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[all] General-purpose troubleshooting method: Reinstallation

When an unexpected software problem occurs, the first thing that comes to mind as a solution is to reinstall the software.

The important thing to note here is that there are two types of reinstallation: "overwrite installation" and "installation after uninstallation", and in the former, the folders in the user hierarchy are not overwritten.

For example, if the cause is the preference file mentioned in the previous article, overwriting installation will not solve the problem.

If the problem occurs with files in the root hierarchy directly under the HDD, it is likely to be resolved by overwriting the file, but if the problem may be caused by the preference file in the user hierarchy, usually you should delete the preference file.

If the problem is not resolved by deleting (rebuilding) the preference file, you may need to uninstall the software including the preference file and then reinstall it.

This means to temporarily remove all the components of the software from your computer, making it in an initial state. For example, in Finale’s tech support terminology, this is called “Clean Install.”

In order to understand the difference in the effectiveness of overwrite installation and clean installation and use these methods properly, it may be a good idea to understand the process from installing software to starting to use it.

For example, in the case of MakeMusic's music notation software such as Finale, the basic process from installation to start of use is as follows, and you can see that the basic specifications are very similar for Mac and Windows.

1. During installation

1-1. The application body is copied below.

  • Mac: "Application" folder ("" etc.)

  • Windows: “Program Files” folder (“Finale.exe” etc.)

1-2. Auxiliary files are mainly copied to the following data folders.

  • Mac: "Application Support" folder ("Finale 27" folder, etc.)

  • Windows: “Program Data” folder (“Finale 27” folder etc.)

2. When starting the application for the first time

2-1. Some of the auxiliary files copied to the data folder are copied below.

  • Mac: "Application Support" folder in the user hierarchy ("Finale 27" folder, etc.)

  • Windows: “Program Data” folder (“Finale 27” folder etc.)

2-1. The initial settings file is copied to the following location.

  • Mac: "Preference" folder in user hierarchy ("com.makemusic.finale27.fprf" etc.)

  • Windows: "User" folder ("FINALE.INI", "FINMIDI.INI" etc.)

Even if you manually delete files such as the preference file that are copied in the process "2. When starting the application for the first time" above, they will be automatically rebuilt the next time the software is started, so deleting them will not have a negative impact on the software's operation.

Especially in the Mac version of Finale, auxiliary files created by the user, such as library files (.lib), are initially saved in the user folder in “2-1.” above. Therefore, if you have any files that you have created by yourself, you must temporarily save them before performing a clean installation.


In the case of Windows, the OS has an uninstallation function, but this does not uninstall the preference files of the user hierarchy, at least this is true for the MakeMusic products.

Therefore, even if you do overwrite installation, the preference files that were originally copied to the user hierarchy by the application after startup, not by the installer, will not be overwritten and will continue to be there as they were before uninstallation.

This is the reason why I stated at the beginning that “if the cause is the preference file mentioned in the previous article, overwriting installation will not solve the problem. ”

In the case of a Mac, the user generally has to manually uninstall software, which is a tedious task, but it may be easier to handle since there is no confusion like the one for Windows mentioned above.

For your reference, here is the list of the links which instruct how to uninstall the software for some of the major music notation software.







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