Install problems for classroom use

The current installer is neither a proper user install nor a proper system install, and the middle-ground where it sits makes it virtually impossible to deploy and use in a classroom situation.

Like a system install, TinyCAD shows up in the "Programs and Features" control panel for all users of the computer, is in the 'HKLM:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\', and the program files are in the protected, %programfiles% folder. This means only admins can install or uninstall it.

That would be fine, except the install also puts the libraries in the installing user's documents and uses the installing user's HKCU registry to store the path to the libraries. This means only the admin who installed the software will have access to the libraries and the default path identified.

TinyCAD would be much better off if it was a true system install where the libraries were placed in a "shared" location and the default path was held in HKLM (or an .INI file). If the program were able to layer several library locations, you could have the default library for the computer as well as a personal library for each user. That would allow sysadmins/instructors to provide a set of standard (possibly customized) libraries to all users while allowing the users to make their own.

If the developers are against a system, multi-user install, then the TinyCAD installer should be a true user install where admin rights are not required because *all* the files are in the user profile and the HKCU registry key is used.

The NSIS installer is capable of doing either system or user installs. At the very least, could there be a portable TinyCAD without an installer that runs entirely from it's own directory?

I just want to make this useful tool available to more people.


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  • It has been a long time since I posted this. I am still interested in a fix.

    Originally, my interest was twofold: I was supporting student labs that wanted to use TinyCAD and I became the maintainer of the Chocolatey package for TinyCAD ( which could make it dead simple to install

    Part of my interest has passed because I have changed my job (although I still have an affinity for my former clients).

    However, when Matt Pyne announced that there is a new version of TinyCAD on the horizon, I felt it was necessary to ask if there were any way to get the install issue fixed. I had a conversation with Don Lucas when I originally posted in which I thought given some effort I might be able to change the NSIS installer (.NSI) file to put user-files in a more proper location. While I might be (or have been) able to change that, I do not have the skill to change the code within TinyCAD to tell it to look in the new location(s). Thus, I think the solution must be multi-pronged.

    I get nothing out of a fix for this issue other than the satisfaction that a nice piece of software is now available to a wider audience due (in part) to my effort (or annoying persistence).


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