Choose the Install or the Portable version for Windows?

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FreeCAD97990
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Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:11 pm

Choose the Install or the Portable version for Windows?

Post by FreeCAD97990 » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:46 pm

For Windows users, the stable versions of FreeCAD (for example 0.18.4) are available from GitHub in both Installable and Portable forms.

But GitHub does not seem to offer any guidance as to which is likely to be the better choice, either for the newcomer to FreeCAD, or for the more experienced user.

Using the Portable form seems to be a good idea for the newcomer who only wants to try out FreeCAD to see if it's what he wants.

But for the longer term user, what is the main advantage of using the Installable form? Does it, for example, run faster than the Portable version?


I have written this post because I think that it would be useful to have some discussion on the forum about the advantages of the Installable and the Portable forms.

I myself use the latest 0.19 development build, and update regularly.

vocx
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:18 pm

Re: Choose the Install or the Portable version for Windows?

Post by vocx » Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:02 pm

FreeCAD97990 wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:46 pm
...
I have written this post because I think that it would be useful to have some discussion on the forum about the advantages of the Installable and the Portable forms....
I find this discussion weird. There shouldn't be any difference or advantage using one or the other, it's just the way the software is distributed.

On Windows, programs that are installed often leave files behind and registry information, even if they are removed. The portable version is just self contained in a folder, so the user can potentially move the folder around, place it on a USB drive, or external hard drive and it should work. It's just more convenient.

For newcomers it really doesn't matter. The packaging doesn't matter. It's the quality of the software, what is inside, what will determine if the user likes the program or not.

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sgrogan
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Re: Choose the Install or the Portable version for Windows?

Post by sgrogan » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:00 pm

FreeCAD97990 wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:46 pm
I have written this post because I think that it would be useful to have some discussion on the forum about the advantages of the Installable and the Portable forms.
Both versions use the exact same binaries, and both will write the needed .cfg stuff to %appdata%/FreeCAD

The installer will offer some menus where to install, and will automatically set file associations for .FCstd files (by writing some stuff to the registry) and add a registry entry to uninstall so you can use Win uninstall programs.

For the portable version the user must specify with .7zip where to extract and handle any file associations, and deletion themselves. The portable version download is smaller because we use 7zip which has better compression than standard winzip, at the expense of the user needing to have 7zip on their system.

vocx is correct that many Win installers leave some crunge in the registry. FreeCAD is lucky to have @uwestoehr, an experienced NSIS installer programmer to help us avoid this. Prior to uwe's involvement (<0.18.x) the installer only made the uninstall registry entry to avoid this.

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