Installing in parallel on Windows

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This page provides instruction on how to Install multiple copies of LibreOffice in Parallel on Windows.

Introduction

In this article, the procedure for performing a "user installation" will be presented.

Note:

  • The procedure is different for different operative systems (OSes), and, within each OS, for each of the different packaging systems used on those OSes.
  • Old LibreOffice releases are archived here.


SI-GUI

Installation GUI

The Fastest/Easiest Way: The Separate Install GUI is a powerful tool that will help you manage multiple installations of LibreOffice on Windows.

Other

Administrative Installation

On Windows you have to perform a so-called administrative install. The installation file needs to be an MSI package – a file with the .msi extension.

Up to LibreOffice version 3.4.x the MSI package is included in the .exe file you download and has to be extracted from the .exe file.

Since version 3.5.x the downloaded file is already the MSI package itself.

If you don't want to use the command line or do not understand the instructions on this page, it might be worth to take a closer look at the Separate Install GUI program.

Installation Folder

The administrative install asks you to select an Installation Folder. You don't have to create one upfront. A good practice is to install all programs in a sub-folder of <C:\Program Files> (for 32-bit Windows) or <C:\Program Files (x86)> (for 64-bit Windows).

Administrative rights

In Windows 7 you will need administrative rights to run the installation. To do this you have to start the command prompt in the following way: Start ▸ Accessories ▸ right click on Command Prompt ▸ select Run as Administrator. A Command Prompt window with the title "Administrator: Command Prompt" should open, with C:\Windows\System32> inside.

For Windows XP and Vista just start the Command Prompt with a left click. No administrative rights are needed.

Version 3.4.x or older

You downloaded one or two .exe files:

  • one for the program itself (LibO_<version>_Win_x86_multi.exe) and
  • (optionally) one for the built-in help (LibO_<version>_Win_x86_helppack-en.exe).

For both files you have to execute the following steps:

  1. First extract the contents of the .exe file into a folder, using different names for each folder. This can be done with an unzip program like 7-Zip.
    Alternatively you can just double click the .exe files, but then you have to cancel the installation when asked to install the program.
  2. Now you have to open the Command Prompt as described above. Navigate to the folder with the extracted files.
  3. Once in the folder you enter
    dir *.msi
    
    to get the correct name. Here we assume the name is LibreOffice34.msi.
  4. Now you enter the following line into the command prompt:
    msiexec /a libreoffice34.msi
    
    and the installation program should start.

The installation program asks for the install folder (ATTENTION: This can not be the folder with the unzipped files). You have to use the same folder for both .exe files (the program itself and the built-in help).

Version 3.5.x and newer

You downloaded one or more .msi files:

  • one for the program (LibO_<version>_Win_x86_multi.msi),
  • optionally one or more for your help system languages (LibO_<version>_Win_x86_helppack-en.msi)
  • optionally one for the SDK (LibO-SDK_<version>_Win_x86_install_multi.msi).

Now you have to perform the following steps for the program, help and SDK:

  1. Open the Command Prompt as described above.
  2. Once in the download folder you enter
    dir *.msi
    
    to get the correct names.
  3. You start the installation with the command
    msiexec /a LibO_<version>_Win_x86_multi.msi
    
    You can also specify the target directory in the command line, for example:
    msiexec /a LibO_<version>_Win_x86_multi.msi TARGETDIR="L:\3.6.0"
    
    (The <version> has to be replaced by the actual one.)
  4. For the Help files enter the command:
    msiexec /a LibO_<version>_Win_x86_helppack-en.msi
    
    and for the SDK
    msiexec /a LibO-SDK_<version>_Win_x86_install_multi.msi
    

The installation program asks for the install folder (ATTENTION: This can not be the download folder). You have to use the same folder for all files. It cannot be the same folder as the download folder because the install program creates a different .msi file with the same name as the downloaded ones. This conflict will abort installation with an error message like "Internal Error 2203. ... LibO-Dev_3.6.0beta1_Win_x86_install_multi.msi, -2147287008".

You get the same error if you do not run the Command Prompt as administrator in Windows 7.

Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime DLLs

LibreOffice dynamically links to Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime DLLs. These DLLs may or may not installed in your system. They are not part of the operating system. The normal installation of LibreOffice installs these DLLs if necessary. However, when you do an administrative install, and you cannot start LibreOffice because it misses Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime DLLs, for example MSVCR110.dll, you need to install Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime DLLs on your own. Google for "MSVC Runtime download", download the redistributable file from Microsoft and install it. For example, MSVCR100.dll is in Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2012 Update 4. Alternatively, if you look in the installed folder, there will be a Win/System folder that contains these required DLLs, which you can then copy to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.

User Configuration

  1. Use a file manager to find the file "bootstrap.ini" in "..\<installed>\program" and if necessary edit the row
    • from original "UserInstallation=$SYSUSERCONFIG/LibreOffice/3"
    • to the new: "UserInstallation=$ORIGIN/../Data/settings"

During the first run, the application will put user-settings in the named directory "UserInstallation", and LibreOffice will be ready to run.

( Note: This will install the data/settings/user-settings within the same directory as the application. But I'm not really sure that any remaining "normal-windows-settings" in "../applications/LibreOffice" will have side-effects. Please report if you observe errors.)

To start the application, run "soffice.exe" from explorer or from link on desktop.

Note: one should keep old and new versions of bootstrap.ini in a safe place.

Installation Cleanup

The parallel installation does a full extraction of the contents of the installation file, as the installation doesn't provide you with the options to customize the installation. As a result, ~500mb is taken up by language localization files that are most likely not needed by user. So if you wish to recover this wasted space, you can remove the folder "<installed>\readmes", "<installed>\fonts", and "<installed>\Win" OR "<installed>\Windows". You can also remove the .msi file found in "<installed>\". The redundant language localizations files can be found in "<installed>\program\resources", "<installed>\share\registry\res", and "<installed>\share\extensions", but only delete the ones that are not for the language you run LibreOffice in. There is also an easy batch script that can be run in "<installed>\" which will do this work for you. This batch script can also be used for cleaning up installations done with the Server Install GUI.

Uninstall

These administrative installations do *not* show up in the Windows uninstall options (Add or Remove Programs).

To uninstall the administrative installations you just delete the install folder.

MinGW Version

The compressed MinGW builds simply have to be decompressed, then they can be used by a double-click on soffice.exe in the program folder, similar to a Portable Version.