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Can "installation" be used to mean software installed in a computer? (e.g. portable or stand-alone USB installation)

Example sentence: This feature works in my standard installation of the software, but not in the portable USB installation.

If not, what word could be a good alternative for "installation" in my example above?

I am wondering about this because some software installers, like Opera's (screenshots: example 1, example 2), seem to use "installation" to mean software installed in a computer. But dictionaries like Oxford's Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Wiktionary, don't seem to include that definition for "installation", despite including the technical, computer definition for "install": OALD, Wiktionary.

  • Yes. The example sentence makes sense. An installation of a piece of software is an instance (say, a licensed customer copy) installed on a system. – Kris Oct 17 '12 at 10:49
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First, it's not uncommon for dictionaries to take awhile to catch up to modern uses of words, particularly in rapidly-changing areas such as computer jargon. So don't let the lack of a dictionary definition dissuade you too much.

When you have installed software on a computer, you've completed an installation of that software. You can then refer to that installation later on, as in: "We've had a lot of stability problems ever since that last installation."

As for what other words you can use, you often see version used. If I installed version 7.0.22, there are several contexts where it would be more useful to refer to that version, as opposed to that installation.

Which word is better? That depends on context. But I can't find anything wrong with your example sentence, so long as it would make sense to users in context.

This feature works in my standard installation of the software, but not in the portable USB installation.

That tells me there are two ways to install the software, but a certain feature will only work if the software is installed in one of those two ways.

  • Nice answer. However, I would add that copy is another word that could be used in this context. For example, I have a got a copy of MS Office on my computer, etc. – Noah Oct 17 '12 at 12:08
  • @Noah: Copy that! – J.R. Oct 17 '12 at 12:39
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Installation is perfectly fine to describe software running from a computer. Or possibly even just 'install'.

"I have several installations of Windows running at the moment."
"We've had a lot of stability problems ever since that last install"

There's a slightly grey area regarding USB installation. If you're running an application straight from a USB key, then it hasn't been installed - it's a portable application. If you've used an installer to put some software on your computer and then run it from our computer, it's an installation, so your example sentence might be clearer written as

This feature works from the standard installation on my PC, but not from the portable app version on my USB key.

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