate to the installation folder, right clicking the file named "SLDWORKS.exe", and selecting Properties. Click the Details tab and the version of SOLIDWORKS will be shown.


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User-defined paths are usually left alone by SOLIDWORKS when upgrading, and should remain unchanged from version to version.  For example, if templates are stored on a server and shared amongst the engineering department, that path should still be present and accounted for in the File Locations settings.

Beyond that, if the release year technique was not used, there's no simple fix to update many of the file location paths. It will be necessary to manually delete the incorrect path and add the correct path. That can be done using the Add and Delete buttons in the File Locations section of the SOLIDWORKS System Options.

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Worst Case Scenario

If the SOLIDWORKS File Location paths are pointing all over the place, and it's been years since a complete uninstall has been done, and if the release year technique was never employed, it may be time to start fresh. There are plenty of instructions available online for uninstalling SOLIDWORKS with Advanced options to clear out old registry entries, files and folders. Once that has been done and any remaining folders have been removed, install SOLIDWORKS using the release year technique. You will be glad you did, and keeping file locations straight going forward will be much easier.