How to Run SolidWorks on Linux

So, you’re either lucky enough to be able to buy a SolidWorks license outright, a student with a dream, or like me and provided with one by your employer. Too bad you’re a Linux user too, right? Wrong! Once you have SolidWorks, running it in Linux might seem impossible. That’s technically true, but there is a workaround that I’d like to share with you.

Let’s assume for a moment that you have at least one machine that you bought which originally had Windows on it. If you’re like me, you have a couple of these. Unfortunately they don’t usually come with installation disks from the manufacturer nowadays; but their license keys are still valid if you can get a hold of some! (The disks are generally available through various legal and hazy means, but don’t worry! If you have a disk and install Windows with your license number, it’s a fully legitimate installation and you won’t be bothered.) Now that you have those disks in hand, install Windows onto a VirtualBox guest machine. If you’re running Vista like me, allocating 2GB of RAM to the VM will let you run SolidWorks with no problem; but keep in mind that exceeding 50% of your system memory is generally a poor idea.

Once you have Windows installed, install SolidWorks in the VM.

Now, we have a virtual machine running Windows and SolidWorks. Big deal, right? Anyone could have told you to do that. In order to run SolidWorks in a manner befitting a true “First Class Citizen” of your desktop and have a somewhat normal workflow, you need it to be seamlessly integrated into your Linux desktop. Lucky for you, VirtualBox has a “seamless” mode that you can enable! Press Host+L to get to it, and voila! You’re running SolidWorks on Linux.

Simple, right?


15 thoughts on “How to Run SolidWorks on Linux

    • Ubuntu comes with a screenshot utility, which works very well. I edited them in GIMP to remove my second monitor’s output (which was irrelevant), and posted them here!

  1. hey,

    i have running gentoo here with a virtual windows xp. installation of solidworks was succensfull so far.
    now when i try to start a new projekt solidworks closes and a window shows up where i can restart or don´t restart solidworks.

    did anyone else have this problem?


    • It does occasionally become sluggish but it’s infrequent. More often what happens is rendering errors in large assemblies. For example, I have a project I’ve been working on lately which uses a large number of parts and at times not all of them are drawn when manipulating parts.

    • No, they don’t. To my knowledge the only way to run SolidWorks on Linux is in a VM. However, there’s now a new contender in the marketplace – OnShape. Their system runs the browser and works great on Linux.

    • It depends on your version of SolidWorks. Generally I’d say go for 7 over XP because it’s going to be better supported by DS or your SolidWorks distributor.

  2. When I attempt to install Solidworks in a WIndows 10 virtual machine running on Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 I get a message saying, “using a standalone license for SOLIDWORKS is not supported in this virtual environment. You must use a SolidNetwork License (SNL).” I’m using Virtualbox Free, and a university provided license… Any way around this using my existing license?

    • I’m getting the same error. Were you able to find a workaround? I’m using a Windows 7 virtual machine with Service Pack 1 installed and am trying to install Solidworks 2015, so a bit different from your configuration though.

    • This thread is tops in a search so thought I’d found a solution to the same problem.

      One source mentions the need to set four VM variables in order to keep SW from detecting the virtual environment, Ex.:
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10” “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSVendor” “American Megatrends Inc”
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10” “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSVersion” “2.1.0”
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10 “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiSystemVendor” “ASUSTek Computer”
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10” “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiSystemSerial” “”
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10” “VBoxInternal/Devices/ahci/0/Config/Port0/SerialNumber” “”
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10” “VBoxInternal/Devices/ahci/0/Config/Port0/FirmwareRevision” “”
      VBoxManage setextradata “W10” “VBoxInternal/Devices/ahci/0/Config/Port0/ModelNumber” “”

      “W10” is the VM name and values in quotes are taken from info printed in response to ‘sudo dmidecode -tN’ where N is alternately 0 and 1 (maybe others).

      Unfortunately, no combination I’ve found lets the VM start. If it did, SW would likely run (?). Anyone figure this out, please post.

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