Top Helpdesk Frequently Asked Question

Cannot Add External References

That error message occurs when you have renamed the external file the current file is refer to. This will tend to the file lost to its original reference. It may create conflict for in-context relation on your part that has external reference from the assembly.

There are two (2) workarounds can be taken as below:

1.            Remove all external references in the part, you will then be able to add the new in- context relation in the new assembly name.



2.            Options -> External references -> Check “Allow multiple contexts for parts when editing in assembly”

This will allow the part to have in context refences to more than 1 assembly name.

"Symbol library file (CTOL.SYM) is missing" error message / MOD-DIAM is displayed instead of a diameter symbol in SOLIDWORKS

The error shows up due to SOLIDWORKS prompted to incorrect Symbol Library File Location.

This can be solved by go to System Options, under File Location, select Symbol Library File, prompt to C:\ProgramData\SolidWorks\SOLIDWORKS 201X(Current Version)\lang\english.

"The Hole Wizards and Advance Hole database is not the expected version" error message

One possibility that tends to this occurs is the SOLIDWORKS has prompt to incorrect folder.

To solve, go to System Options, under Hole Wizard/Toolbox, find SolidWorks Data 201X(Current Version) in C folder.

Could not open and edit non-SOLIDWORKS part file in assembly

One possibility is the SOLIDWORKS is enabling the 3D Interconnect function. 3D Interconnect replaces SOLIDWORKS current translation capabilities with new technology and workflows for working with third-party native CAD data started from SOLIDWORKS 2017 version.

When 3D interconnect is enabling, you can:

  1. Insert proprietary CAD data directly into a SOLIDWORKS assembly without converting it to a SOLIDWORKS file.
  2. Open the proprietary 3D CAD format in the SOLIDWORKS software with its associative link to the original part.
  3. Update changes in the SOLIDWORKS file if you update the proprietary CAD data in its authoring application by maintaining all downstream features created in SOLIDWORKS.
  4. Break the link of the inserted part file with the original part file.

Therefore, to make the part file can be opened and edited, we just simply disable the 3D Interconnect function. Go to System Options >>Under Import >> Uncheck Enable 3D Interconnect box >> Click OK

SOLIDWORKS Resource Running Low

Some SOLIDWORKS users tend to encounter this issue. Factor such as limited RAM space and many running programs at one time can be considered as the major caused.

For resolution, you may refer to 2 options below.

  1. Virtual Memory Setting
  2. Registry modification

The cause of the Resource Monitor warning message is due to the GDI Objects limit of your Window OS. GDI object limit for a single process to be 10,000 by default. However, it has the maximum allowed up to 16384. By increasing the limit, each application will be in a comfort zone.

We will always suggest user to upgrade the custom size in the Virtual Memory first instead of modifying the registry settings. If this resolved, no modification of the registry settings is required.

In the event, that this doesn’t resolve, then you will need to modify the registry settings.

There is no guarantee that problems resulting from modifications to the registry can be solved at one time. There is risk in modifying the window registry which eventually cause Window operating system error. Reinstall of your operating system is required in this case.

Method 1: The Virtual Memory Settings

1. Go to Control Panel> System > Advanced System Settings


2. Advanced (Tab) > Settings

3. Advanced > Change

4. Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives”. Choose the Driver which you would prefer to utilise the virtual memory.

5. Under Custom size, enter the value double the size of the amount of physical RAM installed in your PC. (If you have 16GB, type in 32000MB)

6. Enter the Initial size value of 2 times the amount of physical RAM installed in your system (eg. If you have 16GB, type in 32000MB.)

7. Click on ‘Set’.

8. Restart your workstation.



You may monitor this through the Task Manager. This solution will involve editing the Windows Registry.

1. Open Task Manager (right click on start bar > Task Manager OR through CTRL+ALT+DEL)

2. Click on ‘Details’ Tab

3. Right-click on one of the columns and click ‘Select Columns’

4. Tick the GDI objects


Method 2: The Registry Settings

1. Open Regedit (via Run > type ‘regedit’)

2. Locate to the key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE> SOFTWARE> Microsoft> Windows NT> CurrentVersion> Windows> GDIProcessHandleQuota

3. Right click on the ‘GDIProcessHandleQuota’ and click ‘Modify’.

4. Change the registry key to the maximum process limit 16,384; set the BASE to DECIMAL.

**Take note that altering Window registry can cause Window OS malfunction.

Alternatively, if you just wish to dismiss the message, you always have the option to do so from the Window Toolbar Notification area.

License Activation Guide

When the Activation/Reactivation is required?

All SOLIDWORKS license need to be activated on the workstation and activation shall be linked to the computer ID which is attached to the windows OS, Hardware specs during the activation.

Important!! Consider to transfer/deactivate the license and then after reformatting or changing the license reactivate the license before reformatting the windows OS or changing hard disk,graphics card or adding RAM.


Refer the following for the steps of activation:

  1. Activate the license after installing SOLIDWORKS on your machine in order to use. To do so, Launch SOLIDWORKS icon.
  2. A pop-up box with message “No SOLIDWORKS license activated, please activate the license “, select “Yes “.

