Greyed out "Use software OpenGL" in Solidworks

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Alert: Very boring post follows. TL;DR - Had a cryptic Windows graphics problem, fixed it with obscure registry bodge. Vintage.

I've recently started dual booting Win7 alongside Fedora so I can run Solidworks. (It doesn't seem to virtualise well). The transition from XP to 7 is just like the transition from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3; title bars are fatter, fonts are larger, there are new shadows, transparency effects and animations, and everything is slightly more difficult to use. (Ok, yeah, in Gnome 3 everything is substantially more difficult to use).

When I bought my laptop (Toshiba Portege R700-15x, Intel Core i5-520M. I believe I have Intel HD Graphics), I assumed the on-chip graphics would become so ubiquitous that it would work with everything. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be quite true - there's possibly quite shitty OpenGL support in the driver. It seems Intel are still adding major new chunks of OpenGL support to their drivers, years after the chip was actually released.

Anyway - the particular gripe I faced was some quirky performance problem in Solidworks. Lines highlighted very slowly, segment-by-segment. This makes mouse-overing the different features (particularly plane views in the Feature Manager) very painful indeed. It seems that Solidworks was falling back to software OpenGL emulation because the "Use Software OpenGL" checkbox was greyed out and checked.

After hours of dicking about with graphics drivers and searching rambling and contradictory forum posts I was considering buying some kind of external graphics hardware when I stumbled on this amazing post by Ashok Kumar. I don't know how he figured this out, but it's totally undocumented, and features nowhere else on the internet! Perhaps he's a solidworks developer. I thought I'd better mirror the content here because 1) Redunancy and 2) I'll forget this in the future.

I had to change the Workarounds key in

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\SolidWorks\SolidWorks
2012\Performance\Graphics\Hardware\Intel\Intel(R) HD Graphics

from
0x10000010 to 0x00000009.

(I tried changing just the \Intel one, but that didn't work).

After that the "Use software OpenGL" box is still grey, but unticked! Now everything works.

Really takes me back to my teenage years of playing with windows machines - no debug output at all, lots of random dicking around with drivers for hours, and finally finding out that you need to make some kind of cryptic, undocumented tweak in the registry! Ahh, those were the days.

 

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