System Installation, Licensing & Management

Parent article: CircuitStudio Documentation

Installation of any software application should be straightforward, intuitive and, perhaps above all, fast. Furthermore, when you have that software installed, you want to be able to update it as and when you deem necessary, and in a streamlined fashion.

CircuitStudio provides a fast, efficient Installation Management System that caters for this very need – a system that not only expedites the initial installation process, but lets you handcraft the features available to that software at any time after installation.

Initial Install

Main article: Installing CircuitStudio

Initial installation of CircuitStudio is performed using the CircuitStudio Installer. This wizard-based installer is accessed by running a small (approx. 9MB) executable – CircuitStudioSetup.exe. This executable is downloaded from the CircuitStudio website, and can be saved anywhere on your hard disk.

Each version of the software, starting with CircuitStudio 1.0, has its own dedicated installer.


Streamlined installation courtesy of the CircuitStudio Installer.

There are two key elements to installation, definable across the various pages of the installation wizard, allowing you to control what gets installed, and where:

  • Design Functionality – allowing you to specify which features are installed initially. The PCB Design option provides the base software and core technologies required to perform PCB design. It is always installed and cannot be deselected. Use the remaining options to tailor the install to suit your needs. This will also have an impact on the initial installation time too!
  • Install Location – allowing you to specify the destination folders for the install, in terms of both the Program Files and Shared Documents install locations. These locations become especially important when installing multiple instances of CircuitStudio.

The installation itself is streamlined and fast. This allows you to get installed, and up-and-running in the quickest time possible. Once installed, you can further refine your installation, in terms of available features and functionality.

Licensing CircuitStudio

CircuitStudio includes a streamlined licensing system, enabling you to get licensed and up-and-running with your CircuitStudio Software in a timely and efficient manner. Client-side license acquisition is managed by the user through use of a standalone licensing file (*.alf). This file can be saved, copied and backed-up as required. The .alf file is reusable on a home computer (in accordance with the EULA) simply by copying the file to a specific folder on that computer and then adding the file as part of Standalone License Configuration.

License Availability, Selection and Configuration

Related article: Using a Standalone License

License configuration and selection is performed from the My Account area – one of several views available under CircuitStudio's Home page. Access this area by clicking the My Account link, in the Tasks pane of CircuitStudio's Home page.

The Home page is accessed by clicking View | System | , from the main menus.

This is 'command central' for obtaining a license. Sign-in to your CircuitStudio account to view and choose from the Standalone licenses available to you (those purchased and associated with your account).

For designers coming from a CircuitStudio trial to full purchase, it may be necessary to Sign out then sign back in to see licenses.


Accessing the My Account area.

Extending the Capabilities of CircuitStudio

Facilitating the ability to enhance your CircuitStudio instance, customization of the software is made possible through the concept of Extensions. This is a key concept of the system to understand. An extension is effectively an add-on to the software, providing extended features and functionality. A core set of features and functions are installed and handled transparently as part of the initial install, referred to as System Resources. In addition, Optional Extensions are available – packets of functionality that are optionally installed or removed by the user as required. It is the extension concept that enables the installation to be handcrafted in accordance with design needs.

Customization of a CircuitStudio installation essentially boils down to management of the available extensions. Install, update, or remove available extensions as and when you need to.

Within CircuitStudio, management of extensions for the software is performed from within the dedicated Extensions & Updates area – one of several views available under CircuitStudio's Home page. Access this area by clicking the Extensions & Updates link, in the Tasks pane of CircuitStudio's Home page.

The Home page is accessed by clicking View | System | , from the main menus.


Accessing the Extensions & Updates area - command central from which to efficiently manage the functionality available to the software.

Installing Multiple Instances of the Software

Once the base version of CircuitStudio is installed on a computer (e.g. 1.0), you can either update to a subsequent version (e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 2.0 etc), or that subsequent version can be installed as a fresh and distinct instance. The Installation System supports the concurrent installation of different instances of the software. The beauty of installing different version instances is that it enables you to quickly access a previous version directly, and independently, whereas an update effectively replaces the earlier version with the later one.

When running the installer for a subsequent version of CircuitStudio, an additional page of the CircuitStudio Installer wizard will be available – Installation Mode. This page gives you the choice of either updating an existing version instance of CircuitStudio, or installing as a separate new version instance. Choose the New installation option to maintain separate version instances of the software on the same computer. Remember to specify different destination folders for the new instance later in the wizard.


To install a separate instance, ensure the New installation option is chosen as the mode of installation.

Installation Folders

There are two important factors that facilitate the installation of multiple individual version instances of the software:

  • The ability to specify different destination folders during the install, in terms of both the Program Files and Shared Documents install locations.
  • The system's use of a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) for each independent instance. This identifier – which uses the standard 128-bit URN model and is displayed as a 32-character hexadecimal number – is used to uniquely distinguish the application data folders, as well as entries in the registry. When you run a particular instance of CircuitStudio, the system handles, through use of this identifier, only those files and registry entries specific to that instance.

