Install and Activate

This topic covers installation and activation of Manifold Release 9, Manifold Release 8, and Manifold Viewer.  Manifold means Release 9 in this topic.  These same instructions apply for Release 8 and Manifold Viewer as well, except that Viewer does not use a serial number or activation, and Release 8 is published only in Windows Installer package form.


This topic applies to current builds.   All current Manifold builds are 64-bit installations that require 64-bit Windows.  For information on using older, out of date builds see the Legacy Install and Activate topic.


Please review the Installations topic to learn about different Release 9 installation packages before proceeding.  This topic covers conventional Windows installations using an .exe file.   






Video: To learn how to install and run a portable installation, see the Manifold Viewer - Install and Run video on YouTube.   Using a portable installation is the same basic procedure for either Viewer or Release 9.   Using a portable installation is easy.  Avoiding Windows Installer hassles is such a delight that many people, once they learn how to use portable installations, will never go back to hassling with Windows Installer.

Installation Overview





Manifold builds are cumulative, including all new features and fixes issued in previous builds. You do not need to install any previous builds to get everything in the latest build.


Manifold licenses are activated using a serial number that allows each license to run on a single computer system.  Subject to reasonable limitations, a license can be moved from one computer system to another, or re-installed on the same system if hardware or Windows upgrades require a re-installation.  See the Manifold Activation topic to learn how activations automatically grow back after use, providing a never-ending crop of activations.  

Windows Installer

A Windows Installer package is an .msi or .exe file that uses Microsoft's Windows Installer facility to install, modify, and to uninstall programs.   Manifold uses .exe files to enable easier installation of any prerequisite Microsoft facilities.  The Manifold Windows Installer package will automatically install any required Microsoft prerequisites if those are not already installed on your system.


To install Release 9 (Windows Installer package):


  1. Visit the Product Downloads page.
  2. Download the Release 9 package.
  3. A Windows Installer package is an .exe file.  Double-click the downloaded .exe file to launch the installation.
  4. Click through any warnings from Microsoft.
  5. Installation dialogs are the usual, obvious dialogs. Press the Install button and otherwise click through the dialogs.
  6. When the installation finishes, press Close.


After installation, save the installation .exe file. You may need it later to uninstall or to repair an installation.


Installing Release 9 usually does not require a system reboot.  However, if the installation dialog says a system reboot is required, let it reboot the system.   That can happen when the installation must update Microsoft's Visual C++ Runtime libraries, but the old versions are in use by system components.  A reboot allows those libraries to be updated.


After installing using a Windows Installer package, Release 9 is registered with the Windows Start button system.   Launch Release 9 from the Windows Start button.


To uninstall Release 9 (Windows Installer package):


  1. Launch the Windows Programs and Features applet
  2. Click the entry for Manifold System 9 (it will be identified by the build number that was installed) and press Uninstall in the applet's menu
  3. A Modify Setup dialog pops open, with choices to repair or to uninstall. Press the Uninstall button.
  4. When finished, the dialog will announce the uninstall is successfully completed. Press the Close button to close the dialog.


64-bit Release 9 Windows Installer Example:

This example shows a typical installation used in 64-bit Windows 10.  



In the Release 9 Downloads page, click the 64-bit Release 9 Installer button to download the installation package.  The installation package is a Windows Installer .exe file.  The SHA256 code provided by the downloads page is a cryptographic code that you can use to confirm the downloaded package is indeed the package published by Manifold.



Move the downloaded .exe file to a convenient folder in your Windows system, where it will be safe for use should you need it again. The name of the installation package includes the build number.


Double-click the downloaded .exe file to begin installation.    Windows 10 may complain:





The app and publisher are unrecognized because Manifold respectfully declines the terms and conditions of Microsoft programs that may result in harvesting of user identities or which may compromise user privacy.  Manifold will cut no corners on user privacy, not even with a respected partner like Microsoft.  


Press the More info link.





Press the Run anyway button (illustrations shown above and below show an older build).


On other systems Windows may complain in a different way:





Ignore the warning and press Run.   If there is any doubt about the download, you can always check the SHA code published on the download page to make sure the installation file has not been altered since publication by Manifold.


That launches the Manifold installation dialogs, a standard set of dialogs for .exe file installations similar to those used by Microsoft.  Manifold uses .exe style installation dialogs to enable installation of Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable files automatically if they have not yet been installed on the Windows machine in use.


Installation dialogs are obvious.   A typical installation will be similar to the following:



Click the Install button, and then click through subsequent dialogs in the usual way.



For example, allow the app to make changes.



In addition to installing Release 9, if necessary the package will install or update any Microsoft prerequisites, such as the C++ Redistributable package.   When finished, the dialog will announce the installation is successfully completed. Press the Close button to close the dialog.


Release 9 is now installed.  

Portable Installations

A portable installation is a .zip file that unzips into a fully-functional package that requires no installation. Many users prefer portable installations to using Windows Installer.  Portable installations require manual installation of Microsoft prerequisites if those have not already been installed.


To install Microsoft Prerequisites:


  1. Visit the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0+ page, or download Microsoft's .NET 4.8 installer.
  2. Visit the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable page. Install vc_redist.x64.exe (64-bit).



To install Release 9 (Portable installation):


  1. Visit the Release 9 Downloads page.
  2. Download the Release 9 Edge package.  A portable installation is a .zip file.
  3. Move the .zip file into a convenient location where you will unzip it, usually on an SSD for fast launches.
  4. Unzip the file to create a hierarchy of files and folders that contains a file called manifold.exe.


Launch Manifold by double-clicking the manifold.exe file.


