Don’t Lose Work! Save Early and Save Often!

There can be nothing more frustrating than losing work! In an attempt to minimize the risk, SOLIDWORKS provides three methods to prevent losing work due to a problem:

1) File Backup
2) File Auto-Recover
3) Save notifications

All of these options can be accessed by clicking on the pull-down menu: Tools->Options->System Options->Backup/Recover (Fig. 1)fig1

The Backup Functionality

This option provides the ability to save copies of the SOLIDWORKS files in a user-specified directory. It allows to save up to ten backup copies per document. You can even set up the number of days to keep the old backup files (Fig. 2)


The backup functionality saves a copy of the document when the save functionality is triggered. The state of the backup copy will be the file without the changes since the last save.

Figure 3 shows the backup functionality workflow. A current working part is changed and saved. Upon saving, the system saves –as a backup — a copy of the file prior to the changes. Every time a file is saved, the newly backup file will always have the “Backup1” label. The previous “Backup1” will be renamed “Backup2” and so forth.


The user strategy for the number of backup files to keep in the backup directory should be based on the user saving frequency. If you save often –this means you will have small changes between savings –then you may want to increase the number of backup copies per document.

The Auto-Recover Functionality

This option saves a .SWAR(SOLIDWORKS auto-recovery) file in an user specified directory. You need to determine the time frequency to trigger the auto-recover save. For example, assume that you want to trigger the save auto-recover every minute (Fig. 4.) While working on a file the *.SWAR file will be updated every minute.


When you manually save the file, the auto-recover file will be deleted (Fig. 5)


If at anytime, while having a file in the auto-recover folder SOLIDWORKS crashes, upon restarting, the  SOLIDWORKS Task Pane will display the Document Recovery notice (Fig. 6)


The file recovered will be the one which was last updated.

Be aware that it could be possible not to have a .SWAR file in the auto-recover folder. Assume, you set up the auto-recover to trigger every 30 minutes. As we saw earlier, after you save the file the auto-recover file is deleted, this means that for 30 minutes after saving you will not have an auto-recover file.

The user strategy for the auto-recover trigger time will also be dependent of your saving habits. If you are prone to work for long periods of time without saving, then set the trigger time to something small. This means, that if something wrong happens, you will have only lost the amount of work since the auto-recover was triggered.

Save Notification Functionality

This feature’s options allow you to set up the reminder time display interval and also the amount of time the message will be displayed before is auto-dismissed (Fig. 7)


If you have not saved a working file for a predetermined time, the system will display a message (Fig. 8)  The message will even have a link which allow you to save the file directly from the message.


We all know “stuff” happens! The best way to avoid losing work is to save often. Most of us have room to improve in the backup area, so SOLIDWORKS is doing our best to help automate it as much as possible for you!

Mario Iocco

Mario Iocco

Sr. Technical Customer Support Engineer, SolidWorks, Americas.
Mario Iocco is a veteran CAD user. He started as a Mechanical Engineer first working in 2D with AutoCAD, moving on to 3D using  both SW and some  of the other CAD software on the market. He began his career with SolidWorks over 15 years ago. He started in R&D working on many of the new functionalities developed at the time -eDrawings, Sheet Metal, Weldments, etc. In the last few years, he moved to TS., working closely with VARs, Mario wrote the sheet metal functionality best practice manual, as well as creating hundreds of Sheet Metal Knowledge Base articles. He has presented webinars  on "Sheet Metal Tips and Tricks" and "Sheet Metal Bend Tables".