3. Select “I want to activate my SOLIDWORKS product now “, and click “Next “

4. Choose  “Automatically over the internet (recommended)”. – (Internet Connection required) and key in your email address, and click “Next “

5. It will connect to SOLIDWORKS server to activate the license.

6. Activation Succeeded. And the product(s) activated will be dispalyed under the dialogue box.

7. Click “Finish” and SOLIDWORKS will be launched automatically.

Steps for Manual Activation:

Sometimes your company has blocked the access to the internet. Do not worry because SOLIDWORKS license can be transferred/Deactivated manually via email.

  1. Open the SOLIDWORKS – Help Menu – Activate license
  2. Select Manually via email and click Next.
  3. Click Next and follow the instructions in the next page. Finish.
License Transfer / Deactivation Guide

SOLIDWORKS Standalone licenses (serial numbers beginning with 9000…) are linked to a computer and hardware ID.  This is why you need to transfer the license off the current computer to allow for activation on the other computer.  Below scenarios need license deactivation:

  • Switching between a desktop and laptop
  • Purchasing a new computer
  • Making a hardware change (new hard drive)
  • Computer format

Following are the steps to deactivate the license. (SOLIDWORKS 2020 and newer will be under Help > Licenses > Deactivate)

SOLIDWORKS 2016 thru 2019 will be under Help > Deactivate Licenses

SOLIDWORKS 2015 and prior will be under Help > Transfer Licenses

Select which product(s) you’d like to transfer from the list and choose “Automatically over the Internet” if you have an internet connection.  Click Next.

SOLIDWORKS Deactivate License

The Automatic method will finish the deactivation after a few moments and provide a message that it has been successful.

SOLIDWORKS Installation Guide

SOLIDWORKS Installation Pre-Checks:

Before the installation, please make sure:

  1. You log in as the Local Administrator on the computer in order have full permissions on the entire machine.
  2. Disable your Anti-virus or Antispyware before the installation. It can be Turned ON once the installation is finished
  3. It is advisable to disable your user account controls as it will cause conflicts during the installation.

Followings are the Installation Steps:

  1. Insert the SOLIDWORKS 2019 DVD.
  2. Right Click on “setup” file, select “Run as Administrator”.
  3. You will see SOLIDWORKS 2019 Installation manager, then do select “Individual (on this computer)” and click Next.
  4. In the SOLIDWORKS 2019 Installation manager “Key in your Serial Number” and click Next
  5. IMPORTANT!!If you have earlier version of SOLIDWORKS installed, please select:
    NEW Installation instead of upgrade from current version
  6. On the summary page, click “CHANGE” under “Installation Location”
  7. Under Installation Location, add location C:\Program Files\SOLIDWORKS Corp 2019or click “Browse” and add “2019” to the end of the installation folder. (C:\Program files\SOLIDWORKS Cor 2019). Click “OK” and “Back to Summary”.
  8. Under “Toolbox/Hole Wizard Options”, Add location C:\SOLIDWORKS Data 2019click “Browse” for “Create a new 2019 Toolbox”. Type “2019” at the end of the current folder location (C:\SOLIDWORKS Data 2019), click “OK” and “Back to Summary
  9. On the Summary page, tick “I accept the terms of the SOLIDWORKS” and click “Install Now”.
  10. Upon the completion of the installation, click “Finish
Xpress Products Activation Guide

Xpress Products can be activated via SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal account created.  Please register if you do not have a SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal account.

You will need to have your Serial Number. Your SOLIDWORKS serial number can be found by going to Help > About SOLIDWORKS.

Launch the Xpress tool, in this example we will try to launch SOLIDWORKS SimulationXpress.

Click on the link: My.solidworks.com/xpress

Either log in to your MySolidWorks accounts or create one.

Enter the Activation code into the SimulationXpress Product Code in SOLIDWORKS and you will be able to use it.

Activation Count Exceeded

 ‘Activation Transaction Failed: Activation Count Exceeded’ error message popped up when your SOLIDWORKS license is already activated somewhere else and could have been caused by the followings:

  • SOLIDWORKS is still activated on another PC
  • Hardware Change or Operating System Change on your PC
  • You have a completely new PC
  • The transfer / deactivation process not done properly How to fix it

If you suspect your license is activated somewhere else;

Please log onto the machine and simply deactivate the license by going to Help > Deactivate License.

If you are not sure where is your license currently activated, you may go and check any machine use by going to Help > About SOLIDWORKS. This will show you the serial number in use on that machine.

If you’ve changed hardware or Operating System on your PC:

You need to deactivate license if you are changing hardware or Operating System on your PC. If not SOLIDWORKS may no longer recognise your computer and you’ll need to contact your SOLIDWORKS Reseller for help.

If you think that the deactivation process not done properly:

Try again and transfer the license out, it may be caused of a connection issue. Make sure you do this from the latest version of SOLIDWORKS which is installed, for example 2019 rather than 2018.