For more convenient launching, right-click the manifold.exe file you use and choose Pin to Start and/or Pin to taskbar.   That creates an icon in the Start button or taskbar that will launch Manifold with a single click.


Already running a Manifold session? For a quick launch, right-click on the Manifold icon in the Windows taskbar and choose Manifold System 9.0.   That is what most portable installation users do, since they usually have at least one Manifold session running.  If we always have a Manifold session running (great idea!) there is no need to mess about with pinning to the Start button or taskbar, since there is always a Manifold icon running on the taskbar we can use.

Uninstalling a Portable Installation

Portable installations require no special uninstallation. If you no longer want the program on the system, simply delete the .zip file and any unzipped folders and files that are no longer desired.   


The first time Release 9 is launched it will raise an activation dialog.  Enter your serial number and press the Accept button to activate the license.  Your computer must be connected to Internet to activate.   For details, see the Activation Guide web page.  Information on managing activations is in the Manifold Activation topic.

Switching to a Different License

Once a serial number is activated on a machine, that serial number will continue to be used.  To change to a different serial number, for example, if upgrading a machine from a Manifold 9 Professional license to a Manifold 9 Universal or Manifold 9 Server license, the old license must be replaced with a new serial number that authorizes the new license.


To change the serial number and license in use, launch Manifold and choose Help - About and then press the Switch License button.   That will pop open the Activation dialog again so a new serial number can be entered.


The serial number in use on a machine can be seen by using the manifold.exe -showserial command line option.  That shows only the first eight characters of the serial number, but that is enough to determine which of several serial numbers we might have is the one in use on that machine.

Installing Support for Mobile Geodatabases

Esri mobile geodatabases were introduced in ArcGIS Pro 2.7, with desktop GIS support only in ArcGIS Pro 2.7, 2.8 and subsequent.  This documentation refers to mobile geodatabases as mobile GDB for short.   Mobile geodatabases are basically SQLite files with a .geodatabase extension.   They require installation of an Esri-supplied .dll file called stgeometry_sqlite.dll. as well as an optional SQLITE3.DLL file. 


To use mobile geodatabases, we must install the optional stgeometry_sqlite.dll file.  This file is an Esri-provided DLL that extends SQLite with Esri's ST_GEOMETRY type.   We must also install and use an external SQLITE3.DLL file.


The stgeometry_sqlite.dll file comes in two versions, a 64-bit version and a 32-bit version.  The easiest way to install this file is to visit the Product Downloads page for Manifold, and to download and install the optional package with DLLs for Postgres, MySQL, and Esri Mobile Geodatabases.  Get the download.  Unzip the zip file that is downloaded, and place the resulting opt folder in the extras folder in the Manifold installation folder. 


We must also install an optional, external SQLITE3.DLL file that may be obtained from the official sources for SQLite and SpatialLite:



Place the SQLITE3.DLL file in the extras folder in the Manifold installation folder. 


Manifold Release 9 and Manifold Viewer include built-in support for SQLite, to connect to GPKG and to SQLite databases, but that uses different .dlls than Esri's mobile geodatabase technology.  When Esri's stgeometry_sqlite.dll extension and the optional SQLITE3.DLL files are copied into the Manifold installation folder,  Manifold will automatically load Esri's stgeometry_sqlite.dll file to connect to mobile geodatabases.

Installing Support for PostgreSQL and MySQL Databases

Connecting to PostgreSQL and MySQL databases requires installation of optional DLL files.  The easiest way to do that is to visit the Product Downloads page for Manifold, and to download and install the optional package with DLLs for Postgres, MySQL, and Esri Mobile Geodatabases.  Get the download.  Unzip the zip file that is downloaded, and place the resulting opt folder in the extras folder in the Manifold installation folder. 



Serial Numbers - The email sent to you by the Manifold Online Store provides your Manifold product serial number.   If you have placed an order and have not received the serial number email, please check the spam folder in your email system in case it was set aside.


Error message when launching Release 9?  - That usually means your Windows system is missing a Microsoft prerequisite mentioned above, either the C++ Redistributable package or the Microsoft .NET Framework or both.  Take a moment to install those.


Three Letter Extensions - Most file names in Windows end in what usually is called a three letter extension, which is usually three or four letters at the end of the file name following a dot . character.    The three letter extension is one way Windows keeps track of what a file is supposed to be.    Unfortunately, by default Windows hides the three letter extensions of files and instead tries to associate files with whatever program it thinks should be used to open that file.   That may be helpful for inexpert consumers, but for skilled users it is inconvenient and can be misleading when working with the many file formats that Release 9 and other geospatial products utilize.  


Tech tip:  Please turn off the hiding of extensions by Windows.  A typical way to do so in most versions of Windows would be from Windows Explorer, choose Tools - Folder options, press the View tab and then in the Advanced Settings pane ensure that the Hide extensions for known file types is unchecked.  Press Apply to Folders and then press OK.  You will then be able to see extensions such as .map and others.  See also the Essay on three letter extensions and why the default hiding of them by Windows is such a bad thing.


Legacy Builds - Manifold download pages provide current builds.  Newer builds fix bugs so it is important to work with the latest build.  If for some wild and crazy reason you think that in the future you will not want to upgrade to the latest build, make sure to save the installation file for whatever build has been installed, so that if a re-install is necessary you can work with an old and obsolete build instead of whatever wonderful new build is the current release.  Note that  tech support is available only for current builds, and not for legacy builds.


See Also

Manifold Activation




Manifold Server


Using SHA Checksums


Activation Reference




Legacy Install and Activate