When you run a Simulation study, SolidWorks saves the solver results to a *.CWR file in a specified folder. It’s important to know where this folder is, and it’s useful to know whether you need to keep these files or not.
First, everyone using Simulation should know that the Study Tree itself is saved inside the model file, but the results are saved separately! Therefore the setup of the problem is embedded right inside the SLDPRT or SLDASM file and will travel everywhere with it, until you delete the Study. This includes all material assignments, loads, fixtures, mesh settings, mesh controls, plot types, plot settings. Everything. Except the work done by the CPU.
The work done when you Run the study is saved in a CWR file (that stands for COSMOSWorks Results, for the pre-2008 brand name of SolidWorks Simulation). The CWR file contains the mesh that has been created, the resulting solution of the problem, and the stresses and other values calculated. There are several other scratch files created alongside the CWR file, but they are not important once the study has been Run and most are deleted automatically.
So, where are the CWR results saved? It depends.
The default location set set under Simulation > Options… > Default Options > Results > Results folder. A typical install sets this to the “SolidWorks document folder”. That is, the same folder that the model file exists in.
I prefer to set my results location to be a “User defined” location that is always the same. I like to use “C:\temp\sim results”.
This is important: The Options setting only affects new studies! Existing studies keep their results folder as it was when they were first created. But you can change it.
The Study Tree defines where the results are saved: Right-click on the study name > Properties… > Options > Results folder. This is where that study looks for its CWR file and creates it there or overwrites it when you Run the study.
Why is this useful to know? Because you might want to keep your CWR files, you might want to purge them, and to do either of those thing well, you need to know where they are.
Do you need to keep the CWR file? Technically, no. Since the entire study setup is captured in the Study Tree and saved with the model, all you need to do is open the model and Run, and you will get your CWR file recreated the exact same way. Now that might take some time, and you might not want to wait. In which case you should hang onto the CWR file, perhaps even check it into your Vault for others to enjoy. But be careful because they can get big; it’s not unusual to see 100MB+ CWR files. Also the automatic Report creation is just one of many great ways to document the study setup and results for sharing and future reference.
If you are given a model with a study and it’s CWR file, just check the study properties to verify where the study is looking for the CWR file and then either put the CWR file in that folder, or change the folder to the location of the CWR file.
If your Mesh icon is missing the green checkmark, and/or you Plot icons are gray, then your CWR file is not found. If you don’t have it, just Run the study and you’ll be all set.