Working from home with your SOLIDWORKS Licences

The Covid-19 coronavirus has landed in South Africa, raising concerns over public health and safety in the country, so what happens next when working with SOLIDWORKS?

Big companies like Google, Apple, Salesforce and Ford have all rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies.

While this can be inconvenient, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot continue to be productive with your SOLIDWORKS licence.

This article focusses on some techniques you can use to help you work remotely or from home using SOLIDWORKS.

Being productive while you are working from home is however all up to you. Have a look here for a beginner’s guide to working from home.

Standalone Licensing

SOLIDWORKS Standalone licenses are locked to a specific computer and hardware ID. When you are asked to start working from home you may need to transfer the license off the current computer to allow for activation on another computer.

Install SOLIDWORKS on both computers, but only activate one of the two computers at the end of the installation (we assume for this example, it will be your work computer).

When you are ready to work from home, you will need to Transfer/Deactivate your current machine, in this example, it is our work machine.

• 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.
  • The Automatic method will finish the deactivation after a few moments and provide a message that it has been successful.
  • With this complete, you can install and open SOLIDWORKS on the other computer to activate the license.  This will follow similar steps to the deactivation process.
  • When you get home start SOLIDWORKS and follow the instructions below.
  • SOLIDWORKS will start the SOLIDWORKS Product Activation, select the option to activate now and select Next.
  • In the Activate/Deactivate menu, use Select All to highlight your type of SOLIDWORKS, enter in your email address and select Next.
  • Once the Activation is complete, you will receive a dialog box that indicates the Activation succeeded, select Finish.

Standalone licenses can also use an online activation mode that doesn’t require the manual activate/deactivate steps. This license mode ties your license to an email address and password, and this can be great if you expect to be bouncing around different computers. As soon as you launch SOLIDWORKS, you’re presented with a login window to enter.

Online Licensing

SOLIDWORKS online licensing gives you the flexibility to use one licence across all your devices, in any location, without having to manually activate and deactivate the licences on each machine.

For example, you can work on a machine in the office during the day, then go home and log into the same licence from your home computer. You do not need a second licence to do this and you do not need to manually deactivate a licence on the office machine and then activate it on your home computer.

You must have internet access to sign in and use online licences. After you sign in, you can select “Offline Mode” and work while the machine is not connected to a network.

We have previously created a PDF document about this which can be found here as well as info in the Installation guide on page 104 here.

It can be converted back to machine activation at any time.

Before switching to online licensing please make sure you are eligible and contact your CAD administrator if required.

Network Licensing

If you are using SOLIDWORKS products using a network license you will need to access the SolidNetWork Licence Manager (SNL) environment. The SNL software hosts a “pool” of licences on your company network and allows client PCs to connect to and use licences locally.

First, you can borrow a license to a different computer for 30 days. The computer must be connected to the same network as the SNL server. Once borrowed, it can be moved offsite temporarily or disconnected from the network for the borrowed period. The license can be sent back to the server before the time limit manually, otherwise it will transition back when time expires. This may be a useful method of taking a licence “offsite” if you need to work remotely or from home.

The steps to borrow a licence is outlined in the help guide on page 122 of the Installation guide here.

You can use a VPN connection to connect to your company’s license server and utilize the SOLIDWORKS license from there. Check with your IT to see their preferred VPN structure to use, we have tried and tested Hamachi VPN. This VPN allows you to see all connected servers on your work network from home. Which means you can connect to your SNL and borrow or return licenses as you need.

*Please take note however: there is a known limitation that leads us not to recommend connecting via VPN and then borrowing the license. Unless your VPN setup maintains a constant MAC address, the license may get hung up if you disconnect and reconnect to VPN. If you do need to do this, test it first with a very short borrow period.

Working from home with your SOLIDWORKS PDM Licence

In order to access your PDM Vault directly, you will need to connect to your Work Network just as if you were on site. This typically means using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), we have tried and tested Hamachi VPN, but see which VPN your IT prefer. The key factor in making sure everything works as expected, is to guarantee the Firewall on the VPN (both ends) is correctly configured to allow communications with the SNL, the Database and the File Archives.

Please talk to your IT provider to make sure the following “Ports” are “open” by configuring Firewall Rules within the VPN.

In the diagram, the top row designates where a request is originating from and the vertical column designates which PDM component is receiving the request.

The port number shown needs to be open in the Firewall on the receiving or listening side.

Please note Web2.0 is not suitable for SOLIDWORKS users to work collaboratively as it does not interface directly with SOLIDWORKS. It also requires certain services to be set up.

For more info use the informative link from Hawkridge systems to find out more here.

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