SolidWorks Enterprise Licensing Made Simple

You’ve anticipated installing a newer version of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM for the last month. You’ve let everyone know of the impending update. You’ve downloaded the latest service pack from You’ve made backups of your SQL databases. You’ve ensured the archive folders have been backed up. You performed the upgrade procedures from the Installation guide PDF to the ‘T’ (pg. 92). After the upgrade is completed, you test your first client to the upgraded server and you see:

No License
No licenses available!

If you see this, we might need to review the installation procedures one last time. On the bottom of page 92 under the heading ‘Client Licenses’, there are two brief paragraphs explaining what might have happened:

A database upgrade to a new major version resets the license count to 0 users. After the upgrade, you must install a valid license for multiple users to log in.

When upgrading from an older service pack, for example Enterprise PDM 2009 SP1 to Enterprise PDM 2009 SP2, your existing license code is still valid.
The license file must have been missed.

As stated above, you must have a new license file for every major release (i.e. 2012 to 2013) but it is not required for upgrades within a release (2012 SP0 to 2012 SP4). If you do receive the above message, it is advised that you retrieve your license file as quickly as possible. You can do this immediately with your company login to It does not require a technical support ticket through your local reseller.

To obtain your license, follow these steps:

  1. Go to and select ‘Login’.


  2. Click the icon for customer portal and provide your customer log in information.
    SolidWorks Customer Portal
  3. Select ‘My Products’ for a listing of your registered products. Note: If you have not registered your SolidWorks Enterprise PDM software yet, you must do so before retrieving your license file by clicking the ‘Register My Products’ link.

    My Products
  4. Select the licenses file for the product you are installing (step 1). In this image below, the 2012 product is selected. Then click ‘Get License’ (step 2). You should next see a message indicating that the license file is being sent to your email.
  5. Within a few minutes, you should receive an email with your license file attached. Save this to a location on your machine for easy access in the next step.
    eRegistration email
  6. The last step is to load the license file into SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. To do this, we launch the SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Administration tool, log into our vault, double click the ‘License’ node(step 1). When the ‘Set License’ window appears, click the ellipsis button and browse to the text file from the email (step 2). Click ‘OK’ to apply and double click the ‘License’ node. You should now see licenses available in the bottom list (step 3).

     License Administration

At this point, you should be able to log into your client vault view and not receive the message regarding zero licenses available!
A few considerations when updating:

  • With the impending release of the new 2013 products, you are no doubt planning to update one or more product lines to the 2013 versions. In regards to SolidWorks and SolidWorks Enterprise PDM, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM must be at the same version or newer than SolidWorks. The SolidWorks Enterprise 2013 add-in will be compatible with
    SolidWorks 2011, 2012, and 2013. If you upgrade SolidWorks and not SolidWorks
    Enterprise PDM, SolidWorks 2013 files may not be compatible with SolidWorks
    Enterprise 2012 and is not supported in this setup.
  • When updating a SolidWorks Enterprise environment, ALL clients and servers must be on the same year and servicepack release. As such, you must update all components simultaneously to prevent any outages in your environment and replicated sites. You will NOT be able to log into a vault view if the client differs in version from the server.
  • When deploying large amounts of clients, you can use Group Policy to deploy the client to users. This can be found on page 57 of the Installation guide PDF.


Royce Cole is a Certified SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Professional and Support Technician, and application engineer at DASI Solutions, a SolidWorks Value Added Reseller with locations throughout Michigan and Indiana. He is a regular contributor to the DASI Solutions Blog.