CEE 120A/220A:
Software Tools to Install
CEE 120A/220A:
Software Tools to Install

CEE 120A/220A: Software Tools to Install

Please install these software tools on your personal computer, so you can work on the class modules and design projects from anywhere.

You are highly encouraged to install the free software on your own computers. If that’s not possible: - The computers in Y2E2 184 all have the software installed and ready to use. - Stanford offers a cloud-based virtual machine service (stanford.apporto.com) that enables you to access the software from any web browser.
CAUTION: While it’s very convenient to use the cloud-based virtual machines, you cannot always count on the software being available this way. If you experience problems with using Apporto to access the software, you can: - Try connecting again in a few minutes. - Use the computers in Y2E2 184. As with any cloud-based service, you cannot rely on it to always be working. Be resilient and have backup strategies for when the web service is not available. Problems with using software or the Apporto service will not be accepted as a valid excuse for late assignment submissions.

Follow these steps to set up your computer to use all the software tools that we’ll be using in class.

Sign Up for an Autodesk ID
  • If you already have a student Autodesk ID from another class, you’re all set.
  • If you haven’t created a student Autodesk ID (or if you’re currently using one that created for your workplace), sign up for a new student Autodesk ID by following these steps:
  • Notes about Autodesk IDs
    • Most students use their Stanford email address as their Autodesk ID.
    • If you already have a student Autodesk ID from another school, you can continue to use it or sign up for a new one.
    • You can create as many Autodesk IDs as you like -- but if you use an email address that is not recognized as being from an educational institution, Autodesk may ask you to provide additional documentation of your student students (for example, an image of your student ID) to confirm that you are eligible for their free education offerings.
    • If you need to create a second Autodesk ID, you can create an alias to your Stanford email address and then use this alias to create another Autodesk ID.

PC Users

To use the building modeling tools on your computer, you’ll need a 64-bit version of Windows 8 or newer.  You can check the properties on your computer by right-clicking on the "My Computer" or "This PC" icon in Windows Explorer, then choosing Properties from the pop-up menu.

If you already have a 64-bit version of Windows 8 or newer on your computer, you do not need to download a newer version.  Skip to the next step.

Many Students Can Download Windows for Free

Stanford students

Mac Users

Choose Your Strategy

Mac users have two big strategies to choose from:

Strategy 1: Use a Windows virtual machine located on the Stanford network.

Using this strategy, you don’t install any software on your computer. Instead, you use your web browser to connect to a remotely-located server which enables you to use a Windows virtual machine that has the Revit software installed on it.

The advantage of using this strategy is that it is easy to setup and use. No software needs to be installed on your computer. But the tradeoffs are:

  • This virtual machine is only available when you are connected to the web, and it’s performance may be affected by the connection bandwidth available.
  • This virtual machine is pre-configure to a pre-determined set of applications. You don’t have the ability to install new apps or charge the configuration.
Strategy 2: Set up a Windows partition or virtual machine environment on your Mac computer.

This strategy gives you more independence (you can use Windows anywhere — even when you cannot connect to the Stanford network) and flexibility to install the software you want to use. But, the tradeoff is that there’s a bit of setup to make that possible. You’ll need:

  • At least 45 GB for free disk space to host the Windows files
  • A copy of Windows 10 or 11 (available for free)
  • A windows environment. Options include:
    • A Bootcamp partition (only available for Intel-based Macs)
    • A virtual machine environment (options available for Intel-based or Apple Silicon Macs)

Steps to Follow

Strategy 1: To use a Windows virtual machine on the Stanford Network (Apporto)

Stanford now offers access to the Stanford University Virtual Computing Cluster (also known as Apporto). You can use the virtual machines in this virtual computing cluster to access Windows (or Mac) software from your Mac computer, Windows computer, or iPad/Android tablet — most any computing device that offers a supported web browser.

To access these virtual machines:

When using the Windows virtual machine, you’ll need to be intentional about choosing where files are stored:

  • When you save files on the virtual machine, they will be stored in a special shared folder associated with your SUNet ID that will be available whenever you login to an Apporto virtual machine.
  • To store a local copy — which is always a smart choice — use the Download or Upload buttons in the toolbar to copy files to or from your local computer.
  • Or, even better, upload your files to a cloud-based drive (like your Autodesk Construction Cloud folder), so they’ll always be available to you from any computer on the web.

Keep in mind that your ability to install new software or reconfigure the virtual machine has been restricted by the administrators of this system. If you need to customize the environment for your work, you’ll need to use Strategy 2 — setting up a Windows virtual environment on your computer.

Strategy 2: To set up a Windows partition or virtual machine environment on your Mac computer
Prepare to Install Windows on a Mac

If you work on a Mac computer, you’ll need to install a 64-bit version of Windows on your Mac to use software that requires Windows.

The process will vary based on the type of processor your Mac computer uses. The steps below outline installation guidelines. If you have problems with the installation, please reach out to your course's teaching team.

