SOLIDWORKS Download Pitfalls

This article helps troubleshoot the most common issues encountered when trying to download SOLIDWORKS.

Subscription Contract

It's no secret SOLIDWORKS is a high-end software program. It can be very technical and often requires help from experts. For this reason, there is an annual subscription contract that includes technical support and software updates. I will bypass the sales pitch extolling the virtues of being on an active subscription or "maintenance" contract (as it is sometimes referred to) for the sake of brevity. Let's just say it is highly recommended. A subscription contract is also required in order to download software.

A quick hypothetical situation. See if you can guess the answer. Your company is running SOLIDWORKS 2022. Your company's subscription contract expired on November 30th, 2022. A new hire needs to run SOLIDWORKS 2022 on a new computer, but nobody ever downloaded a full set of installation files for that version. The company is entitled to 2022 per their expired contract. Can they download the software from the SOLIDWORKS website?

If you guessed "no", you are correct. If the subscription contract has expired, downloads are not allowed. Period. The only options are to renew the subscription contract or find somebody who has previously downloaded the version you need who will share it with you.

How To Find Out If A License Is On Subscription?

Open SOLIDWORKS and click on the Help menu. Earlier versions of SOLIDWORKS actually had a pull-down menu named Help. Starting with version 2020, the Help menu is accessible by clicking the question mark. In the Help menu, select Licenses > Show..., and look at the date in the Maintenance Expires column. That is your subscription end date.


This is where the download links are. Navigate to and click the Log In link. You will be asked to log in and... what? You don't have a login user name and password yet? In that case, better hold on a moment. Let's get you set up with a SOLIDWORKS ID.



Rather than clicking Log In, click Join. You will need to supply your email and SOLIDWORKS serial number. Click Next and go with the flow. The rest should be self-explanatory, so I will not bother with those incidentals here. If you do not know your SOLIDWORKS serial number, please read on.

Finding Your SOLIDWORKS Serial Number

Remember that Help menu we talked about earlier? Access it again, and click About SOLIDWORKS..., found at the very bottom of the menu. Note the link which can be clicked to show the serial number.


By the way, it is possible to copy the serial number by selecting it and pressing Ctrl-C. Paste it in when creating your SOLIDWORKS ID (Ctrl-V). This will greatly eliminate the possibility of human error. Plus, it saves you some typing. That's a good thing, right? You will need to get rid of the spaces, though. Delete those out or you will get a warning about using an invalid serial number.

The Download Page

Now that you have an account and are able to log in, head back to, log in, and click Support on the menu bar. From there, click Desktop Solutions > Downloads.


The next web page which appears should be the Download page. It's very common to have this page ask for another login, so don't be surprised. Click "Login" next to the "i" speech bubble and log in using the same 3DExperience ID credentials used before.

By the way, if you've wandered here just looking for the download link, here you go:

Missing Contacts & Roles

In 2023, Dassault Systèmes switched all of the SOLIDWORKS resellers over to a new database called the DSx.Client Care system. Downloads are easier for SOLIDWORKS users now, but there are some things that need to get handled on the back end. If you're still being denied access to the Downloads page, it's very likely due to not having the appropriate roles. It might even be that your contact information is completely missing from the database.


Your best course of action would be to contact your reseller. They can make sure you have been added as a contact in the DSx.Client Care database and assign you the proper role for accessing downloads. Your CAD administrator may already have the ability to do this for you. One way to find out is to have them head over to the DSx.Client Care system at and try logging in. Anyone with the Security Admin role can add new contacts and change the roles those contacts possess. Again, your SOLIDWORKS reseller can also do this, so contact them if needed.

Downloading The Installation Manager

Let's assume you now have a 3DExperience ID with the proper role assigned to you in the DSx.Client Care system. There should be nothing stopping you from downloading SOLIDWORKS, assuming, of course, you have a decent internet connect. Select the desired version from the small drop-down menu and click the "SOLIDWORKS Products" link to the left of the desired service pack (typically, the most recent one).


It will be necessary to accept the download agreement. One final page will appears where it is necessary to click "Download". A file named "SolidworksSetup.exe" will be downloaded to your computer. It should reside in your Downloads folder and will be 30 to 40 megabytes in size, depending on the version.

The file which was just downloaded is nothing more than the Installation Manager. Even though it has a very generic name, it is keyed to whatever version was specified prior to clicking "SOLIDWORKS Products". If SOLIDWORKS 2024 Service Pack 1 had been selected, the file would still be named "SolidworksSetup.exe", but it can only be used to download SOLIDWORKS 2024 Service Pack 1. For this reason, it's best to delete the "SolidworksSetup.exe" file from your Downloads folder when you are finished with it.

After double-clicking "SolidworksSetup.exe" to run it, the next thing you will see is a WinZip self-extractor window. Click Unzip to extract the Installation Manager files and run the Installation Manager. The WinZip window will close on its own.

Download And Share All Files

After the Installation Manager is done opening, the following screen will appear. Regardless of what is selected, such as "Install on this computer" or "Create an administrative image", files will be downloaded. It may not be a full download, though. It will only pertain to your selection, and it is dependent on what currently exists on your computer, such as a prior installation.

download and share 2023

It is very convenient to have a full file set that can be archived and used at some future point in time. It can be used to install SOLIDWORKS Standard, Pro, or Premium, repair existing installations, install network products, the license manager, PDM vaults, create administrative images, install Simulation, Inspection, and so on. It can be shared among coworkers and used to install SOLIDWORKS or related products on as many computers as needed. Standalone licenses or network licenses make no difference. It's all there.

Where did my download go?

When SOLIDWORKS is downloaded, and assuming the default location was not changed, the files will be saved to "C:\Documents\SOLIDWORKS Downloads\SOLIDWORKS 20xx SPx.x". The "20xx SPx.x" text will display the actual release and service pack which was downloaded. The size of the folder and its contents will be around 16 Gb or more.

The entire "SOLIDWORKS 20xx SPx.x" folder can safely be moved to a more preferable location, should you choose to do that. Just make sure to move it before installing software, and not after. Once SOLIDWORKS is installed, moving or deleting the installation files can cause problems later on if a repair is needed or you wish to change the installation options.

Click here to learn how to get a complete file set for installing SOLIDWORKS and related products.