Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10



  • Hi,

    since now Notepad++ portable on WIndows 10 places the config files in the user profile folder… what’s the difference then with the installer version now?



  • @bokeron2020 ,

    since now Notepad++ portable on WIndows 10 places the config files in the user profile folder…

    Since when?

    I have been using the portable on Windows 10 for years now, from old versions through the newest v8.1.1, and straight out of the zipfile, it always uses the portable folder for settings, not the user profile. The zipfile has the doLocalConf.xml included, and that’s what tells Notepad++ to use the local folder for settings instead of AppData. (Literally, I use the portable every day I am at work; and just about any time I run an experiment to help someone in the forum, I unzip a fresh portable of the appropriate version, so that I don’t mess with my normal configuration. If there were a bug in the implementation of portable/local configuration mode, I would have seen it by now.)

    If this is not working for you, then either you have deleted the doLocalConf.xml file from the portable folder, or you have set the Cloud folder or the new -settingsDir command line option set to point to your AppData folder. (I cannot think of any other way it could have happened.)

    You can look in the ? > Debug Info, and it will say Local Conf Mode: ON if it’s in portable / local configuration mode; if so, the settings it is using are in the local folder, not in the user profile. If that says OFF, then you don’t have the doLocalConfig.xml, so you aren’t in portable mode anymore.



  • @PeterJones
    Do you place the Notepad++ folder in c:\Program Files ?
    Because, when you do that, it will ignore doLocalConf.xml and place plugins and config in %APPDATA%

    As this is the way it works now, I can’t see the difference with using the installer.





  • @bokeron2020 said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    Because, when you do that, it will ignore doLocalConf.xml and place plugins and config in %APPDATA%

    I just tested a portable installer for 8.1.1 x64 and can confirm it does start to use %appdata%\Notepad++ once the folder is relocated to the Program Files folder. I’m thinking there are some smarts in the program that identifies where it’s running from and if in the Program Files folder it resorts to the profile method (%appdata%) of storing configuration data.

    I suppose the idea is that if you want to store the program under Program Files then just use the regular installer. The portable version is used to create the files in other locations and not tell Windows it’s an installed program.

    And as you suggested, that has been the process for sometime (your link), which by the way backs up my statement above, so if not wanted to be installed under Program Files folder, use the portable version.

    Terry



  • This post is deleted!


  • @Terry-R
    I preferred the portable version because it kept all the plugins and config in an easier to reach folder under Program Files. Now this has changed.

    So, going back to my original question… what’s the difference now with using the installer version instead?



  • @bokeron2020 said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    what’s the difference now with using the installer?

    Well, going out on a limb here as I don’t know the intent of the developers but…
    I would not want to have to support 2 different versions of the same program (x64/x86 aside). So if I were to support an “installer” version and a “portable” version I would include some smarts in the code so that if either (given it’s the same code in both it really means both) is located within the appropriate “Program Files” folder that means it was “installed” (OK installed or located will result in the same response from the program). In this case the program will resort to using the %appdata%\Notepad++ location to store profile unique configuration data. If the folder is located elsewhere then it means it was created without use of the OS “installer helper” and therefore cannot rely on (possibly just does NOT want to rely on) any environment variables or registry keys and will resort to locating everything within it’s own folder structure.

    I see now you deleted the post and posted anew. You ask “why now”. Do you know for a fact that the process has just changed, like a previous portable version DID work when located under “Program Files”? I’ve never really used the portable version except when someone asked about something and I’ve used it to test so not changing my “installed” version, so I can’t comment on if/when this concept changed.

    Terry



  • @Terry-R said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    Do you know for a fact that the process has just changed, like a previous portable version DID work when located under “Program Files”?

    Actually just read more from the link you provided and I saw this (Meta Chuh Dec 7, 2018, 9:17 AM )

    So it basically states that the portable version is NOT permitted under the program files folder. I’m not privy to the reason behind that, except to suggest my idea above might play a part in that, or it could just be that to put into that folder requires admin privileges.

    Terry



  • @Terry-R
    It looks like I’m not explaining myself clearly.

    I’m not asking “why now” nor how or why it works like this.
    I want to learn if -since now it behaves like this- there’s any difference/advantage/disadvantage using portable or installer for someone who places the folder under Program Files.



  • @bokeron2020 said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    for someone who places the folder under Program Files.

    And I just showed you a link which says DON’T or at least it was meant that you should not attempt to do so.

    Given it appears to have been this way for a long time and you are the first to attempt this shows just how unusual this is.

    You have the background information and the reality of what happens when you try, so just accept it and use the regular installed version. If you really want to NOT have a %appdata% configuration option, consider the “run as admin” option for running Notepad++ (on an “installed” version). Of course there may well be other problems you find when doing that.

    Personally I would just install/create the portable version elsewhere, it’s not the end of the world to have apps NOT under Program Files, in spite of what Microsoft might say.

    Terry



  • @Terry-R

    OK, so it wasn’t me not explaining it properly, it’s the usual answer in any forum when you ask something and people tells you what you should do instead or try to reinvent your question. Frustrating as ever will be.

    I do appreciate the time you’re spending with me, Terry… but how about answering what I did ask and not what I didn’t? I don’t want to come through as rude… but frankly, internet is infuriating when these “question > answer but non answer” occur.

    I want to know JUST this… once again:

    Does someone in the forum know, for my unthinkable case, my illogical intentions, my wrong way of using my computer and all the sins I’ve comitted and will still commit against all that is sacred in the Windows Universe… what on earth is the difference between copying the portable version to Programs Folder or using the installer instead?



  • @bokeron2020
    Mental fuse just blown, sorry.
    Programs Folder = Program Files.



  • @bokeron2020 said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    what on earth is the difference between copying the portable version to Programs Folder or using the installer instead?

    So to answer that question there are probably 2 differences, at least seen thus far.

    1. You get the result you experienced where Notepad++ spots where it’s running from and uses the %appdata% folder, against your wishes.
    2. If copying a “portable” version anywhere on the system, it is not listed as an installed app in the Windows Settings. So cannot be uninstalled via that method. But this allows non-admins to “install” and use these apps.

    There may be other differences, but who cares. No-one; except maybe yourself; is ever going to copy the portable version into a folder it’s not supposed to be in. And that is by edict from the developers!

    At think at this point it’s probably you who does not get it. JUST DON’T DO IT! Any problems you get will be by virtue of not listening to reason. I’m not trying to be mean or angry at you, just explaining it for what it is.

    Terry

    Terry



  • Yeah, I am the only being on earth to do this… despite some people did it before as you should have read in the link I posted.

    I do get it. I should stop asking anything in forums unless I want useless discussions like this one.

    So, for anyone else who still cares to answer, the question still stands:

    What is the difference?



  • @bokeron2020 said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    I should stop asking anything in forums unless I want useless discussions like this one.

    Actually, this discussion has been far from useless. There are things I didn’t know here.

    So, for anyone else who still cares to answer, the question still stands:

    What is the difference?

    This is probably not going to get an answer here, due to the small number of people reading it. Sure, there are many users of this forum, but I’d say the typical case is “jump on, post my question, get my answer, jump off never to return”.

    Given the small number likely to read, the likelihood of someone with the knowledge to answer is low.

    And, as this is not a true support forum, but rather a user community (users helping users), a developer isn’t likely to see this and answer.



  • @bokeron2020

    What is the difference?

    It’s been answered plenty of times. You just don’t like the answer. But I’ll try again.

    If you put the portable in the Program Files directory, then the difference between the installer and the portable is that installer comes as an executable file which automatically copies all of the appropriate files into AppData first, and sets up file associations; whereas the portable is just a zipfile that you have to extract yourself into the Program Files subfolder that you chose, and it will just lump everything in the Program Files, and then when Notepad++ runs and sees that it’s not willing to use Program Files to store user config data, it will copy some of the appropriate files into AppData. And, because it’s not designed to work that way, or tested to work properly in that condition, there’s a good chance that it will unearth bugs that would be avoided if you just used the installer to install in Program Files or just used the portable to run from some folder other than Program Files as designed. (That’s not an attack or a judgement call. It’s just a statement of fact about the program: it was designed to work differently between the two modes, and if you are trying to make one more look more like the other, then there’s a good chance it will get confused.)

    Going back to earlier posts from you

    I preferred the portable version because it kept all the plugins … under Program Files

    And since v7.6.3 in 2018, the same is true of the installed version. (Actually, I thought that was true of v7.5.9 and earlier as well… though then, I think maybe that the plugin DLLs could go in either the Program Files or in the AppData hierarchy; but it’s been about 3 years since I’ve actively used that version, so I don’t remember for sure.)

    I preferred the portable version because it kept all the … config in an easier to reach folder under Program Files.

    I am sorry, and I’m sure you’ll think this is attacking you or something, but I fail to see how %AppData%\Notepad++ is so much harder to access than %Program Files%\Notepad++ – using windows variables, it’s actually a shorter path to type.

    the question still stands:

    At the time you had said that, Terry had given you plenty of differences – including the two enumerated in his numbered list, which I will paraphrase as “1) if you run the portable from Program Files, then the portable behaves as you described, rather than like the portable run from anywhere else (whereas if you run the installed from Program Files, it behaves exactly as the installed is intended to behave” and “2) If you copy the portable into Program Files, then Notepad++ won’t show up in the list of installed apps in Windows settings”. Those were two differences that met your requirements for how you demanded we answer you, and you still didn’t accept it. I have given you more differences, but I doubt you will accept them, either.

    To sum up:

    1. Notepad++ was designed with the idea of the installer going to Program Files or the portable going into any other directory; and design decisions around v7.6.3 in 2018 reinforced that design ethos.
    2. If you install Notepad++ in Program Files
      1. the plugins go in Program Files
      2. user config files go in AppData;
      3. it can automatically set file associations and create the right click menu in Windows Explorer
      4. it will show up in Windows’ list of Installed programs, which means (among other things)
        • you can use the WIndows settings “Uninstall” feature to remove Notepad++
        • Notepad++ will show up in the “Open With” list of known apps
    3. If you unzip the portable Notepad++ in some other folder
      1. plugins will go in the unzipped folder
      2. config files will go in the unzipped folder
      3. it will not automatically set file associations or create right-click context menus in Windows Explorer
      4. it will not show up in the list of Windows installed programs, meaning
        • you cannot uninstall using windows dialogs
        • Notepad++ will not by default be in the “Open With”, and you will have to browse for the executable rather than picking it from the list
    4. If you unzip the portable Notepad++ into Program Files
      1. It will ignore doLocalConf.xml and still place config files in AppData
      2. It will still store plugins in the Program Files hierarchy
      3. It won’t create associations or right-click context menus
      4. it will not show up in the list of Windows installed programs
        • you cannot uninstall using windows dialogs
        • Notepad++ will not by default be in the “Open With”, and you will have to browse for the executable rather than picking it from the list
      5. You run the risk of uncovering a bug that wouldn’t ever show up if you used the program as intended by the designers

    If that list of differences is not sufficient, I am sorry. But that’s the best I can do.



  • @Alan-Kilborn said in Installer vs. zip in WIndows 10:

    This is probably not going to get an answer here

    When I said that I should have said:

    “This is probably not going to get an answer here that will satisfy the OP”

    :-)



  • @PeterJones

    Despite your patronizing tone and your lack of perspective and empathy, your “to sum up” part is… the answer to the only question I made.

    I don’t care what anyone else think I should do, what should I expect or their point of view about what I find easier or not. I preferred the way the program worked before but I’m not even complaining about it, I SIMPLY wanted to learn what is the difference now between the two install methods available.

    So, this is it. Bye.



  • Approaching this head-banging session <grin> from the left field:

    1. Install the installer version
    2. unzip the portable version in a separate folder NOT in the Program Files tree
    3. run a file/folder compare program across the 2+folders (PF & AppData .vs. portable)
    4. the static differences should now be apparent
    5. for the dynamic, operational differences I believe that @PeterJones summary is the best encapsulation of what I’ve absorbed from a few years of usage, manual reading and some forum browsing.

    Disclosure: I’ve not done this comparison, as I avoid letting Windows control the installation of programs as much as possible; but I’m pretty sure there won’t be any .exe/.dll file content differences and the only differences would show up in the .xml configuration files. I have extracted the individual files from an installation file using 7zip and found no differences in the .exe & .dll files .vs. the files found in the matching portable version.


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