Virtual Desktop Computing for SolidWorks (A Complete Guide)

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One question has piqued the curiosity of many: Is it possible to perform virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS? The answer, my friends, is a resounding “Yes!”

Imagine a time not so long ago when SOLIDWORKS and virtual machines seemed like oil and water, refusing to blend. It was a world where the CAD genius of SOLIDWORKS couldn’t coexist with the virtual realm or the convenience of a web browser. But oh, how the times have changed!

From the historic challenges stemming from OpenGL limitations to the revolutionary shift towards GPU-powered virtualization, we’ll explore the past and present of virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS. Moreover, we’ll delve into the futuristic realm of CAD modeling on web browsers, courtesy of the groundbreaking 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if you can unleash SOLIDWORKS’ prowess within a virtual environment or dreamt of designing complex models right in your web browser, stick with us. By the end of this journey, you’ll not only have your answers but also a newfound appreciation for the boundless possibilities that await. Welcome to the future of virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS – let’s dive right in!

Virtual Desktop Computing for SOLIDWORKS in the Past

Picture a time when SOLIDWORKS and virtual machines seemed like two separate galaxies, unable to align. The primary roadblock? OpenGL limitations. Back then, SOLIDWORKS couldn’t officially embrace virtual servers, which left many designers and manufacturers in a dilemma.

The workaround in those days was Software OpenGL, a solution that allowed SOLIDWORKS to function but at a cost. It forced the software to communicate with a graphics driver rather than the graphics card directly, resulting in significant graphics performance degradation. Not exactly an ideal scenario for professionals striving for precision and efficiency.

Fast forward to the present, and there’s been a remarkable transformation in virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS. Contemporary virtual machines fully leverage your graphics card’s capabilities, thanks to GPU utilization. This evolution has rejuvenated SOLIDWORKS within the virtual environment, guaranteeing a seamless, potent, and efficient 3D design experience.

virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS

3DEXPERIENCE Model Virtual (Unlocking Innovation in SOLIDWORKS)

First, let’s acquaint ourselves with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. It’s not just a platform; it’s an ecosystem designed to revolutionize how we approach 3D design and engineering. Think of it as a digital playground where SOLIDWORKS and creativity converge to take your projects to new heights.

One of the most exciting aspects of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is its ability to bring SOLIDWORKS to the cloud and web browsers. Yes, you heard it right! No more tethering to a specific physical workstation or location. Now, you can access the power of SOLIDWORKS from virtually anywhere with an internet connection. This opens up a world of flexibility and collaboration that was previously unimaginable.

But what’s the role of 3DEXPERIENCE in CAD modeling, you may wonder? It’s about redefining how you approach the entire design process. It’s about real-time collaboration, streamlined workflows, and an intuitive interface that empowers you to turn your creative ideas into reality seamlessly. It’s about breaking down barriers and bringing designers, engineers, and manufacturers together in a cohesive digital environment.

Notable 3DEXPERIENCE Applications: xDesign and xShape

When it comes to 3DEXPERIENCE, we should really shine a spotlight on two remarkable applications: xDesign and xShape. These applications aren’t just ordinary tools; they represent a significant leap in CAD modeling capabilities, bringing the formidable prowess of SOLIDWORKS right to your web browser.

xDesign is a game-changer, offering full-featured CAD modeling that’s accessible anywhere you have an internet connection. No longer tied to a specific location or specialized hardware, you can now seamlessly create intricate designs, collaborate with ease, and accelerate your projects.

xShape, another star in the 3DEXPERIENCE constellation, delivers an intuitive and powerful CAD modeling experience. It empowers you to craft complex shapes and structures effortlessly, revolutionizing the way you approach design.

These applications are not just tools; they are a glimpse into the future of CAD modeling. They epitomize the innovation and convenience that the 3DEXPERIENCE platform brings to your design workflows. 

SOLIDWORKS virtual desktop computing

Running SOLIDWORKS on a Virtual Machine

Wondering about the ins and outs of running SOLIDWORKS on a virtual machine? Let’s break it down into easy-to-follow steps, so you can make informed decisions for your graphic design or manufacturing venture.

Step 1: Check the List of Supported Virtual Environments

First things first, you need to know if your virtual environment is SOLIDWORKS-friendly. Fortunately, SOLIDWORKS now supports a range of virtual environments, ensuring you have options. To find out if your setup is compatible, consult the official list of supported virtual environments provided by SOLIDWORKS.

Step 2: Weigh the Pros and Cons

Next, let’s consider the advantages and disadvantages of virtualizing SOLIDWORKS.


