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Best Practices

Security of the Vault

The vault directory should be accessible to only one administrator, the person who is responsible for installing updates, deleting files, maintaining passwords, and other administrative tasks. Users should not have any access to the vault through Microsoft Windows Explorer.

Backing up the Vault

Back up the entire vault folder, which contains both project documents and Workgroup PDM configuration information. You should do the backup operation when no one is modifying the vault (checking in documents, changing ownership, and so on). To ensure no one is accessing the vault, first lock the vault (see Vault Settings) or stop the service. You can then copy the vault folder with Windows Explorer.

Back up the vault regularly, and test the backup occasionally to be sure your backup procedure is valid. Store the backup on a server different from the one where the vault resides (in case the vault computer is lost).

Maximizing Vault Performance

A large number of documents in a project degrades performance. More projects with fewer documents (fewer than 1000 or 2000 documents per project) results in better performance.

Clients can hide projects to improve performance.

If you operate over a network, network performance affects Workgroup PDM performance. Workgroup PDM cannot make a slow network faster.

Converting Documents from Earlier Releases

To convert documents from earlier releases to the current release of SOLIDWORKS, use the SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler.

When converting Workgroup PDM vault files in SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler, all documents open in a resolved state (not lightweight). Make sure the computer on which you run the conversion has enough memory to complete this procedure.

You can reduce conversion time by using more than one computer (convert different projects on different computers). Log in as the same user on each computer because the vault is locked to everyone but one user during the conversion.

Deleting Documents

The vault administrator specifies permission to delete documents on the Vault Settings tab of the VaultAdmin. For security, Admin only is recommended.

The top level directory contains an Obsolete folder, and each project also contains an Obsolete folder, all created automatically by Workgroup PDM. When vault administrators delete projects, the files move into the top level directory Obsolete folder. When users or administrators delete documents, the documents move into the project Obsolete folder. The Obsolete folders are hidden from the Workgroup PDM interface. The vault administrator with access to the vault directory should delete the Obsolete folders periodically through Windows Explorer. Workgroup PDM creates new Obsolete folders automatically.

Deleted documents and projects in Obsolete folders cannot be restored. Only archived documents can be restored, and projects from which documents have been archived should not be deleted. Archived documents can be restored only to their original project.

To expedite deleting files:

  1. The administrator creates a project (Trash, for example) and gives users write access.
  2. In the vault view, users right-click the top-level document to be deleted and select Change Project.
    Only the owner of the documents can change the project.
  3. In the Change Document Project dialog box, select Trash from the list, select Children and All Children, and click .

Copies of Latest Files

In Vault Settings, the vault administrator can choose to keep an extra copy of the latest files (that is, the latest revision of every file). Select or clear the Keep extra copy of latest files check box.

The copies are in a folder called latest that only the administrator can see (in Windows Explorer). The latest folder does not follow vault folder structure. The files in this folder use the complete real file name (in other folders, file names appear with an underscore in place of the period in Windows Explorer).

  • A good use for this folder is to zip up all the files in case of a catastrophic system failure.
  • If disk space is an issue, you can save disk space by clearing this check box. All files in the folder are deleted.
  • If you select the check box, all the latest files are created.

File Owners on Temporary Leave

When file owners are away and other users need access to their files, the vault administrator can change passwords on the Users and Groups tab of the VaultAdmin. The administrator can then log in as the user and release ownership of the documents. Be sure to notify users that their passwords have been changed.

Users Leaving the Project or the Company

When a user leaves a project permanently, use one of the following approaches:
  • Modify the existing user account so a new person can immediately take ownership of the previous user's documents.
  • Delete the old user. All files owned by that user now have no owner and can be assigned to any users.

Custom Properties

Entering custom properties for assemblies with many sub-assemblies and parts can be time-consuming. An efficient approach is to add the custom properties (part numbers, descriptions, and so on) in SOLIDWORKS. Then check in the top-level assembly. You are prompted to enter the information for any documents that do not yet have the custom properties filled in.

You can use the SOLIDWORKS API to generate custom properties for large numbers of documents; for example, to serialize document numbers or to standardize on a format of all caps.

Template Files

You can handle company template files through the Workgroup PDM vault. Add templates to the vault only if they need revision control. Users must copy the template files to their local workspace.

To maintain templates:

  1. In the VaultAdmin, create a project to hold the templates (Templates, for example).
  2. Assign write access to the person maintaining the templates and read access to everyone using the templates.
  3. Check in the templates to the Template project.
  4. Users copy the templates using Workgroup PDM Open Document.
    Users should periodically check the local view to be sure their local copies are equal to the versions in the vault.

External References

To control file use (for example, references to Toolbox or other files when opening documents in a Workgroup PDM vault), SOLIDWORKS recommends that you clear the option Search file locations for external references in Tools > Options > System Options > External References .

If Workgroup PDM does not locate the reference file in the vault, you can correct the reference or locate the correct file manually.

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