The coronavirus is spreading quickly.
To minimize its effect and to minimize the load on our healthcare system, we are urged to work from home.
But how do you do that when your beast of a PC sits at the office?
I’ll help you get started.
Cover image credits: edited photo, original from Matt Biddulph.
If you have a powerful PC at the office, you can continue working on it from home. You need a decent internet connection, but nothing fancy.
I have tested using TeamViewer and Remote Desktop in the past, so I’ll share my experiences with those.
If I learn about other tools and other people’s experiences, I’ll add them to the list.
I’ve searched for people that have tried to use SOLIDWORKS remotely and found these:
Remote Desktop is Microsoft’s own solution to connect to a remote PC. Most Windows versions will already have Remote Desktop installed.
I have worked on a remote PC for a few weeks in 2018, and this worked very well. Granted, the internet is pretty fast and reliable here in the Netherlands, but still.
All I needed was a VPN connection to the company, plus login credentials. You can then save a shortcut on your desktop to this remote machine.
This is a nice article on how to prepare your work PC and how to connect to it from a Windows machine or iOS or Android phone.
I have done sessions with TeamViewer in the past. It worked reasonably well, but not great.
It feels like it is not designed for longer sessions. Which would make sense, because it was built to provide support over a distance.
You usually have to enter an ID and a password to enter a machine. To set up the PC for longer sessions, it is crucial that you set up Unattended Access. More info in this PDF by TeamViewer.
It’s pretty simple: just purchase a license.
The personal version is free, but if they suspect professional use, your experience will get worse over time. You’ll get connection issues and other strange problems, at least this is what I experienced.
It seems to works a bit like the DRM on Spyro The Dragon (go check it out, it’s a cool video).
I have never tried these methods before, so please let you know via firstname.lastname@example.org if they work for you or not.
If you have to work on a different computer than usual, here are some tips to get started.
You can download SOLIDWORKS from the Customer Portal. The oldest version they have is SOLIDWORKS 2017.
You can find official hardware requirements for SW2018 to SW2020 here.
Most of these requirements are not hard limits, but best practices. So if your PC doesn’t meet them, you should at least try to install SOLIDWORKS.
Even if you still have Windows 7, you should be able to install SW2020.
I have added a whole section on licensing below.
Your notebook or home screen is probably smaller than what you have at the office.
So here are some tips to minimize clutter on your screen:
There have been some developments recently that make it possible to run CAD in the cloud.
These companies seem to offer out-of-the-box solutions:
I have tried to find if 3DEXPERIENCE runs SOLIDWORKS as well, but I still don’t know. I couldn’t find this info between all the stock images and the enterprise talk.
When you connect to your work PC with Remote Desktop or similar, there will be no license issues. The work PC will connect to the license servers as usual. Only the inputs and outputs of the PC are shared over the internet.
All you need is a VPN connection to the office. The Network License Manager will then work as usual.
In the past, you could use a single serial code on your work-PC and your home-PC. This is no longer the case. SOLIDWORKS stopped giving out Home Use licenses in 2019.
You can now borrow a license for a certain period. You need to connect with your work network, but (so it seems) only to borrow the license. Or you can activate a license on this computer when you are still at the office, then take it home.
More info in the official help here.
This forum post tells us that apparently, it is not allowed to access a SOLIDWORKS installation from another country as to where it was purchased. The European Union counts as a single country/region. This shouldn’t be a problem for most of us.
I haven’t included much info about VPNs in this post. Others know way more about this topic than I do.
Yet I ran into some useful information today to minimize the required bandwidth for your company.
You can set up VPN so only the necessary traffic goes through this connection. All other data will go through your normal connection.
More info in this short video.
In theory, yes. But I’ve had some problems.
You need at least the following:
When I tried this in 2018, I got it to work, but not properly.
I use up/down to zoom, which is not the default. Yet the mouse kept zooming with the default direction of front to back. I gave up after trying multiple times.
Some more links are bundled in this forum topic.
If you have been able to get it to work, I’d love to hear from you!
We are all in this boat together, so let’s help each other by sharing our knowledge.
This post is only the first step, hopefully, I will be able to add more content with your help.
If I missed a good practice or if I’m preaching a bad one, please let me know.
You can reach us at email@example.com.