Old 11-25-2014, 08:44 AM   #1
JackMusic
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Default Simplifying the interface

Hi all

I am a music teacher and would like to drastically simplify Reaper's interface so that students (ages 11-13) can access it quickly without getting confused by all the options. E.g. so that right click only shows glue items and the copy/paste options, only show grid and snapping on the toolbar etc. Is there a way of doing this?
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:20 AM   #2
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You can edit the menus. Add or remove actions as you please. Save your configuration (Preferences/general) when you have the setup you need. Open the Actions window and you'll see the button for add to/remove from menus.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:23 AM   #3
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a Reaper for children. it's a great idea. You can totally do it. Reaper is very customizable.
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Old 11-25-2014, 01:01 PM   #4
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From main menu Options - Customize menus/toolbars
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Old 12-12-2014, 03:15 PM   #5
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(Posting under my original username)

Hmm, not sure my question was worthy of a topic given the extreme simplicity and obviousness of the solution. Thanks all who replied!
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Old 12-13-2014, 01:47 AM   #6
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No biggie - we all have those moments of oral pedology.... especially me.

But you do have a point. Maybe a project for someone here - an education template pre-set up and available to teachers F.O.C.?

I am not volunteering, but there are some guys on here who are really good and fast at this customisation stuff.
And it IS the season of good will and giving......


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Old 12-13-2014, 06:39 AM   #7
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I think it's a great idea that would also benefit many of us adult children. (Har Har)
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:02 AM   #8
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I've suggested before, the option to install a "beginner" skin with both very basic options (like a cassette 4 track) and a cleaner, larger/bolder UI would provide a stepping-on point for a lot of musicians who would then tend to favor staying with the platform.
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:06 AM   #9
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OP is more looking for a simplified menu structure rather than reworking the whole theme/UI.
At least customising menu views is relatively easy.

I have mixed feelings on doing a dumbed down beginners version of everything.... sort of leads new users to just ignore the rest of reaper.
And no real incentive to go further if it works well.....
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
OP is more looking for a simplified menu structure rather than reworking the whole theme/UI.
At least customising menu views is relatively easy.

I have mixed feelings on doing a dumbed down beginners version of everything.... sort of leads new users to just ignore the rest of reaper.
And no real incentive to go further if it works well.....
I disagree completely. I think it would have the opposite effect. If it works well and brings in new users, they will want to learn more.

Just my opinion.
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:56 AM   #11
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a couple thoughts:

1- some themes provide a more clear and simple view
perhaps find a couple that you like and that they will like

2- look into floating toolbars... because you can position them
at the top or bottom or side of the main window and in them you can
have most of the commands you want [add action] and you can rename them to taste and use the double wide text 'icon' method...
... for example an action like add a new track would be a button that says that and could call up a pre made track template that was ready to use...
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Old 12-19-2014, 03:27 AM   #12
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Just been reading this KVR thread then remembered about this Reaper thread.
http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewto...p?f=7&t=427690
Maybe a step in the right direction for OP
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Old 12-19-2014, 04:53 AM   #13
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Yeah - he has the same thread running on here too.

So lets forget about THIS thread and talk in the other one?

I am SO pleased this finally got done.
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Old 12-19-2014, 06:00 AM   #14
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No prob but it wont do any harm to bring this thread to the top of the list in case the OP chances to see it, he hasnt looked in the newbieland thread, or at least he hasnt posted.
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post

I have mixed feelings on doing a dumbed down beginners version of everything.... sort of leads new users to just ignore the rest of reaper.
And no real incentive to go further if it works well.....
If the new user is intimidated or confused, they'll never use it at all.

Packaging of features is the most important thing in the 21st century. It's not enough to offer features; you've got to hold the (perhaps dumb)(probably dumb) users hand.

I was just looking at the Ozone 6 thread. There isn't anything particularly special in it that I don't think you can accomplish using a couple of other VST's - for a sum total that costs a LOT less than $999. BUT - they've put it all together in a very coherent and work flow friendly form.

That's not a very exciting thing from a developer's standpoint, but it's kind of all important. The guy that does the Melda plugins I think suffers kind of in that way, he's got his plugins laid out in a very specific way he obviously likes, but who has heard of "Melda Software"?

Contrast that with Valhalla: a very lean UI, very "dumb" controls almost - big large labels, big controls, straightforward nomenclature.

