Solution: Write a simple batch file and run that through SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler** as a Custom Task on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.
I know this sounds like a lot, but if I can do it, you can do it. I am not a programmer, I’m a Googler. I also had some help from a powerful Wizard friend of mine. Again, to ease your mind – learning, writing, and completing this task took me less than an hour. You’ve got this.
First, I needed to understand what the Copy Settings Wizard was actually doing for me so I knew what instructions to write. When you Save Settings to File, the Copy Settings Wizard is actually exporting a portion of your Windows Registry. What is the registry, you ask? The registry is a database in Windows that contains important information about your system hardware, installed programs and settings, and profiles of each of the user accounts on your computer. Windows continually refers to the information in the registry. You should not need to make manual changes to the registry because programs and applications typically make all of the necessary changes automatically.***
For example, when you check a box in SOLIDWORKS Tools > Options, or add a File Location for your templates, or customize your user interface, the registry is updated with that information and Windows refers back to it when you load SOLIDWORKS – this is the part of the registry we will be backing up. To access this information, you’ll go to Start and search ‘regedit‘ and open. The program is named regedt32.exe and is located on a default setup at C:\Windows\System32\regedt32.exe. The Copy Settings Wizard is essentially right-clicking HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Solidworks, choosing Export, and then saving that file at the location you specified.
What it looks like in Copy Settings Wizard:
Now that I understand what’s happening in the background, I know what question to ask Google: “How do I export a registry key?” This didn’t quite get me the answer I was looking for. I also know I need to write instructions for the computer to follow, and those instructions will be executed via the Command Prompt, so my final Google query went, “How do I export a registry key command line?” and the first result was this: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/168589. Long story short, the command line to export a registry key looks like this:
For my instructions, I wrote:
This will save a file called swsettings.reg to my D:\SOLIDWORKS_setup where I keep all of my other customized files. I added a sub-folder called Settings just to stay organized. To test, I opened a Command Prompt by clicking the Start button and typing ‘cmd‘ into the search. The program is named cmd.exe and is located at C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe (this is the same location as the regedt32.exe).
Some other things I ran into on my journey:
You can copy and paste the folder location into the command prompt by right-clicking and choosing Paste. Ctrl+V will not work.
You can copy the Registry Key name by right-clicking the desired key and choosing Copy Key Name.
Again, you should not need to make manual changes to the registry because programs and applications typically make all of the necessary changes automatically. An incorrect change to your computer’s registry could render your computer inoperable.*** Since we’re not making changes, only a backup, we’re all set. I tell you this so you don’t go making manual changes to the registry if you’re not comfortable with what you’re doing. Please, only make manual changes with help from your support team if necessary.