Documentation/How Tos/Starting With a Clean Installation

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Starting Over With A Clean Installation

There may come a time when you need to perform a clean reinstallation of Apache OpenOffice. No previous settings should be imported from the previous installation. This is not complicated, but it requires one important manual step. First let me explain where the Apache OpenOffice folders are to be found.

The folders 2.x occupies two folders with some subfolders on your computer, one for the installed files and one for your user settings. If you have downloaded a single big Apache OpenOffice file, a third folder is involved during installation.

Since 3, the installed files are split up into two different directories inside the program files folder.

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The following text needs some work. The platform differences between Windows, Linux, Mac OS X are not mentioned wherever that is necessary. The new three-layer concept for the installation folders of OOo 3 is not explained where it is necessary.

The download version

If you have downloaded your version, you most possibly have a very big download file in your browser's download directory, and a folder with a name like " installation files". This folder is by default on your desktop, but you can change the location in one of the first dialogs of the Setup program.

The very big download file has an .exe extension on Windows. It is a self-extracting archive file. You double-click it, and a dialog asks you for the folder where to store the installation files. After installation is finished, you can delete the big file.

The " installation files" folder can be deleted, too, once the installation is finished.

The Setup program

After the self-extracting big archive file has created the " installation files" folder it automatically calls the setup program from inside that folder.

This setup program displays some dialogs where you can choose the folder and modules to install. To change the default settings, you must select the custom installation.

After setup, you can find the shared files (formerly known as the "network installation" files) at these places:

  • On Windows systems in a folder that has a name like C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenOffice <versionnumber>
  • On Linux systems that folder may be located in /opt/
(normally, the version number of Apache OpenOffice is a part of that folder names, like "OpenOffice 4")

All users that want to run Apache OpenOffice should have "read and execute" permissions for these files, but only the administrator should have "write" permissions.

The setup program also installs a desktop integration, either for you or for all users on the machine. This essentially means there are some links in your Start menu that call the programs from the "network installation/programs" folder.

Now, when you or any user starts an executable program file of Apache OpenOffice the first time, the Welcome dialog is displayed. Accept the license and continue through the dialog pages. At the end of this stage, the "profile" folder from the shared "network installation" folder will be automatically copied to your home folder and renamed to "user".

  • On Linux systems, you now have a hidden folder like ~/
  • On Windows systems, this is the folder C:\Documents and Settings\your_name\Application data\OpenOffice\<version number>\user
  • On Windows Vista systems, this is the folder C:\Users\your_name\AppData\Roaming\\user
(add the version number to the OpenOffice folder name)

You may need to enable viewing hidden and system files to be able to see this folder.

Clean Removal of All Config Files

So, after this long explanation, you know some facts about the file structure of Apache OpenOffice on your system.

So, what happens at deinstallation time? When an administrator with write permissions to the "network installation" files starts a deinstallation, this only removes the "network installation" files. All the "user" folders of all users are still there. These folders contain the customized configuration that the users have set up, among other files like custom wordbooks, custom autotexts, and much more.

This means if there might be some problem with the user configuration, that uninstalling and reinstalling will not help at all. The user configuration gets not changed by a reinstallation. At least this is true for small upgrades from one developer snapshot to the next. There may be some changes when you install a new release version to the same network folder as the old version. But normally this would not happen, because release versions have different folder names for the "network installation" folder.

What to do? The right way to perform a clean reinstallation, deleting all existing user settings from previous versions, is as follows:

  1. First, as an administrator, uninstall the "network installation" files.
  2. Then delete the "user" folder from the user's home directory, as stated above. If you do not want a clean reinstallation, do not touch this user folder. You will lose all your user settings and user extensions.
    If in doubt, just rename that folder or move it to another place.
  3. Then remove the " installation files" folder if it exists.
  4. Now the admin can perform an installation of the new "network installation" folder, and every user can start Apache OpenOffice again to automatically copy the "profile" folder to the "user" folder.

After a clean install, every user must set all the personal settings again. Documents that have been saved to other folders are still there, of course.

Content on this page is licensed under the Public Documentation License (PDL).
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