Version 4 Updates in 30 Seconds

The process of installing updates to Alchemy Mindworks’ version 4 applications is somewhat more involved than was the case for their ancestors. While doing so will unquestionably entail more clicking than users of our products may be used to – for which we’re suitably contrite – you can minimize the additional work required if you understand what the little man behind the curtain is up to.

Earlier releases of our software used a custom installer that we wrote, and as such, that we were able to nuance into being a fairly effortless installation experience. It was typically done with an installation so quickly as to make describing its activities as an “experience” just this side of pretentious.

pictureNot to put too fine a point on it, Windows 7 – and increasingly, some of the third-party security applications popular among users of Windows XP – broke our old installer. The only workable way to install our software was to transition to the Microsoft installer database – the MSI downloadable installers that package our version 4 products.

In doing so, our installations became subject to Microsoft’s rules. One of these rules has it that an installer can’t install new software over an existing application. In order to install an update to an existing product, you have to uninstall the previous version.

This is, admittedly, a notable inconvenience. We’re actively looking for a way around it. Until such time as we find one, however, we’re all stuck with this requirement.

This said, you can make the task of installing upgrades to your Alchemy Mindworks software way easier by the applications of some stealth and forethought.

Gaming your Mouse

The first thing that you should keep in mind is that you can quickly uninstall an existing Alchemy Mindworks version 4 product, in preparation for an update, without having to drill down to the Windows Control Panel.

  1. Click on Start in the Windows task bar.
  2. Select Programs.
  3. Select Alchemy Mindworks from the Programs menu.
  4. Select the section for the application you’re about to update, for example, Graphic Workshop Professional 4.
  5. Select the Uninstall item from the sub-menu that appears.

Windows will prompt you to confirm your intent to remove the selected software, and then send its files into cosmic oblivion.

This said, uninstalling an Alchemy Mindworks product won’t remove any files you created after it was installed. It won’t remove your configuration settings, Graphic Workshop browser windows, thumbnails or any of the other personal configuration items you’ve set up. When you complete the installation of your update, your application will be just as you left it.

picture When you install or update an Alchemy Mindworks version 4 application and you get to the end of its validation process, you’ll be presented with a screen like the one shown here that will offer to print a hard-copy record of your registration details, and save them in a text file in your My Documents folder. The former is a really good way to prevent the loss of your registration keys and your related account information. The latter will make installing subsequent updates effortless.

We strongly urge you to do both. Note that you only need do so once for each application.

Assuming that you have previously allowed your application to save its registration details to a text file in My Documents, here’s how to install an update. In this example, we’ll look at updating Graphic Workshop Professional 4. The procedure is identical for other Alchemy Mindworks version 4 software, save for a few name changes.

  1. Uninstall your existing installation of Graphic Workshop Professional 4, as detailed earlier in this post.
  2. Download and install the new update for Graphic Workshop Professional 4, typically GraphicWorkshopProfessional.msi.
  3. Run Graphic Workshop Professional 4 – you’ll find a shortcut in the Windows Start menu to access it quickly.
  4. Click on Enter your Registration Key in the Unregistered Evaluation Software window. The Enter Registration Key window will open, and all its fields will be populated. It found everything it needed to do so in the aforementioned text file in your My Documents folder.
  5. Click on next, and as soon as Graphic Workshop has had a brief word with our validation server, it will be good to go.

It will unquestionably have required a lot longer to read the foregoing procedure than it will to complete it.

While we regret the additional work Windows’ growing security and paranoia has imposed on our users, we hasten to add that updating our products need not be as onerous as some users have found it. The foregoing can be history in well under a minute – excluding the download time for the update itself – and that’s not too far removed from what our previous-generation installers could manage.

The added security and general freedom from installation issues should make the slight additional effort inherent in MSI installations well worth it – if you believe in that sort of thing. Benjamin Franklin is said to have observed that “he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.” We’re with Ben on this one – he’d never have put up with Windows.

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