Top SOLIDWORKS Helpdesk Frequently Asked Question

Why I 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.

Why there’s error message "Symbol library file (GTOL.SYM) is missing"? / Why <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.

How can I resolve "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.

Why I 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

What causes my 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.

How Can I Activate my License?

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.
When do I need License transfer? How can I deactivate my license?

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.

How to install SOLIDWORKS?

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
How to activate my Xpress Products?

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.

Why I’m receiving error message “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.

What are Hardware Requirements for SOLIDWORKS 2020?

Wondering what are the recommended SOLIDWORKS 2020 hardware / computer specification? Here’s the summary:

Processor: 3.3GHz or higher
Operating System: Windows 10 , 64-bit
Memory: 16GB minimum
Hard Drive: Solid State Drive (SSD), recommended for optimal performance, maintaining at least 20GB free space
Graphics Card: Standard assemblies: NVIDIA Quadro P1000
or AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100
Large assemblies with simple parts: NVIDIA Quadro P2000
or AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100
Large assemblies with complex parts: NVIDIA Quadro P4000/5000
or AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200/9100
SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2020: NVIDIA Quadro P4000/5000
or AMD Radeon Pro WX 8200/9100
Internet Connection: High speed broadband internet connection



Windows Home editions are not supported.
Windows 8.1 ended support with SOLIDWORKS 2018 SP5.
Windows 7 will end support with SOLIDWORKS SP5.
eDrawings and eDrawings Professional 2020 are supported on all operating systems listed above including macOS 10.13 or higher.

General FAQ on SOLIDWORKS 2020 Hardware Requirements

  1. Does SOLIDWORKS support Windows Home Editions?
    All versions of SOLIDWORKS will not be supported on the Home edition of Windows.
  2. What is the recommended Hard Drive for SOLIDWORKS 2020?
    Solid-State Drive (SSD) can give best performance as the performance is 10x faster for open/save tasks compared to Hard Disk Drive (HDD).  The speed to open files from a local SSD drive compared to a standard disk drive on a network server can be up to 100x faster.
  3. How much RAM needed for SOLIDWORKS 2020?
    The RAM makes sure the applications are running smoothly and eliminates a potential performance bottleneck. A system must have at least enough RAM to match the size and complexity of the opened SOLIDWORKS parts, assemblies and drawings and the types of operations used on those models. The minimum requirement of RAM needed is at least 16GB.  But depends on your usage. Larger models and simulation studies may require more. To avoid issue handling growing models, consider installing 32GB.
    16GB Entry Level Parts, larger assemblies, drawings
    24-32GB High End Very complex parts, very large assemblies, simulation
    64GB Extreme All of the above with the addition of very complex simulations
  4. What type of Graphics Card is recommended for SOLIDWORKS 2020?
    The NVIDIA Quadro, AMD FirePro or AMD Radeon Pro series are certified and supported graphics cards for SOLIDWORKS.  A graphics card with hardware OpenGL acceleration will provide superior performance and stability, especially in refreshing, rotating, zooming, panning 3D models.
    Graphics Cards Latest Series
    NVIDIA NVIDIA Quadro P, GP, GV and RTX
    AMD AMD Radeon Pro WX

    For SOLIDWORKS Visualize, NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards are the only supported graphic cards. ONLY SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2020 supports AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards.


    • Graphic cards meant for gaming like NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon cards (not Radeon Pro, are not certified by SOLIDWORKS as they do not offer maximum stability and performance to SOLIDWORKS.
    • The use of physical graphics card is not recommended for SOLIDWORKS. SOLIDWORKS does not take advantage of the second card.
  5. What is the best medium to work my files? Locally or on a network drive?
    It is advisable to work your files locally to get best performance and stability.  Files opening and saving through a network connection will contribute to the chance of file corruption.  This may be avoided or reduced by practising data management products like SOLIDWORKS PDM Standard or SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional which designed to automatically manage the files movement from network servers to local disk drives to ensure maximum performance and stability.
  6. What are the Microsoft Office versions compatible with SOLIDWORKS 2020?
    SOLIDWORKS needs Microsoft Excel to generate BOMs, Design Tables, and more.  Microsoft Office 2013, 2016 and 2019 can works with SOLIDWORKS 2020. However, Microsoft Excel / Word 2013 SP4 will end support with SOLIDWORKS 2020 SP5.

For more information, do check the requirements on the SOLIDWORKS and SW PDM System Requirements page by going to the link below;