  • Flexibility: Virtualization offers the freedom to access SOLIDWORKS from various devices and locations, promoting collaboration and remote work.
  • Cost-Efficiency: It can reduce the need for high-end workstations, potentially saving on hardware costs.
  • Scalability: Virtual environments can be easily scaled to accommodate growing design teams.


  • Performance: Depending on your virtual setup, performance may not match that of a dedicated workstation.
  • Technical Hurdles: Virtualization can present challenges in terms of setup, maintenance, and compatibility.
  • Licensing: Ensure that your SOLIDWORKS licensing permits virtualization.

Step 3: Meet Technical Prerequisites

When it comes to running SOLIDWORKS on a virtual machine, ensuring that your technical setup meets specific requirements is vital. Here’s an in-depth look at what you need to consider:

1. Hardware:

  • RAM (Random Access Memory): SOLIDWORKS is a memory-intensive application. To ensure smooth performance, your host machine should have a minimum of 16GB of RAM. For more extensive assemblies and complex projects, consider 32GB or more.
  • CPU (Central Processing Unit): A powerful multicore processor is essential for running SOLIDWORKS efficiently. Aim for a quad-core processor or higher, such as an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7.
  • Storage: Solid-state drives (SSDs) are recommended for faster data access and system responsiveness. Ensure you have enough storage space for your SOLIDWORKS files and virtualization needs.

2. Graphics:

  • GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): SOLIDWORKS relies heavily on graphics performance. A dedicated GPU is crucial for smooth 3D modeling and rendering. Look for a workstation-class GPU from NVIDIA or AMD, such as an NVIDIA Quadro or AMD Radeon Pro series card. VRAM (Video RAM) should be at least 2GB, but for demanding projects, consider 4GB or more.
  • Hardware Acceleration: If available, enable hardware acceleration in your virtualization setup to offload graphical processing to the GPU. This can significantly enhance SOLIDWORKS’ performance.

3. Networking:

  • Internet Connection: If you are using cloud-based virtualization, a stable and high-speed internet connection is imperative. Low latency and consistent bandwidth are essential for real-time collaboration and cloud access.

4. Software:

  • Virtualization Software: Ensure your virtualization software is compatible with SOLIDWORKS. Popular options include VMware, VirtualBox, and Hyper-V. Keep the virtualization software up to date to benefit from performance and security improvements.
  • SOLIDWORKS Version: Use a version of SOLIDWORKS that is certified for virtualization. Check SOLIDWORKS’ official compatibility list for supported versions.
  • Operating System: Choose an operating system compatible with your virtualization software and SOLIDWORKS. Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise is often recommended.

By meticulously meeting these technical prerequisites, you’ll optimize your virtual environment for SOLIDWORKS. Whether you’re fine-tuning your design workflows or embracing remote collaboration, ensuring your system is up to the task is crucial to unlocking the full potential of virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS.

Microsoft Azure Cloud for SOLIDWORKS

Microsoft Azure Cloud for SOLIDWORKS

One of the viable solutions for virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS is the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Microsoft Azure offers the infrastructure needed to host SOLIDWORKS on cloud-based virtual machines. This means you can access SOLIDWORKS from virtually anywhere, eliminating the need for on-premises hardware and extensive IT management.

The Benefits of Microsoft Azure for SOLIDWORKS

  • Scalability: Microsoft Azure allows you to scale your computing resources on-demand. Whether you need to accommodate a larger design team or handle complex simulations, Azure can adapt to your requirements seamlessly.
  • Cost-Efficiency: With Azure, you pay only for the resources you use. This cost-effective approach can lead to significant savings compared to maintaining and upgrading on-premises hardware.
  • High Performance: Azure’s powerful virtual machines can deliver exceptional performance, ensuring that your SOLIDWORKS sessions run smoothly, even for resource-intensive tasks.
  • Security: Microsoft Azure prioritizes security, providing robust measures to safeguard your data. You can confidently design and collaborate knowing that your intellectual property is protected.

Conclusion: The Future of Virtual Desktop Computing for SOLIDWORKS

In this guide, we’ve explored the transformation of virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS, from past limitations to the present innovation. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has revolutionized CAD modeling by enabling access via web browsers, and applications like xDesign and xShape bring SOLIDWORKS’ power to your fingertips.

For those venturing into virtual desktop computing for SOLIDWORKS, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide. From checking compatibility to weighing the pros and cons, and meeting technical prerequisites, we’ve ensured you have the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. After all, a well-prepared virtual environment is the key to unlocking the full potential of SOLIDWORKS.

As you embrace the virtual future of SOLIDWORKS, expect smoother workflows, enhanced collaboration, and the freedom to design from anywhere. It’s an exciting journey, promising innovation and efficiency for both graphic designers and manufacturing companies.

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