SolidWorks OpenGL & RealView on MacOS Parallels

Not that I am enjoying it much, but for a few years I’ve been using a MacBook for my SolidWorks projects.
I never been a fan of Bootcamp since rebooting the computer in Windows really interrupts my work. I’m also using FileVault and BitLocker encryption and this is preventing me from transferring between the OS partitions… not so professional in 2015 to use a USB drive to move files around your own computer, right?
For these reasons and some others I’m running SolidWorks on a Windows 7 Virtual Machine: Parallels

With Parallels there is a perfect integration and communication between the two OS (even with encryption enabled), there’s no need to stop any of the activity you are doing to switch to Windows and of course Retina display is well supported.
Right after the installation SolidWorks will run smoothly enough, but there are a few tricks that will give you a better experience.

1) Parallels Settings

Make sure your VM is configured like this:

(Parallels -> Virtual Machine -> Configure -> Options -> Optimization )

(Parallels -> Virtual Machine -> Configure -> Hardware -> Video )

2) Regedit Tweaks

A word or warning though, as you all know SolidWorks still states very clearly on its system requirements page that:

Apple Macintosh®-based machines running Windows using Boot Camp are not supported.

Of course we should assume that Virtual Machine are even less supported, therefore SolidWorks misbehaviours may happen.
I should also say that tinkering around with Windows regedit it’s not a safe practice if you don’t know what you are doing, but since we are talking of a Virtual Machine here, switch on those Parallels SnapShots and play how much you want!

Open the Windows Registry Editor


Reach for the folder

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/SolidWorks/SolidWorks 2014/Performance/Graphics/Hardware/Current

If you can’t find it means you never started SolidWorks, you must run it at least once to have the Windows Registry populated. Also, if your version is not the 2014, change the path according to your version.

Double-click on the “Renderer” key, copy the Value string and click OK

Reach for the folder

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/SolidWorks/SolidWorks 2014/Performance/Graphics/Hardware/Gl2Shaders/Other

Right Click on “Other” folder and select “New Key”. Paste the name you copied two steps ago.

Select the newly created folder, and after a right click in the white right panel choose New -> DWORD (32bit)

Name the Key “Workarounds” and after double clicking on it enter a hex value “40008” (without “”) (this is the setting for the nVidia card, ATI is typically 0 but it varies)


In the folder

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/SolidWorks/SolidWorks 2014/Performance/Graphics/Hardware

look for all the sub-folders containing the name “parallels” (should be 4)
For the “Parallels and NVIDIA” folders, modify the Workarounds value in “4000480”, for the “Parallels and ATI” modify in “10”

3) Enjoy OpenGL and RealView

If you followed these few step correctly you should now be able to enjoy OpenGL and RealView Graphics in SolidWorks

Typically I have to reset this reg key after installing a service pack so you may want to right click on your key and export it for a simple double click after a patch.

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