Updating processing and how to do it properly (removing old version while keeping projects)

Hi! I have a super simple question…

I saw this post from the old forum but had more questions. I am kinda new to processing (but not coding).

I currently have java processing 3.4 (revision 0265) but have not opened it in a very long time. I had a simple project idea I wanted to try out and now have been alerted that there is an update for version 3.5.4 revision 0270

However it seems like it takes me to a whole new download and theres no installer or anything like that I see. Just a zipped file for the executable for the new version. I would like to use the new version, but how do I safely remove the old version while keeping my existing projects safe? And how do I allow the new version to see these old projects? I assume they’re compatible?

Thank you all!


Good question!

Before anything… back things up.

I always diligently back things up and have done so with Processing in the past and all the related files. I usually archive in a zip file with a name and date.

I have a few different versions of Processing co-existing and rename the folder with version number added to it.

I usually extract it to a custom folder that I call Program Portable:


And then rename it:


*** This (below) may not be necessary and including for reference ***

There is some stuff that is shared in the %AppData% folder in > Roaming > Processing folder that is shared between versions; I have backed this up (just in case) and deleted it in the past before a reinstall.

Your programs and libraries end up here (this may differ for you so check first):

And for the grand finale I add links to taskbar:


You assume all risk and liability for anything you do on your PC and I take no responsibility whatsoever. Back things up first!

There may be some official documentation somewhere… I did a quick search and did not find it.

Getting Started \ Processing.org



Thank you so much for the very detailed answer! Sorry for the delay, I hadn’t had the chance to try this.

The information you gave has been VERY helpful!

Your detailed answer inspired me to write a detailed one of my own!

What I did

Turns out I had extracted the old one to C:\Program Files\processing-3.4

Also turns out I (or processing, unsure) had made a folder with the path C:\Users\myname\Documents\Processing\Sketchbook. From what I could tell it had all my projects (all of them untouched for years it seems haha. latest one was sept 2018!) I temporarily made a copy of this to my desktop incase something went wrong. I also believe all this is backed up on some external drive somewhere if I indeed hadn’t changed anything in 3 years

I did not delete the .../Sketchbook folder after making a back up copy

Thanks to you, I took a look at the %appdata% (for those reading in the future, you can get to this by doing windowsbutton+R and type in %appdata%). I didn’t find anything too important there. Mostly old debug logs and stuff. But I did find some preferences type stuff so I temporarily copied that to my desktop as well. The files I found useful are:

.../Roaming/Processing/contribs.txt - seems like some library stuff
.../Roaming/Processing/language.txt - just has the word “en”. guessing its sets my default language to english
.../Roaming/Processing/preferences.txt- has stuff like font size, color, etc
.../Roaming/Processing/recent.txt - just a file with the paths of recently opened files. really I could remove this but I kept it. Im guessing this is what “open recent” is using!

After backing up files I thought deemed important, I deleted the .../Roaming/Processing/ directory. I assumed the new processing executable will fill in what ever it needs

I extracted the new processing zip file I download to C:\Program Files\processing-3.5.4 like the other one.

I made a shortcut to the new processing executable and ran it. it opened up with no obvious issues. I tried to open the sketchbook from the new one and I saw my old projects which is cool

I copied over the %appdata% stuff to the newly created folder (same path) and overwrote the newly generated files

I then deleted C:\Program Files\processing-3.4 as I don’t expect to ever use it again. I (maybe unsafely) assumed any old projects will still run - id never done anything very fancy with processing. But either way, I haven’t touch it in years so it’s no big loss if those projects dont work

All this seems to have worked! I haven’t tried to run any old projects just yet. Will try that tomorrow perhaps (edit: old projects run fine!)

I found your disclaimer very amusing :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again!


Hey and is there a way that you can open processing with the windows search (usually in the bottom left)?

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Hi @Flolo ,
yeah just by typing it. Thats how I normally do it even though I have a shortcut lol

hmm ok Idk why it doesn’t work for me but I also have a shortcut

Ok so I hadn’t tried it after I downloaded version 3.4.5 lol. it wasnt working for me either. But now that I made a shortcut for it on my desktop, searching “processing” in the windows search bar shows it to me under the “apps” section. pressing enter on that opens it up. I bet the more you search it, windows will move it higher up in your results