Local installation using the zip archive of Arduino ID 1.8.x

Hello guys,
I installed the Arduino IDE 1.8.16 in my C:\Prog\arduino-1.8.16 folder using the zip archive.

My idea is to have a complete local installation with everything I need on this folder (so I want to have compilers, tools and libraries on this folder and its childs).

More or less everything is OK apart that in the Preferences menu I am not able to change the folder where preferences.txt is saved: C:\Users\massimo\AppData\Local\Arduino15

I really want that EVERYTHING related to this installation of the Arduino IDE could be stored in C:\Prog\arduino-1.8.16 folder and its childs, where am I wrong?


If you make it a portable installation then the preferences file and everything else that would normally be under C:\Users\massimo\AppData\Local\Arduino15 will instead be under the portable subfolder of the Arduino IDE installation:

This did not happened on my installation, I already read that document but this is my situation:

And searching for preferences.txt I found it only in C:\users\massimo\AppData\local\Arduino15

I think it is a big fault because that folder is used by non portable installation of Arduino IDE.

Did you close all Arduino IDE windows and then start the Arduino IDE again after you created the portable folder?

When you unzip the installation in a folder of your choice, before you click arduino.exe you have to create an empty directory in the same folder where "arduino.exe" is with the foldername "portable".

There were no other Arduino IDE ruuning.

May you clarify a little bit more?

Unzip archive in folder C:\testmassimo\blabla

create folder with foldername "portable" in C:\testmassimo\blabla

This is what I have on my PC. spot the folder "portable"

Mmmmm... I have it but I did not remember if I created the folder before launching the first time Arduino.exe I will repeate the installation to be sure.

OK, I confirm it solves my problem.
Do you know how to remove AVR and ARM boards from this installation? I woul like to have a portable installation dedicated to ESP32 boards only.

I do not think that's possible. The boards manager has no "remove" button, like with add-on boards packages.
If my assumption is wrong, I'd like to know also, as I have more than 20 portable installation, all tweaked and tuned for specific situations.

You should not have any ARM boards in the installation to begin with. Years ago, the ARM boards were bundled with the Arduino IDE, but that is not the case with any modern version of the Arduino. Only the "Arduino AVR Boards" platform is bundled with the Arduino IDE installation now.

You can remove that by deleting the following subfolders of the Arduino IDE installation folder:

  • hardware/arduino
  • hardware/tools

What about the json and txt files in the hardware folder?
Installing the ESP32 boards the IDE did not create hardware/arduino/esp32 and /hardware/tools/esp-32 . Where are saved the ESP32 boards and compilers? Because it compiles correctly. If the boards and the compilers are installed in a folder that is not a child of the root folder of the portable installation... it breaks the concept of portable installation.

Give it a try. When I did a quick test of removing the hardware folder completely, the IDE would no longer start up. But I didn't check what was the absolute minimum needed since it seemed unimportant to me.


If you turn on "Verbose output during: Compilation" in the Arduino IDE preferences, this will all be shown to you in the compilation output.

I did a little different thing:

  1. extract the arduino zip archive
  2. add the json files refs. in Preferences
  3. eventually set the sketchbook folder
  4. add the esp32 boards in the board manager
  5. close the IDE
  6. remove the hardware childs folders
  7. open the IDE
  8. open the boards manager
  9. selecting the AVR boards.... on the left there is a Remove button, click it and wait to complete
  10. close the IDE
  11. in hardware remove or rename package_index_bundled.json
  12. restart the IDE and verify that there are no AVR boards listed in Tools/Board
  13. open the Board Manager and verify that selecting the AVR boards on the left there is an Install button

For me in this way I can have only the ESP32 boards installed and selecting an example (i.e. BasicOTA) it compiles and downloads.

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