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The installer has never been necessary, but it ended being the only channel of distribution. Copying the psycle dir to another computer is enough to make it run, but there are several caveats:
First, until recently the configuration was saved only to the user registry (and the key configuration was saved in a separate file in the windows directory). So it wasn't strictly portable.
Also, in older versions we had some dlls from the microsoft runtime in Psycle's dir, but this is no longer the case with the current version of the runtime. The older method didn't work and I don't know if it is possible to make it work as before.
With the installer, we include options to delete the configuration (if the user wants to start fresh) and to install the microsoft runtimes, as well as downloading and executing an installer of some VST's that we were allowed to distribute back in 2007 (It is probably time for an updated package, since those plugins and version are really old now)
Of course, all that can be done manually.
The part that made Psycle really portable was the addition to save all the configuration to a single file (added in 1.10), and several fixes to make the plugins directory work with relative dirs (fixes added in this beta).
Due to the small size, I guess I could add all four possibilities (installer and portable, for x86 and x64)
<[JAZ]> Pa pi pa pa pa pi pa.... ;ĚD