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When updating software on Windows which is already installed, what is best practise?

Is it better to uninstall the old version first, and then run the new installer, or will all installers have the facility to upgrade automatically?

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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Is it better to uninstall the old version first, and then run the new installer, or will all installers have the facility to upgrade automatically?

Depending of the installer. Some do a "clean" on your filesystem to erase some useless files, cleanly remove the old unused file, but also a lot of them don't do this at all.

It's really depending of the installer, and more, of the developper of the application if he is good.

On Windows, you have a good utils to delete your old register tables, clean some logfiles etc..

http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner/download

Just take the Free Version, it's good. Don't forget to make a save of you registry before any change (All is explain in the app).

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Thanks, so for most professional software I can probably assume it'll cleanly upgrade. CCleaner looks useful. –  yix32 Nov 17 '11 at 9:34
    
CC Cleaner is really usefull. You just have to follow all the step. Be carefull, don't forget to make a save of your registry before starting all clean. It can save your life ;). Yes i think you can assume it's clean. You will probably gain a really little performance on a fresh clean, but don't think the time to uninstall / reinstall Is worth it. –  Erowlin Nov 17 '11 at 13:09
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@yix32: It depends on which "professional" software. There are numerous cases of "amateur" software providing a far better user experience. ie Graphic driver installer and security software are two areas were the professional arena have traditionally had their tails handed to them by the unpaid and hobbyist developer. –  surfasb Nov 17 '11 at 18:25
    
-1, registry cleaners are bad news. –  Harry Johnston Nov 21 '11 at 20:46
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Personally I always install the newer version, the vast majority of installations will look for old versions... Ones that don't will usually error and tell you to uninstall the old version first.

If the installation completes and the program is installed in the same folder i wouldn't worry too much - aslong as all updated files are overwritten.

Any problems, uninstall newest version, then uninstall the older copy, reboot and then install the newer copy again. The very few times this needs to be done far outweigh the ease/speed of the vast number of other installations which will fall in the previous categories.

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