Bootcamp vs. Virtual Environment — Which option should you choose?
  • There are advantages to each approach, but the essential tradeoff is typically:
    • Bootcamp is only available on Intel-based Macs. If you have a newer Apple Silicon-based Mac, you'll need to use a virtual environment.
    • A Bootcamp partition can only be created by using free space on your Mac's primary hard disk. That space will be dedicated to the Bootcamp partition, and won't be available to the Mac file system.
    • Virtual environments are more convenient to use (no need to reboot).
    • Virtual environments require more RAM memory:
      • To use the virtualization option, you’ll need at least 8 gigabytes of RAM on your Mac (so you can allocate 4 gigabytes of RAM to the virtual machine when it is running).
      • So, if your Mac has less than 8 gigabytes of RAM memory (and an Intel-based processor), you’ll need to use the Bootcamp option.
  • Both options require at least 45 GB of free disk space on your computer to install Windows and the software that we’ll be using in class.
    • A Parallels or VMware Fusion partition can be created on an external hard disk if space on your Mac's primary hard disk is very limited.
    • Running Parallels or VMware Fusion from an External Hard Disk

      If your Mac has less than 45 GB of free space available on the internal disk, you can setup and run Parallels or VMware Fusion from an external hard disk.

      You'll need to have this external hard disk attached to your Mac while running the Windows-based software, but you can disconnect it when not using Windows.

      The key to using this strategy successfully is to get the fastest external drive that you can reasonably afford. Since you'll be accessing the files on this external drive continuously while using Windows, the speed of the drive has a very big impact on the performance of the Windows software.

      Here's a link to some USB-C external SSD (solid state) drives on Amazon.

      • The key is look for a speedy drive (one that says "up to 1050 MB/s" or "USB 3.2 Gen 2" or faster).
      • The size of the drive is up to you and your budget. I'd recommend a 500GB drive (available for around $69) or larger.

Understanding your Mac and which Windows install process to use

Refer to the below PDF to determine your computer's processor type, RAM, and hard drive space. The flowchart at the end will then help determine how you should install the Windows environment.

Mac Revit Install Guide - Mac Computer Info.pdf2013.3KB
For Mac computers with Intel processors
Step 1: Download a copy of Windows 10 or 11 EDU
Step 2: Create a partition to run the Windows environment

You have two options for creating the Windows partition:

  • subdividing your Mac hard disk to create a new physical partition
  • using a virtualization environment to create a virtual partition file that can be located on any disk drive
Option 1: Create a Bootcamp physical partition to use a separate boot environment for Windows.
  • On your Mac, go to: Applications > Utilities > Boot Camp Assistant
  • Follow the prompts to repartition your Mac hard disk, giving at least 45 GB to the Windows partition.
  • Navigate to the downloaded Windows ISO file when prompted by Boot Camp Assistant.
Option 2: Install a virtualization environment -- for example, Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion -- to run Windows as a virtual machine within the MacOS.
Using Parallels Desktop
Using VMware Fusion
  • You can download VMware Fusion for Mac from the Stanford Software Licensing web store for free
  • Run the VMware Fusion Installer, and enter your Windows product key (from the previous step) when prompted.

For Mac computers with M1 processors

Refer to the PDF below for step-by-step instructions of installing the Windows 11 ARM Insider preview in a virtual machine on a Mac with an M1 chip.

Configure Your Parallels or VMware Virtual Machine

After creating your Parallels or VMware Fusion virtual machine, you must configure it to provide at least 2 GB of RAM (preferrably 4 GB or more if available) to the Windows partition.

Configuring a Parallels virtual machine
  • Open the Parallels application.
  • Select the virtual machine from the Parallels Virtual Machines window.
  • Open the Virtual Machine menu and choose Configure…
  • Click on the Hardware tab, and select CPU & Memory from the left column.
    • Check the amount of memory recommended under the Automatic option.
    • If your computer has less than the recommended amounts, choose the Manual option and set the amount of memory allocated to the virtual machine Processors to at least 2 GB of RAM (preferably 4 GB or more if available).
  • Click on the Options tab, and select Sharing from the left column.
    • Turn off (uncheck) Share Mac user folder with Windows.
    • Open the Share folders pull-down menu and choose Home Folder only.
  • Restart your virtual machine.
  • On the Windows desktop, you should see a folder called "Mac Files" with a "Home" folder nested inside. You can access any Mac Files saved to your Mac environment through this folder structure.

All Users
Install Autodesk Revit 2023
  • Go to the Windows OS environment on your computer:
    • On your Windows computer
    • In Bootcamp
    • Or in your Parallels virtual environment
Activate Your Software
  • When you open the Autodesk software for the first time, you will be prompted to login using your Autodesk ID to confirm your eligibility to use the software.

Install the Autodesk Sample Content Libraries

Revit 2021 and newer releases DO NOT install the Autodesk Sample Content Libraries as part of the default installation, so you need to install the sample Revit families separately.  You can do that two ways:

If your disk space is limited, you may want to download these Revit families as needed -- one at a time. To to that:
  • Open Revit Application.
  • Switch to the Insert tab in the ribbon, and open the Load Autodesk Family tool (Insert > Load from Library > Load Autodesk Family).
  • Browse or search for the Revit Family that you’d like to load, then click the Load button.
If you have disk space available, it’s typically more convenient to download and install the entire Autodesk Content Library (which includes all the sample Revit families) on your computer all at once. To do that:

Install all Updates to Autodesk Software

After installing the Revit application,  be sure to run the Autodesk Desktop App from the Autodesk folder in your Start menu to install the latest product updates.

  • Close the Revit application.
  • Open the Autodesk Desktop app.
  • Login using your Autodesk ID.
  • Go to the Updates tab and click ALL of the Update buttons to install ALL of the Revit-related product updates and Revit extensions.
  • If your software is already up-to-date, the list of available updates may be empty.