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SOLIDWORKS PDM – What is Cold Storage?

Cold Storage is a feature in SOLIDWORKS PDM that will automatically move or delete old versions of files. It can be used to reduce the amount of disk space required on an archive server. It’s similar to tape backups that would be used to take data offline to minimize storage requirements in the early days of computing. While adding disk storage is relatively inexpensive these days, managing your file archive is something an administrator should consider. In this post we will discuss some considerations, how to configure cold storage, and how it is used.

Cold Storage Considerations

The first consideration is whether to set up cold storage at all. Disk space is inexpensive today. Moving files to a different location does not save any space. However, this might make sense if there is a physical limitation to the amount of storage available on the archive server. Deleting versions will save space. But keep in mind that versions deleted by cold storage will show up in the document history but cannot be retrieved. I would recommend that you never move or delete versions that have Revisions.

Configuring Cold Storage Schemas

The options for Cold Storage are set up in schemas in the PDM Administration tool.


You can have multiple schemas in a vault. Various options include –

  • – Which vault folders are included.
  • – The archive server to which the schema applies. Cold Storage schemas are configured per archive server.
  • – Whether files are deleted or moved to a different drive and folder location.
  • – The number of file versions to retain.
  • – Whether or not to include versions with Revisions.
  • – The schedule to run cold storage.


The question of how many versions to keep is usually not an easy one to answer. The default value is 10. However, various factors enter the decision –

  • – How often are users checking in files and therefore creating new versions?
  • – Do you have frequent design iterations?
  • – Do users need to view or get earlier versions?

Remember you can have multiple schemas. For a new product, a schema might retain more versions than for a mature one. This is where defining which folders belong to a schema can be beneficial.

Working with Cold Storage

The administrator will have to set up permissions to enable users to work with files that are cold stored. Both the folder and state permission Restore file from cold storage must be enabled. Users will also need permission to work with earlier versions of files.

Files are restored from cold storage using the History dialog box. Entries are included for each version that is cold stored. Only a single file can be restored at a time but referenced documents can be included as well. The user will have to ask a system administrator to make it available if the document is stored in a location that is not accessible by the archive server. Deleted files cannot be restored.


Keep in mind that although the file has been returned to the archive server and cached on the user’s computer, it will once again be cold stored the next time the schema is run.


We have discussed what cold storage is, what to consider before implementing it, how to configure a schema, and how users work with it. While we hope this information helps you determine if setting up cold storage schemas for your SOLIDWORKS PDM system will benefit your company, we understand some additional guidance may be needed and we’re here to help. Contact us for a SOLIDWORKS PDM assessment and we’ll review your system to ensure that it is configured for peak performance and reliability.

Until next time,

Mike DeKoning, Technical Solutions Consultant