Reverting from V6 back to V5

Hi all, Apologies for the lame question but I’ve been unable to find anything conclusive on this.

I’ve been using Kicad 5 now for some time at home and love it, (dozens of successful PCB’S in use) however, I needed Kicad at work so I installed V6 thinking that was the sensible thing to do, however, life just isn’t the same without 3D rendering (Opengl Grrr!) so I’m looking at my options for reverting back to V5.

I don’t want to loose the work I’ve already done although I’ve saved the schematics as PDF’s so wouldn’t be the end of the world.

My options seem to be;

Option 1. Install V5 on the same drive but this seems complicated.
Option 2. Uninstall V6 and install V5 and start the projects afresh.
Option 3. Buy a new hard drive, install V5 and just swap it in as and when.
Option 4. I could try to get the machines graphic card to work with opengl but that’s going to be panful at best and it would be good to be able to share projects between home and work (if that’s even possible, I’ve yet to work out how to share / copy projects).

I guess option 2 would likely be the least painful option, the machine in question is a 16 year old Dell Optiplex with no network connection, its purpose in life is to control a CNC router so removing it’s Windows XP drive and slipping in my own Windows 10 hard drive allows me to run Kicad when the router isn’t in use.

Sadly its not possible to get IT to install Kicad on my workstation PC.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

Messing around with old hardware and software is never a good idea.
First backup all your files, and not just the PDF’s. Recreating them would be very time consuming. (Also what happens if the drive dies - I hope you keep backups)

I wouldn’t bother with swapping drives all the time. If something happens with the CNC Drive then it’s dead in the water.

Is KiCad required for work? Why not get a more up to date PC (I seriously doubt W10 will even run on a Optiplex) and run KiCad 7. (Which is pretty stable now and been out for a few months) There are so many issues, as you have seen, with trying to jump through hoops getting old unsupported software working on unsupported hardware.

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I’m desperate for a newer workstation PC, the unit I’m using now is some low end cast off PC that I’m stuck with after my unit was killed by windows update, this one it crashes constantly and runs out of memory when using CAD, the company wont replace it so when it falls over completely I guess I’ll be pushing a broom around!

For the external IT company to install ANY software they require written permission from my manager (not going to happen), CEO (nope) and King Charles III (unlikely).

Currently at work all of my PCB’s are drawn in CAD then engraved on the CNC, very unprofessional and lots of issues with whiskers of copper creating shorts and can only do single sided and then drilled by hand, while at home all my PCB’s are proper and professional, slightly frustrating.

It should be noted that all PCB’s at work are for R&D projects , test gear and when there is no work for my E-bike:)

So, my only option to create a decent board at work is to supply my own hard drive, fit it to a machine that isn’t on the network, then order and pay for the boards out of my pocket. To be fair windows 10 works on the optplex really well, its light years faster than Win XP, possibly because its a SSD.

I’m assuming Kicad 7 still needs Opengl so Kicad 5 might work better for me, the PC isn’t on the network so will protected from any windows updates that will render it obsolete or kill it.

I’m not intending to upgrade higher that V5 at home as I’ll likely hit the same graphics issue and V5 does everything I need.

I’ve just worked out how to back up the Kicad files today, so I’ll be busy tonight!

I’m sure you realise, but some people (Employers) do not, that employee time has an associated cost. It would probably be cheaper to get PCBs made at JLCPCB than setting up a CNC and hand drilling.

Sounds like it’s time to find a new Employer :wink:


I’ve never understood companies like this. So much time wasted. They are forgetting about the man hours wasting time doing this.

Order and pay out of your own pocket? I think it’s time to look for a new job. This is not how to run a bunsiness.

Good luck. Unfortunately it’s not a matter of if, but when the HDD will crash. Nothing lasts forever.
(I bet there are no backups of the CNC drive either)

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Yeah, the company stinks, unfortunately there isn’t too many other options around here, its a shame as I’ve got 40 years worth of electronics and PCB design going to waste.