I think of the two developers, Sean Costello is probably doing better than Guy's Name I Can't Remember with Melda.

I think you could probably do with Melda's plugins everything Ozone 6 does - dynamic eq, M/S eq, spatialization, metering, except he's got those features broke out into separate VST's and his GUI uses multiple different controls, tiny labels, things are buried on screens you have to click down to, some screen items are tiny, overall Melda has a lot of stuff going on screen wise compared to Ozone 6.

Effectively, Ozone 6 succeeds in seemingly having put some effort into optimizing the actual interface/ui itself.

Garage Band is very, very popular with kids. From what I understand, it's even being taught at Full Sail for "some" reason. The 21st century is about both user expectation of a completely pre-thought out ui, AND.... a bell curve that *does not allow for intellectual curiosity as impetus for problem solving*.

Add to that a new generation that expects everything to have both a touch-sensitive interface AND icons/buttons instead of a menu, the DAW that does not adapt to that is going to die.

Which is why I again say - Garage Band is probably the winner in the end, unfortunately. That doesn't mean I like that, but I've watched/observed enough people and kids try to get around in Reaper and have seen where they decide to give up and why. Maybe they need the popularist catchet of the name "Pro Tools" to make them see things through, but I see a future of imbeciles "doing productions and making beats" with Garage Band and the bozo light-up-button triggers, while a small cadre of actually intelligent engineers will remain the gate keepers of actually making recordings - if it's still deemed necessary.

/ $.10
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:57 PM   #16
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I'm sure that a lot of Garage Band users move into Logic when they start getting serious.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
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I'm sure that a lot of Garage Band users move into Logic when they start getting serious.

That's how I got into it, Garage band -> Logic 9 -> Reaper (when I got a windows machine)
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
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...
But you do have a point. Maybe a project for someone here - an education template pre-set up and available to teachers F.O.C.? ...
yes yes yes. :-) i would LOVE that too. next year I will have to teach some 12-16 yo (suspectedly most of them hip-hoppers ... :-() how to produce pop-music with a computer and a program and without apps on iDiotic iPhones. :-((

I see dark and desperate times arising ... but if that will come so, I will make these courses the hell for them. haha.

so far I have failed in my half-motivated attempts to fiddle out an educational template.

maybe the one who are into that educational thing should have a thread of their own and fiddle out something in collaboration?? I would like that and I would put in effort of mine as far as I can do that within the bounds of my limited experiences with Reaper.
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Old 12-20-2014, 07:10 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by chip mcdonald View Post
Contrast that with Valhalla: a very lean UI, very "dumb" controls almost - big large labels, big controls, straightforward nomenclature.
Valhalla says that his GUI is patterned after NASA ... keep it simple ... I suppose if yer flying thru outer space at 17,000mph every nanosecond in hitting a button can mean the difference between landing on Mars or overshooting it by several million miles

Also no CPU baggage in updating any fancy graphics .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chip mcdonald View Post
I think of the two developers, Sean Costello is probably doing better than Guy's Name I Can't Remember with Melda.
Melda's plugins ..... GUI uses multiple different controls, tiny labels, things are buried on screens you have to click down to, some screen items are tiny, overall Melda has a lot of stuff going on screen wise compared to Ozone 6.
I find the Melda plugs to be very good, in a basic way, but there is a lack of documentation for the more advanced features such as MultiParameters, which I have no clue what they're for or how to use them. Also there should be tool-tips for the various icons instead of having to press F1 to see their function, thereby interrupting the workflow.

Melda's 'training' videos on the website don't really go into any detail on the plugins themselves, and the forum at KVR is pretty much useless. A detailed user manual is much needed.



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Old 12-20-2014, 09:23 AM   #20
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I'm sure that a lot of Garage Band users move into Logic when they start getting serious.
Right, that's kind of my point. Reaper doesn't have a "feeder".

I'm constantly in a position, as a guitar teacher, of coming to a point where I find myself saying "you need to learn to record yourself", at which point the issue of DAWS come up.

For some people, Reaper in it's present incarnation is just not a good idea. If I can't recommend Reaper, I generally avoid the issue BECAUSE....

They will probably discover Garageband on their own, at which point they're pretty much set in the GB/Logic pipeline.

I would really like to be able to tell someone "go download Reaper, and install the "beginner" option". Or for that matter a more hand-holding skin than Garageband. That's a big demographic for growth IMO...
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chip mcdonald View Post
Right, that's kind of my point. Reaper doesn't have a "feeder".

I'm constantly in a position, as a guitar teacher, of coming to a point where I find myself saying "you need to learn to record yourself", at which point the issue of DAWS come up.

For some people, Reaper in it's present incarnation is just not a good idea. If I can't recommend Reaper, I generally avoid the issue BECAUSE....

They will probably discover Garageband on their own, at which point they're pretty much set in the GB/Logic pipeline.

I would really like to be able to tell someone "go download Reaper, and install the "beginner" option". Or for that matter a more hand-holding skin than Garageband. That's a big demographic for growth IMO...
that is exactly the situation I found myself in and will find me in again.

I think: the idea with the starter-template is a really great idea. so I can tell them: download Reaper, and I will install it with you so that you can do things with it. (means: I tell them how to start the starter-template, which is hopefully nearly selfexplaining.)

as I have Reaper with that template up and running while teaching, they find themselves in the same environment at home and in the lessons.

and they can transport their eloborations on a stick with them and bring it over to me. as Reaper can open some projects at the same time in tabs this would be ideal when I think of working with bunch of kids.
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Old 12-20-2014, 02:23 PM   #22
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it's really tedious and time consuming to edit the menus, but if you only want a few items in each one, shouldn't take too long. other option would be to set up contextual toolbar buttons with the new sws beta. they are currently not accessible via right-click, but that would be the most intuitive for kids i'd imagine. you could set them to the spacebar or some other big, obvious key.

on a related note, i've been looking to do something like this as well, and would really like to get rid of the main menus altogether. never use em, but noobies always go there first for everything and they are a complete mess by default. all we need is more toolbars and right-click mouse modifiers and we might do away with menus forever...
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Old 12-20-2014, 04:52 PM   #23
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+1 to some sort of Beginner Mode.

There are a few other programs that would make good examples - Vuze, for instance. You select Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced and it uses that to decide which menu items and options to display.

As long as there's a quick "give me everything" option, like how ReaMenus keeps the full, original menu as a subfolder, newbie users can still access the odd advanced setting as needed.

That new ReaTraction theme also takes a good approach, IMO, by limiting the available buttons for users who probably don't need them. Hypothetically, theme layouts could be labelled "Thin Mixer - Beginner", "Thin Mixer - Advanced", etc, so that switching modes adds/removes buttons without a need to change layouts all over the place.
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:37 AM   #24
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I spent about 7 years teaching. It was all technical (system design, configuration, troubleshooting, etc.) but we did have to go over operating a lot of the stuff because if you don't know how it is supposed to work you can't even tell if it's broken.

The simplified interface sounds like a fantastic idea.

I just wanted to chime in with a few things that I learned the hard way that may help you. Feel free to completely ignore them or use them and take credit for them.

1. Have a known good, default system configuration and installation and make images of them. When one of them break it you can be up and running in minutes without having to troubleshoot and nuke them before each new class comes in so you are starting fresh.
2. Have step by step printed out instructions with screen shots when possible.
3. If possible have a projector or smart board with your PC up there and have the students follow you in the beginning.
4. Have access to your computer (i.e., keyboard and mouse) from behind the students so that you can keep an eye on their monitors because half of them will be lagging behind and the other half are going to be trying to go ahead and the other half will be playing solitaire and the other half will be digging through the registry....lots of halfs here.
5. If you buy headphones think about getting some with mics (so that they can record), but more important get some where they can swivel one of the earpieces so that they can hear you when you are instructing them.
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Old 12-21-2014, 12:56 AM   #25
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"Simplified" should take a 4-track-primitive approach.

Have it come up with only 4 TCP panels.

TCP panels would just have arm and a fader. Input selection would be a tricky thing to "simplify".

Only basic transport control, loop button.

File open, save.

Then, bonus points would be some sort of hover question/answer system to add features back in. For instance, if you hover over the TCP maybe it would ask if you knew what a "solo" button does, would you like to use it (or link out to an explanation).

Which, if extended all the way through, would actually be a great thing for everybody if implemented well (to the nth degree).

AND, it would go far to supplant extortionary fees for tuition to learn such things at a "school".

For that matter, if someone was really enterprising if you turned it into a game with "levels", you might end up making a whole ton of kids DAW aware.
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Old 12-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #26
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Ahem!

"So lets forget about THIS thread and talk in the other one?"

As I said earlier this has now kinda been done and is being discussed in a concurrent thread.

I will go have a look and post a link if you need it.....


http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=152012

There ya go!
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Old 12-21-2014, 10:57 AM   #27
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I have mixed feelings on doing a dumbed down beginners version of everything.... sort of leads new users to just ignore the rest of reaper.
And no real incentive to go further if it works well.....
I get that, but:

1 He's a teacher.

2 He now knows how to customize R's interface.

So, he can put together a series of interfaces that will take them to the stock one in a matter of a few steps. I'm a teacher, and that's what I'd do anyway.
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:03 AM   #28
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Take your point, but do you not find that OTHER thread an interesting alternative that would be of use to ALL newbies?
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Old 12-21-2014, 11:36 AM   #29
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What a beautiful interface! I'm going to use it, I think. So, you want to shift this discussion to the thread in the Newbie forum?
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Old 12-21-2014, 03:20 PM   #30
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Guess we dont have to ask a mod to move it, we can just switch to talking about this "over there".
Always seemed to me like it would be better in the Newbie section anyway.

I am really very pleased to see this happening.
People have kicked the idea around for years (literally!) on here and nothing ever got done.
(Me included) But now at least we have something tangible to talk about.
Would love to see him get the thread stickied in Newbies - it deserves to be IMO.

See you over there?
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Old 12-21-2014, 03:40 PM   #31
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Consensus on what is a "basic essential" and what is not, would be hard to reach ... take the Input Selection example already given.
A major tricky one in Reaper is Record Arm + Record Monitor both need to be lit up before you hear your guitar/vocal/synth come out the monitors.
This one snags the new users just about every time, and is really cumbersome to get around, which involves pre-rolling a macro/cycle action that does both in one hit for any selected track, slapping it on a toolbar and giving it a huge, idiot-proof icon

A good idea at this point, IMHO, would be to post some shots of Garage Band ... not to clone it, but to have a look at how they have simplified it, what they've left out, what they've deemed essential, etc etc.
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Old 12-21-2014, 04:41 PM   #32
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Guess we dont have to ask a mod to move it, we can just switch to talking about this "over there".
Always seemed to me like it would be better in the Newbie section anyway.

I am really very pleased to see this happening.
People have kicked the idea around for years (literally!) on here and nothing ever got done.
(Me included) But now at least we have something tangible to talk about.
Would love to see him get the thread stickied in Newbies - it deserves to be IMO.

See you over there?
Well, I really like the look of this interface, so I'll be trying it out - that Newbie thread is where all the discussion about it's going to be.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:19 AM   #33
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Thanks a lot for all the feedback! Sorry to dig up a somewhat dead thread and I'll check out the other threads linked in the replies here. I've got about a month or two to set it up properly (I posted having just run a project using Reaper and the kids finding it really hard, gonna have another go in a different context with a different group) so I'll post anything useful I create or find in this thread or some other more suitable location.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:26 PM   #34
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Hey don't forget - you can use portable installs to massively experiment and keep several versions, without screwing up your main install!
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:32 PM   #35
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Can you link me to something that describes how to do the portable install thing?
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:50 PM   #36
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Can you link me to something that describes how to do the portable install thing?
Hi dobro-

When you run the REAPER installer, check the box that says "Portable install" and specify an installation folder. You can even install it on a thumb drive, if you like.

HTH-

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Old 03-16-2015, 08:54 PM   #37
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Okay, I just did that. Two things:

1 I got the 'Reaper is not free software, and that means that you have to pay for it after the 60-day evaluation period'. But I *have* paid for it, so what the 'pay for it' message about?

2 How does the portable install enable me to experiment with various interfaces? The portable one's expendable?
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:03 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by dobro View Post
How does the portable install enable me to experiment with various interfaces? The portable one's expendable?
Here's an example. If you have a "normal" REAPER install on your system, a portable install - which can be in a different directory on the same computer if you wish - allows you to experiment with settings and whatever you wish without affecting your main REAPER installation.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:05 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholas View Post
Here's an example. If you have a "normal" REAPER install on your system, a portable install - which can be in a different directory on the same computer if you wish - allows you to experiment with settings and whatever you wish without affecting your main REAPER installation.
Got it. Do you know why the portable install I just did told me I was using the demo version of Reaper?
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:27 PM   #40
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the portable install is self contained, doesn't access the registry or files outside of it's own folder. it doesn't have the authorization until you add it.
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