Auto uninstall demo


Let say I have a Demo and Full versions of my software. Demo is like a Full but with some missing functionality. Someone installs Demo, try it and decides to purchase Full version.
He downloads it and starts installation.

My question is: Do you think it is reasonable full version installer to uninstall Demo version before installing the Full one? My reasoning is that if there are two versions on the user computer this can confuse him.

Software Demo

asked Jun 24 '10 at 21:46
2,288 points

4 Answers


IMHO you should have one install. The full version gets installed in "DEMO" mode, meaning some full-version functionality is disabled or redirected to demo functionality. The switch from demo to full then is an unlocking and/or update exercise. This means the user only ever has one install. I would think this aligns with user expectations.

answered Jun 24 '10 at 22:49
146 points
  • I think it is not good idea to have installed full in "demo" mode, a kind of prevention of unwanted activities. It seem this is what a lot of people suggest. – Ross 14 years ago
  • So full version has extra functions and is branched from your demo version? I normally go limited time period of full version and so its one code source where a key then stops the time period count down. – John Bogrand 14 years ago
  • It is not branched, just a compile switch that disables some things or changes them. For example "save" can be disabled or changed to open the "buy now" web page. "Demo" version is like a marketing tool for the "full" version. – Ross 14 years ago


I would suggest having the code go through an upgrade so it is part of the same base. I would think easier to manage. How much is different from the Demo to the full version?

answered Jun 25 '10 at 00:05
John Bogrand
2,210 points
  • This is good suggestion. – Ross 14 years ago


All of our retail poroducts automatically uninstall the trial version. You don't want to confuse the customer with two products installed at one time, and you don't want to make the new customer do an extra step (uninstall the demo) before the installer will work.

Keep your trial and full versions completely separate. That way there is no way to "crack" the trial version and turn it into a full version.

answered Jun 25 '10 at 00:09
Gary E
12,510 points
  • Yes, the reason for this is to keep the trial and full version separate in the way that it is not possible to crack the demo. – Ross 14 years ago


In my opinion the whole process has to be as transparent as possible to the end users.

Why don't you choose to switch from "demo"/"full" to "full" with an activation code need to unlock the app after the evaluation period has over?

I mean, you have your App and you give 14 days evaluation time. People download it and they found it great. After 14 days, the App stop working asking for the activation code. Enthusiast users will buy the code from your website and they can unlock the code without be bothered in "uninstall/download/install again" tasks.

Does it make sense?

answered Jul 6 '10 at 00:08
118 points
  • There is different type of demo versions. "Time limitied" vestions might be more appropriate for some products, but I choose "time unlimited" with limitation on some of the features that can be used. My personal opinion is that "time limited" model for demo version is broken. Demo version is serving as marketing tool for the full version and I do not want to limit my clients to try as long as they want before deciding to buy. It that not transparant? – Ross 14 years ago
  • Ross, I understand your point. But giving your customer a product that has some features locked is equal to limit their test as you would do limiting in time. It's just a matter of what do you want to limit: "limit the time of the tests but not the features" and "limit the features but they can play with my tool forever". It would be interesting comparing the conversion ratio in the two scenarios. :-) – Thesp0nge 14 years ago
  • You are right, the limitation have to be carrefuly choosen. I do not want to limit the product too much and give wrong impression of what it is cappable to do. At the moment i am thinking to limit just "save" feature and probably add somme unobstructive wattermarking more as advertising then protection. – Ross 14 years ago

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