The CNC files are backed up, well the master CAD files that are drawn up on the work station are backed up on the server, getting the files from the work station onto the PC that runs the CNC is pretty special, get this…Down load CAD file from server and save as PDF adding the dimensions of PCB in the file name, email the PDF to my personal email account, then using a raspberry PI that’s cunningly disguised as a weather station open my personal email and load the file onto an USB stick that can then be plugged into the CNC PC and then converted from PDF to a CRV file setting the scale by the dimensions contained within the file name…before the Raspberry Pi I would have to use my home PC to load the file onto the USB stick and bring it in the next day as all the work PC’s have had USB access blocked, how I would laugh when I found I copied the wrong file over…not.

I found out today that going into each Kicad project file and saving all the contents into a zip file seems to work, it also means that I can fork a project which is a huge deal as it saves starting from scratch every time I need made something slightly different, for example I have a board for an E-bike rear light that has 51 surface mount LED’s mounted in 4 concentric circles, I REALLY did not want to start from scratch for the mark 2 design, now I don’t have to, it even opens in Kicad 6.

Which graphics issue are you referring to?

Its the opengl issue that prevents the 3D modelling, I think V5 uses software acceleration whereas V6 uses a graphics card…I believe.

Both use OpenGL for 3d rendering. Which error message are you getting?

That’s interesting, the error I get is:

Your Open GL version is not supported. Minimum is 1.5.

It would be good to try installing V5 on the ‘official company’ CNC drive but I would need admin privilege’s for that, probably academic as its still running Windows XP.

I could maybe save the projects I created in V6 (my clandestine drive), uninstall V6, install V5 and see if the 3D rendering works.

my machine at home that’s running V5 perfectly is a Dell T3500 so maybe its the age and spec of the work machine that is the issue. The CNC drive machine that I’m using Kicad on does have some sort of graphics card installed with a DVI output but the system doesn’t recognize it, the machine isn’t on a network so I cant get it to search for a driver.

Everything else in Kicad seems to work fine but not being able to see and check the board design in 3D is a HUGE loss.

I know there is a similar Dell T3500 to my home machine sitting unloved in the corner of an office, that would make an ideal work station PC, but it would be under admin control so I’ll be back fighting with IT and management to get any sort of software installed on it, maybe it’s possible to design a 4 layer SMD PCB in Microsoft word…

I’m assuming (maybe wrongly) that you are in the UK . . . take a look at the technical job market, getting new people for technical roles is a nightmare, it’s a sellers (employees) market out there. Even if you are in the middle of nowhere there may be possibilities of working from home for the majority of the week/month.

Don’t close your eyes to new opportunities . . . it sounds like you are wasting much of your time doing stuff you just shouldn’t be doing.

This worked for me on my old lappy.

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I think this holds true for sparkies and brick layers but every time I’ve looked for electronics jobs they seem to be at the other end of the country, it doesn’t help that I got busted down after arguing with the management so my CV isn’t what it was, I think I may have said we don’t enjoy the welfare standards of prisoners and farm animals to one of the directors, as we are locked in a windowless building for 8 hours a day and only allowed to drink water, but hey that’s probably normal in the 21st century.

This horrible place has to go belly up soon so I’m holding out for redundancy and I’m building a decent electronics workshop at home so just need to get some contracts in.


I really do feel your pain . . . and hope you have a brighter future not too far away. :slight_smile:


Thanks Raptor, I think I may have strayed off topic :blush:


Sent you a PM to get you started / thinking


um! lets have a think-

Remove / loosen CPU fan and wait,
Jam CPU heatsink fan and wait,
loosen some HDD screws and wait,
spill / spilt coffee,
A rogue staple,
waggled uninsulated screwdriver,
A fall due to a broken table leg,
Caught with coat,
Fire extinguisher,
Nail gun,
a lit indoor firework pretending to be a blown capacitor (purple smoke) no trace !!!
Turn on windows update,


You could always leverage your obvious skillset doing some gig work on Upwork. Over time, you might develop a clientele of customers so that you can move on from this neanderthal employer.

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Thanks guys, I really appreciate your input, I’ve got a sniff of an electronics / pcb design job a couple of towns away, its a pig of a drive but only 2 days a week on site, I will need Altium experience but it can’t be a world away from Eagle / Kicad. Its also twice what I’m earning at the moment here in the penitentiary, and I’ll be allowed to drink coffee and eat food and wear my own clothes… :kissing_smiling_eyes: