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There are three key elements to installation, definable across the various pages of the installation wizard, allowing you to control what gets installed, and where:

  • Platform Version – connecting to Altium's cloud-based platform repository, you will be presented with a list of versions and revisions of Altium Designer that can be installed. Simply choose the base platform of Altium Designer as required.
  • Design Functionality – allowing you to specify which features are installed initially. So whether you are concerned only with PCB Design, or Soft Design, or both, now is your chance to tailor the install (albeit at a coarse level) to suit your needs. This will also have an impact on the initial installation time too!
  • Install Location – allowing you to specify the destination folders for the install, in terms of both the Program Files and Shared Documents install locations. These locations become especially important when [installing multiple revisions of the same platform version].

The installation itself proceeds in only a fraction of the time compared to previous installation of the software (Summer 09 and earlier). The reason for this being that only a base install of the software is performed, in conjunction with chosen initial features. This allows you to get installed, up and running in the quickest time possible. Once installed, you can further refine your installation, in terms of available features and functionality, from within Altium Designer itself.

Where are the Examples and Libraries?

We all can appreciate using examples to get us up-and-running with specific aspects of the software. At times, such examples showcase a feature, or set of features, that makes the learning curve a little less steep. In a similar fashion, we like to have access to a pre-developed set of libraries, giving us a boost in the choice of components we can use 'out-of-the-box'.

Rest-assured that we very much still have a host of example design projects and component libraries available for you to explore and use within your installation of Altium Designer. Use the following links to access pages containing links to download examples and libraries as required:

A limited selection of example designs are installed by default through the Examples plugin, part of the System Components category of core system plugins. In addition, further reference designs and component libraries are available through AltiumLive Vault Services, contained within vaults located on the Content page of the AltiumLive community website.

Installing Multiple Revisions of the same Platform Version

The ability to install multiple different releases of Altium Designer on the same computer has been around for a while allowing you, for example, to fire up Summer 08, Winter 09 and Summer 09 releases if and when needed. However, the ability to install multiple individual builds of the same release of the software has not been possible – until now.

The Installation and Content Management System brings a structural change to the way the software is installed, enabling you to install different revisions of the same version of Altium Designer Platform. The beauty of installing different build revisions lies in the fact that you can quickly access a previous build revision directly, and independently, whereas an upgrade to the platform revision effectively replaces the earlier build with the later one.

Installation Folders

There are two important factors, two key elements if you will, that facilitate the installation of multiple individual build revisions of the same platform version:

  • Ability to specify different destination folders during the initial install, in terms of both the Program Files and Shared Documents install locations.
  • The system's use of a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) for each independent build revision install. This identifier – which uses the standard 128-bit URN model and is displayed as a 32-character hexadecimal number – is used to uniquely distinguish the application data folders, as well as entries in the registry. When you run a particular build revision instance of Altium Designer, the system handles, through use of this identifier, only those files and registry entries specific to that build revision.

The following sections provide a summary of the install folders for Altium Designer, according to operating system used. To show effectively the folder structure, two example build revisions of the Altium Designer Platform version 10 will be used – the first to be installed in the default destination folders (\AD 10), and the second to be installed along identical paths, but in different target destination folders (\AD 10 - 21yyy).

Windows 7 (or Windows Vista)

  • The main installation path for a particular build of Altium Designer is:
     
    \Program Files (x86)\Altium\<SpecifiedProgramFilesLocation>
     
    For the example builds, the paths would therefore be:
     
    \Program Files (x86)\Altium\AD 10
    \Program Files (x86)\Altium\AD 10 - 21yyy
     
  • Examples, libraries and templates for a particular build can be found in the following directory:
     
    \Users\Public\Documents\Altium\<SpecifiedSharedDocumentsLocation>
     
    For the example builds, the paths would therefore be:
     
    \Users\Public\Documents\Altium\AD 10
    \Users\Public\Documents\Altium\AD 10 - 21yyy
     
  • System application data (Mesh, Portal Cache, Updates) and security files (license ALF) for a particular build can be found in the following two directories:
     
    \ProgramData\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>
     
    \ProgramData\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>_Security
     
    For the example builds, the paths might therefore be (inserting example GUIDs):
     
    {{\ProgramData\Altium\AD 10
    Unknown macro: {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}

    {}}}{}
    {{\ProgramData\Altium\AD 10

    {}}}{}

_Security
{{\ProgramData\Altium\AD 10

Unknown macro: {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}

{}}}{}
{{\ProgramData\Altium\AD 10

{}}}{}

_Security
 

  • User application data files (including: DXP.rcs, UserTools.tlt, AdvPCB.dft, AdvSch.dft, last workspace, PCB view configurations) for a particular build can be found in the following directory:
     
    \Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>
     
    For the example builds, and a user profile of Des Igner, the paths would therefore be:
     
    {{\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Roaming\Altium\AD 10
    Unknown macro: {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}

    {}}}{}
    {{\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Roaming\Altium\AD 10

    Unknown macro: {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}

    {}}}{}
     

    • User local application data for a particular build can be found in the following directory:
       
      \Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Local\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>
       
      For the example builds, and a user profile of Des Igner, the paths would therefore be:
       
      {{\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Local\Altium\AD 10
    {}}}{}
    {{\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Local\Altium\AD 10
    Unknown macro: {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}

    {}}}{}

    Windows XP

    • The main installation path for a particular build of Altium Designer is:
       
      \Program Files\Altium\<SpecifiedProgramFilesLocation>
       
      For the example builds, the paths would therefore be:
       
      \Program Files\Altium\AD 10
      \Program Files\Altium\AD 10 - 21yyy
       
    • Examples, libraries and templates for a particular build can be found in the following directory:
       
      \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Altium\<SpecifiedSharedDocumentsLocation>
       
      For the example builds, the paths would therefore be:
       
      \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Altium\AD 10
      \Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Altium\AD 10 - 21yyy
       
    • System application data (Mesh, Portal Cache, Updates) and security files (license ALF) for a particular build can be found in the following two directories:
       
      \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>
       
      \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>_Security
       
      For the example builds, the paths might therefore be (inserting example GUIDs):
       
      {{\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\AD 10
      Unknown macro: {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}

      {}}}{}
      {{\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\AD 10

      {}}}{}

    _Security
    {{\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\AD 10

    {}}}{}
    {{\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\AD 10
    Unknown macro: {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}

    {}}}{}

    _Security
     

    • User application data files (including: DXP.rcs, UserTools.tlt, AdvPCB.dft, AdvSch.dft, last workspace, PCB view configurations) for a particular build can be found in the following directory:
       
      \Documents and Settings\<ProfileName>\Application Data\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>
       
      For the example builds, and a user profile of Des Igner, the paths would therefore be:
       
      {{\Documents and Settings\Des Igner\Application Data\Altium\AD 10
      Unknown macro: {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}
      {}}}{}
      {{\Documents and Settings\Des Igner\Application Data\Altium\AD 10
    {}}}{}
     
  • User local application data for a particular build can be found in the following directory:
     
    \Documents and Settings\<ProfileName>\Local Settings\Application Data\Altium\<PlatformVersion> <GUID>
     
    For the example builds, and a user profile of Des Igner, the paths would therefore be:
     
    {{\Documents and Settings\Des Igner\Local Settings\Application Data\Altium\AD 10
    Unknown macro: {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}
    {}}}{}
    {{\Documents and Settings\Des Igner\Local Settings\Application Data\Altium\AD 10
    Unknown macro: {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}
    {}}}{}

Uninstalling

Uninstalling Altium Designer is performed using the Altium Uninstaller. This dialog-based utility is accessed by running a small (less than 3MB) executable – AltiumUninstaller.exe. This executable is downloaded from AltiumLive and is typically saved to the same location as the AltiumInstaller.exe.


Clean downloaded data as part of an uninstall.

To fully remove your installation of Altium Designer from your computer, first clean the downloaded data (with all options selected), then select the installation and click Remove Completely.

The Global Info tab presents any installed drivers used by the system, which can also be uninstalled as required. Click the Clean button on this tab to remove all downloaded data – data that has been downloaded through the Altium Download Manager. The Items to Clean dialog will appear, from where you can determine what downloaded data to clean (flush):

  • Repository Builds Cache – the default location of which is \ProgramData\Altium\AltiumRepository (Windows 7) or \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\AltiumRepository (Windows XP).
  • Download Manager Data – located at \ProgramData\Altium\AltiumDownloadManager (Windows 7) or \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\AltiumDownloadManager (Windows XP).
  • Plugin Content Cache – located at \ProgramData\Altium\PluginContentCache (Windows 7) or \Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Altium\PluginContentCache (Windows XP).

The current size on disk that this data occupies is displayed in each case.


Clean downloaded data as part of an uninstall.

The Altium Designer Installations tab of the dialog provides a listing of all Altium Designer installations (AD10 and beyond) on your PC, along with an indication of whether each is currently installed or not, and the main install location (where the DXP.exe file is located). Click on the entry for a particular installation to display more detailed information in the region below, including Product Name, Version and Release Date.

Three buttons control varying degrees of 'uninstall' for the selected installation in the list as follows:

  • Uninstall – removes the install folders (program files and shared documents locations) but leaves preferences-based folders alone. This enables you to have a build that is not currently installed, but whose preferences can still be reused, for example by importing into another installed build.
  • Remove Preferences – removes just the preferences-based folders, covering system application data and security files, user application data files and user local application data.
  • Remove Completely – total removal of the entire installation (i.e. installation folders and preferences folders).


Streamlined uninstall courtesy of the Altium Uninstaller.

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