The following is a summary of the default installation folders for CircuitStudio, based on a Windows 8/Windows 7 OS.

  • The default main installation path for CircuitStudio is:

\Program Files (x86)\Altium\CS

  • Examples, libraries, and templates for a default installation can be found in the following directory:

\Users\Public\Documents\Altium\CS

  • System application data (including: Extensions, Portal Cache) and security (license .alf) files for a particular instance can be found in the following two directories:

\ProgramData\Altium\CircuitStudio <GUID>
\ProgramData\Altium\CircuitStudio <GUID>_Security

For two example instances, the paths might therefore be (inserting example GUIDs): 

\ProgramData\Altium\CircuitStudio {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}
\ProgramData\Altium\CircuitStudio {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}_Security
\ProgramData\Altium\CircuitStudio {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}
\ProgramData\Altium\CircuitStudio {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}_Security

  • User application data files (including: default preferences settings, default PCB view configurations, and last workspace) for a particular instance can be found in the following directory:

\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\CircuitStudio <GUID>

For two example instances, and a user profile of Des Igner, the paths would therefore be: 

\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Roaming\Altium\CircuitStudio {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}
\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Roaming\Altium\CircuitStudio {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}

  • User local application data for a particular instance can be found in the following directory:

\Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Local\Altium\CircuitStudio <GUID>

For two example instances, and a user profile of Des Igner, the paths would therefore be: 

\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Local\Altium\CircuitStudio {7DF7280E-CD03-40A9-A6A4-DDD057140F70}
\Users\Des Igner\AppData\Local\Altium\CircuitStudio {566C1AFA-49CA-4B17-B7CB-70A2042D8DAC}

Identifying the Right Folder

For the main program installation and shared documents folders, you have the ability to give those folders meaningful names, which can come in very handy for a machine containing multiple different version instances of the software. But for other folders, they are only distinguished by their GUID. Being able to tell you have the right folder for the right version instance suddenly becomes more difficult. However, help is at hand, to allow you to quickly identify the GUID used for the currently open instance of the software and, armed with that knowledge, pick the right folder through Windows Explorer.

The GUID can be identified from the Directory field for Temporary Mesh Data, on the PCB Editor - General page of the Preferences dialog (File » System Preferences).


Identifying the GUID used for the active version instance of CircuitStudio.

Importing Preferences from a Previous Version

After installing and launching a new version instance of CircuitStudio, the designer is given the opportunity to import preferences from the most recent previous installation at startup. You have full control over whether to import all, or only some of the preferences, with the ability to select which preferences to import at the individual preferences page level.

If the option to import preferences on initial startup is not taken, don't worry – preferences can be quickly loaded, at any time, from within the Preferences dialog. Simply click the Load button at the bottom of the dialog, then browse to, and open, the required DXP Preferences File (_Profile.DXPPrf) for the previous version. This can be found in the \Users\<ProfileName>\AppData\Roaming\Altium\CircuitStudio <GUID> folder for that installation.

Changing Installed Core Functionality after Installation

During initial installation of CircuitStudio, you have a choice over the core design functionality you want to be installed. This choice is not 'set in stone' however, and can be modified at any time after installation. This can be performed from two places:

  • Internally from within CircuitStudio – from the Installed page of the Extensions & Updates area.
  • Externally from within Windows – from the standard Programs and Features page (accessed from the Control panel in Windows 8/7).

From CircuitStudio

  1. Access the Extensions & Updates area by clicking the Extensions & Updates link, in the Tasks pane of CircuitStudio's Home page.
The Home page is accessed by clicking View | System | , from the main menus.
  1. From the Extensions & Updates page, click the Installed link to access the Installed page for the area.
  2. Click the Configure control, at the top-right of the Platform region. This accesses the Configure Platform page, presenting the core feature set for the software – including platform extensions – and is identical in content to that found on the Select Design Functionality page of the CircuitStudio Installer.


Make changes to the core functionality of your CircuitStudio installation by configuring the platform from within the Extensions & Updates area.

  1. Make changes to the installed core feature set as required and click Apply. A confirmation dialog will appear, click OK to apply the changes and restart CircuitStudio. The instance of CircuitStudio will close and a window will appear showing progress, in terms of download of the files required to implement the change(s), followed by the installation of those files.
  2. CircuitStudio will then be restarted.

From Windows

  1. Right-click on the entry for CircuitStudio and use the Change command from the context menu.
If you have installed multiple instances of CircuitStudio, ensure changes are being made to the correct instance. It can be a good idea to have the Version attribute displayed as an additional column on the Programs and Features page, so that the correct instance can be quickly verified.
  1. The CircuitStudio Installer wizard will be presented. Login through the Account Log In pop-up window, after which you will be taken to the Select Design Functionality page. Make changes to the installed core feature set as required and click NEXT.


Modify the installation at any stage by changing the core functionality installed.

  1. The Ready To Modify page will be presented. At this point, the Installer has all the information it requires to proceed with modification of the installation. If you need to change anything, click the BACK button. If you want to cancel out of the install, click CANCEL. To go ahead and proceed with the modification, click NEXT. The page will change to Modifying CircuitStudio and the files required to implement the change will be downloaded and then installed.


Modification of the installation proceeds by downloading the files required to implement desired changes to the software. Once downloaded, those files will be installed.

  1. With the modification to the installation complete, either re-launch CircuitStudio by clicking RUN CIRCUITSTUDIO, or exit the Installer without launching the software, by clicking FINISH.

Updating to a Later Version

This can be performed from two places:

  • Internally from within CircuitStudio – from the Updates page of the Extensions & Updates area.
  • Externally from within Windows – from the standard Programs and Features page (accessed from the Control panel in Windows 8/7).
The software can be set to check for new updates, on the System - General Settings page of the Preferences dialog. Use the drop-down associated to the Check fequency field - in the Automatic Updates region of the page - to specify how often a check is made. Choose from Never, Every day, Every 3 days, Every week, Every 2 weeks, and Every month. The default checking frequency is Every 3 days.

From CircuitStudio

  1. Access the Extensions & Updates area by clicking the Extensions & Updates link, in the Tasks pane of CircuitStudio's Home page.
The Home page is accessed by clicking View | System | , from the main menus.
  1. From the Extensions & Updates page, click the Updates link to access the Updates page for the area.
  2. When a new version of the platform is available, a notification will be present at the top-right of the Platform region.
If there is no later version of the platform available, then the text Platform software is up to date will be displayed to reflect this.


Update to a new version of CircuitStudio, directly from within the current version.

  1. Click the  icon to proceed with the update. A progress bar will appear, showing progress of the download (essentially getting the installer for the later version from the source vault). Should you need to cancel the update, simply click its associated cancel icon ().
  2. A confirmation dialog will appear, alerting you to the fact that a restart is required to install the platform update – click Yes. The instance of CircuitStudio will close and a window will appear (essentially the Updating CircuitStudio page of the installer dialog) showing progress, in terms of download of the files required to implement the update, followed by the installation of those files.
  3. CircuitStudio will then be restarted.
Verification that you now have the later version of the platform installed can be made either from any page of the Extensions & Updates area, or from the File » Help » About splash screen.

From Windows

Updating your current instance of CircuitStudio to a later version, is performed during installation of that later version.

  1. Download and run the CircuitStudioSetup.exe file associated with the latest version of the software.
  2. Follow the installation process, using the CircuitStudio Installer for the new version. After agreeing to the End-User License Agreement, you will be presented with the Installation Mode page. This page gives you the choice of either updating an existing version instance of CircuitStudio, or installing as a separate new version instance. Choose the Update existing version option, then use the drop-down field to select the specific instance of the software you wish to update. The Program Files and Shared Documents install locations will be summarized based on the chosen instance.

Choose to update an existing instance of CircuitStudio during installation of a later version of the software.

  1. Click NEXT. The Ready To Update page will be presented. At this point, the Installer has all the information it requires to proceed with update of the existing installation. If you need to change anything, click the BACK button. If you want to cancel out of the install, click CANCEL. To go ahead and proceed with the update, click NEXT.
  2. Login through the Account Log In pop-up window. Once this is done, the page will change to Updating CircuitStudio and the files required to implement the update will be downloaded and then installed.

Update of the installation proceeds by downloading the files required to implement required changes to the software. Once downloaded, those files will be installed.

  1. With the update to the installation complete, either re-launch CircuitStudio by clicking RUN CIRCUITSTUDIO, or exit the Installer without launching the software, by clicking FINISH.

Uninstalling

Uninstalling CircuitStudio is performed using the CircuitStudio Uninstaller. This wizard-based uninstaller is accessed from the standard Programs and Features page (accessed from the Control panel) in Windows 8/7. Simply right-click on the entry for CircuitStudio and use the Uninstall command from the context menu.

If you have installed multiple instances of CircuitStudio, ensure that the correct instance is being uninstalled. It can be a good idea to have the Version attribute displayed as an additional column on the Programs and Features page, so that the correct instance can be quickly verified.


Uninstalling the software is streamlined, courtesy of the CircuitStudio Uninstaller.

Three actions are provided, facilitating varying degrees of 'uninstall' as follows:

  • Uninstall – removes the install folders (program files and shared documents locations) but leaves preferences-based folders alone. This enables you to have a build that is not currently installed, but whose preferences can still be reused, for example by loading into another installed version.
  • Remove Preferences – removes just the preferences-based folders, covering system application data and security files, user application data files and user local application data.
  • Remove Completely – total removal of the entire installation (i.e. installation folders and preferences folders).

Choose the uninstall action required. If you want to cancel out of the uninstall, click CANCEL. To go ahead and proceed with the uninstall, click NEXT. The page will change to Uninstalling CircuitStudio and the chosen action will be processed. Once the uninstall is complete, simply click FINISH on the Uninstallation Complete page of the Uninstaller.


The CircuitStudio Uninstaller in action!