Windows 1 computer many servers

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This is going to be really dumb, but it works. I got tired of slow refresh rates while building courses on our production webserver. As I did more testing (as the resident perpetual new user), I wanted to have different versions of Moodle on my desktop XP Proffessional OS computer that were absolutely clean installs.

Since I am challenged mentally, it has got to be simple. Hard drive space and download time are not issues. Plus, I can live with only one local version of Moodle running at a time, after all I can open a window to demo.Moodle and/or my production site.

The Keep it Simple, is an easy way to install Moodle on a standalone desktop otherwise known as a "localhost".

Keep It Simple Chris (KISS)

  1. Download one of the Complete install packages for Windows of Moodle in its zip file
  2. Unzip it in a drive root (for example C:\)
  3. Open up Windows Explorer
  4. Rename the top folder called moodle to something say Moodle_1_9.
    • Now you should see a folder called for example C:\Moodle_1_9
  5. run the file setup_xampp
    • for example this will be found c:\Moodle_1_9\setup_ampp using Explorer
  6. next run xampp_start or xampp_restart
    • Sometimes you may get a warning and are asked if you want to block the apache site (don't block it).
  7. Open up your favorite web browser,
  8. in the address bar type
localhost or
  1. Moodle should start its install process

You can repeat this process. For example download the complete package of Moodle 2.0 . Do all the steps above but rename the folder C:\Moodle_2_0.

Want to upgrade the Moodle in the folder with 1_9? Easy, just download a Standard Moodle distribution package, unzip it so you extract to the folder Moodle_1_9. You will want to make sure you copy all files, so you replace all the existing files in Moodle_1_9\moodle downward.

Tips and tricks

  1. Tip: With this method, you can only run one version of Moodle at a time. Start each version using the xampp_start or xampp_restart from the right drive.
    • Why xampp_restart? Saves using xampp_stop, which must be done if you are switching moodles
  2. Tip: I make a short cut to my 3 different xampp_restart program, rename the short cut to say something like Moodle17clean, Moodle18AL, Moodle19beta and MoodleProduction. I put those shortcuts on my start menu.
  3. Tip: One of "My Favorites" web places is called "localhost".
    • Mozilla Firefox (newer versions of IE may do this) allows me to create bookmarks. I have one called LocalHost and another points to our real production Moodle site on the web.
    • Mozilla Firefox (newer versions of IE may do this) allow me to create seperate tabs. I will have one tab open to my production Moodle, another one to a localhost and probably a 3rd to MoodleDocs.
  4. Tip: I test 3rd party add ons and hacks every now and then. If I think I will get into trouble after installing the test feature, I first:
    • I create a clean install in folder (for example Moodle18_Certificate).
    • I upload and restore a simple course with 20 fictional participants which I have backed up and downloaded for this purpose.
    • Then I zip or rar archive the Moodle18_Certificate folder with the one course.
    • After I discover I made a mistake with the 3rd party module,
    • I rename the folder Moodle18_Certificate to Moodle_junk1. Then I unpack my Moodle18_Certificate zip. Deleting a Moodle install takes a while, so I rename and delete it later when I am having a cuppa.
  5. Tip: I like my Moodles to be the higher level directories, and all start with Moodle something.
  6. Tip: I like to use different themes for each of my Moodles, or at least make sure the site name lets me know which version I am using.
  7. Trick: It is possible to reach different web servers on the same machine at the same time. But it is not simple. The big picture is to have Apache look for a different IP than the default. This means editing ../apache/conf/httpd.config . I like the 1 at a time method so I do not get confused.


Like I said, this is dumb and there are probably easier ways than the shorter approach. But it gives absolute seperation of different versions, which developers have grown to trust . And I can set up a Moodle in under 10 minutes from the time I click on the download complete install package. --chris collman 14:49, 21 March 2007 (CDT)

See Also

Chris's test process