RT installation choices

I see that the automated build page https://github.com/Beep6581/RawTherapee/releases/tag/nightly has both .exe and .zip files for the latest RT windows builds. My question is not about why there are two different types of installs, but how would each type of install change the overall experience of using RT on a windows 10 computer?

I have always thought that using an .exe install adds the necessary folders to the installation drive e.g. “C” and writes the necessary information to the registry as well. If that doesn’t happen in the same way when using the .zip install then I would imagine that the RT program would not launch or operate in the same way as when doing an .exe install.

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I think for the end user, the main difference would be not having right click open with integration in the zip version.

As a former Windows user, I guess RT will work just like any other piece of software, and which version will you download depends on the kind of user you are:

  • an exe file usually is an install program which will write what is needed in the registry and maybe other places, so once installed the program becomes properly integrated in the system. That usually means double clicking certain types of files to always open the same program. Or having certain entries in the context menu. Aside from that, the program operates in exactly the same way (internally)

  • a zip file usually is an standalone version of the program, and you decide where you want it placed, and run it without system integration. That means the program doesn’t tamper the registry, nor any system file. At any moment you can decide you want RT in another hard-disk or directory, and with this system all you have to do is moving it and you’re done. But in the end RT will operate the same

Some say a program not installed, but just unzipped (i.e. a portable program) takes more disk space up. But I used to prefer those programs, because they didn’t touch the easily corruptible Windows registry.

Your choice

As a first installation I always use the exe to create the folders and registry entries. After that I always use the zip and just copy the full content to previously installed folder. Why? Simply to get rid of the dozens of uninstall entries in the registry …

I gather that what your saying is that RT doesn’t need to write to the registry in order to function completely? So, when working from an the unpacked .zip file, functionality is exactly the same as working from the .exe install?

That might be the case, though I find it hard to believe.

What kind of functional differences would you expect to see between an installer and portable version?

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean by completely.

If it is having an «Open with…» or «Edit with…» entry in the context menu, then no, that’s not included. Although that’s not a feature of RawTherapee, but something on the OS part. Once launched, RT will work the same.

If you mean double clicking a raw file and automatically opening RT, then no, that’s not included. Although it’s pretty easy to add that functionality for the zip version.

It just come to mind that maybe you need to use the command line version of RT in a random folder with raw files. And no, in the zip version the RT path is not included in the OS path. But that also can be added quite easily.

Other than this, I can’t figure what other features outside RT are installed with the exe version. But I would be happy to learn something.

XavAL, not to be misunderstood, I was seeking answers as to what functionality differences there were which to the best of your knowledge you have just clarified. Thank you!

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The most important thing is, that the registry entry to the uninstaller depends on the commit (or better said on the name of the installer). So if you regularly install dev versions you end up with a big registry where all the paths inside the uninstaller block point to the same files… that’s the reason why I take the zip file …



Makes sense. I will do it your way from now on.



When 5.9 is released, would you do an .exe install or continue with unpacked .zip copies to the original RT folder?

@stuntflyer Mike, for a release version I would always go with the installer, except in two cases: 1) you have made very specific changes to your RT installation yourself (like messing around with adding/removing color profiles, entries to camconst.json etc) which may otherwise be overwritten, and you need to cherry-pick files, or 2) you want to run RT as a portable application because you cannot / do not want to install stuff on your computer.

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I fully agree on this!

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I will go with the installer on the release version. Thanks Roel and Karl