MARC Report: Multiple installations
It is useful to compare behaviors of different program versions, especially when one has made a data investment and is concerned about any changes that could impact that investment.
The recommended method for comparing different versions of MARC Report is to use different computers.
This page is designed to provide a workaround where this is not possible; it describes a scenario to support multiple installations of different versions of MARC Report on the same computer.
Before starting out, if you have been using the program before, you may want to check whether there are already multiple copies of the program installed. Follow these steps to ensure a clean install environment.
When MARC Report is launched, regardless of the version, the first thing it does is 'ask Windows' where your My Documents folder is located. As there is only one answer to that question (by definition), this means that whatever version of the program you run, it will attempt to use the same folder and files for your user-customizable support files.
This user support folder is typically located in:
–but it may be in a very different location in your environment.
When the program starts it makes sure that all of the default support files are present. If it finds that a file is missing, it will copy the missing file over from the installation folder. In addition, it reads your preferences from a file in this folder
and when the program is closed, it writes the preferences back to this file.
Thus, if you have installed version 249, and you use the steps on this page to re-install, for example, version 244 (because you want to examine a behavior that appears to have changed), and then double-click the shortcut you created for version 244, parts of the 249 environment might be overwritten by those from the 244 environment. In addition, if the name of the support file hasn't changed, but the data within it has changed, then the version 244 installation might be loading data from a 249 installation1).
If you have not customized your options, then this approach might work out. And even if you have customized the options, its still possible that this approach might work, as long as there is no change to the options in question between the versions being compared.
Another workaround might be to manually–or better yet, write a script to–swap out the user folder each time the program starts. But this approach might be prone to human error.
To guarantee a clean environment for each different version, we need a way to automatically support a separate “MarcReport” user folder for each version.
Beginning with version 242 of MARC Report, there is a solution to this problem by following the steps in this article, which describe how to setup any folder that you have access to as your MARC Report user support folder, and how to link that folder to a MARC Report installation instance.
Program Installation folder
First, when the program is installed, the user is presented with a dialog box that asks him/her where to install it.
The default location is
C:\Program Files (x86)\TMQ\MARC Report
To run multiple versions of the software, each additional version that you want to run should be installed to a version-specific folder. This is easily accomplished by appending the version number to the folder path in the 'Select Destination Location' installation dialog.
For example, for version 244, change the text in the screenshot above to
C:\Program Files (x86)\TMQ\MARC Report 244
i.e., by appending the version number to the end of the suggested installation folder.
Before starting the program, keep in mind that each installation instance will add the same 'MARC Report shortcut' to your desktop, so you will need to invent some way to keep track of which shortcut icon is pointing to which version, and rename that shortcut to include the version number. Or some variation of this strategy.
For example, you may find it easier to use the 'Pin to Taskbar' option for the default version, and then leave a shortcut for the version you are testing on the Desktop. Or, alternately, use the 'Pin to Start' menu option for the test version. Generally, shortcuts on the desktop–and shortcuts on the Start menu–display a text label, whereas shortcuts on the taskbar do not.
User Support folder
To repeat, all of the potential problems in this workaround stem from the folder that the program uses to read and save your options: My Documents\MarcReport.
If you already had MARC Report installed–
- Installation folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\TMQ\MARC Report
- User support folder: My Documents\MarcReport
–and use the Installation section above to install a later version, for example, 244:
- Installation folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\TMQ\MARC Report 244
–and differentiate the program shortcuts as described above, then the next thing to do is to copy your existing My Documents\MarcReport folder to another location on your system.
There is no restriction on the location of the copied folder, as long as you have full control over it. It might be:
My Documents\MarcReport Testing\Version 244
or simply on another drive:
or wherever you want it to be.
However, the limitation here is that wherever you copy this folder to, the name of the folder itself may not be changed. It must remain “MarcReport”
Thus, in the two examples above, the fully-qualified folder path would be:
My Documents\MarcReport Testing\Version 244\MarcReport D:\MarcReport
Finally, follow the steps here to link the new installation folder (for MARC Report 244) to the copied user support folder, by inserting the location of the new user folder in step 3.
The main thing to consider is that if you perform any manual customization of the files in your user support folder, you will have to remember to perform these customizations in each user support folder created using this workaround.
- Be sure to backup the files and folders referenced on this page and be sure that you are able to restore from the backup
- Install the version you want to test using the 'Installation' steps above
- Address the issue of program shortcuts, as described in the 'Shortcuts' section above
- Make a new user folder for the test version and link that new folder to the new installation using the 'User support' section above.