Version 14



    Your directory structure should look like this (note that "C:\eclipse" can be

    anything you want - I personally use C:\mazz\eclipse for example):


    C:\eclipse\eclipse   (this is where the base install lives)


    C:\eclipse\ext       (this is where your plugins ("extensions") live)


    C:\eclipse\ws        (this is where Eclipse's .metadata workspace data lives)


    C:\eclipse\projects  (this is where you can put your projects (optional))


    C:\eclipse\config    (this is where you put exported preferences (optional))


    The first time you install Eclipse, unzip it into "C:\eclipse" - this puts your base install into C:\eclipse\eclipse.


    Now create a special directory called "links" under C:\eclipse\eclipse.  In

    that C:\eclipse\eclipse\links directory, create a file called "".  The

    contents of "" is a single line pointing to the full path to your "ext"

    directory.  Example (IMPORTANT: you need to escape the backslashes):




    Now when you want to install/download plugins, the Install/Update manager will

    give you the option to install it in your ext directory.  This allows all of

    your personal plugins to remain external to the Eclipse install directory.

    Keeping your own plugins external to the Eclipse installation makes upgrading

    easier.  If you already have plugins that you want to install manually now,

    create a "C:\eclipse\ext\eclipse\plugins" directory and put your plugins in

    there (this is analogous to Eclipse's own "plugins" directory).


    One other nice thing about Eclipse is the ability to have multiple extensions

    directories.  I personally have several - one specifically for JBoss Eclipse IDE, one

    for my test plugins (ones that I just want to try out but aren't sure I want to keep;

    things like beta-quality plugins for example), and one for my "main" plugins that I

    plan on keeping.  So, under my "links" directory, I have a "" file

    pointing to my "C:\eclipse\ext\main" extensions directory, I have a "" file

    pointing to my "C:\eclipse\ext\test" extensions directory and I have a "" file

    pointing to my "C:\eclipse\ext\jbosside" extensions directory.  When I pull down a

    new JBoss Eclipse IDE version, I tell Eclipse to install it in that jbosside extensions

    directory.  If I pull down a beta plugin that I want to test, I tell Eclipse to install it

    in my "test" extensions directory.  Note that I can then disable one or more extensions

    directories (and thus disable the plugins in those directories) by simply removing the

    corresponding .link file.  When I want to re-enable them, I put the .link file back.


    If you only ever want to use a single workspace, you can start Eclipse like

    this (ignoring any -vmargs or other parameters you might want to pass in):


    C:\eclipse\eclipse\eclipse.exe -data C:\eclipse\ws


    If you want to have multiple workspaces and switch between them, create your

    workspace directories under this "ws" directory - these directories are where

    Eclipse will place its .metadata directories:








    Now just create shortcuts for each workspace.  Eclipse allows you to switch

    workspaces from the tool, this just allows you to start up Eclipse in any

    specific workspace you want:


    C:\eclipse\eclipse\eclipse.exe -data C:\eclipse\ws\jboss-4.0


    C:\eclipse\eclipse\eclipse.exe -data C:\eclipse\ws\jboss-head


    C:\eclipse\eclipse\eclipse.exe -data C:\eclipse\ws\sandbox


    As a side note, I like to pass in "-vmargs -Xmx512m" to bump up my JVM max



    Now, the install directory where Eclipse is (e.g. c:\eclipse\eclipse) has no

    customizations that will be lost when you upgrade.


    You may place all of your projects in "C:\eclipse\projects", just as a

    convienence.  I like to have my projects localized to a central location.  You

    can have your projects anywhere you like.  However, I avoid putting my projects

    in the actual workspace directories (C:\eclipse\ws and below) because Eclipse

    gets funny when you put projects under subdirectories of its workspace (e.g.

    C:\eclipse\ws\jboss-head\aop).  If you only put projects directly under your

    workspace directory (e.g. C:\eclipse\ws), that is OK and is how Eclipse is

    really designed.


    Once you get Eclipse's preferences configured the way you like, you should

    export all of your preferences (in 3.0, Windows->Preferences has an "Export..."

    feature - in 3.1, File->Export has a "Preferences" option).  In addition, I also

    export the individual preferences when applicable (Templates have an Export

    capability as well as the Code Formatter).

    Place your preferences file(s) under "C:\eclipse\config".  There is nothing

    special about this directory's location or name, its just a location I use to

    store my preferences files.


    You are now installed and have separate workspaces available and both

    workspaces and plugins are independent of the Eclipse install.




    Now you are running happily along developing in Eclipse.  Once a new version

    comes out, there are very few steps to perform to upgrade, and they go very



    First, download the new Eclipse .zip install file.


    Then make a copy of your C:\eclipse\eclipse\links directory and delete the

    entire C:\eclipse\eclipse directory, in effect removing your old Eclipse

    install.  I like to delete the old install to ensure that no old (and possibly

    incompatible) files are still hanging around.


    Now unzip the new version back in that C:\eclipse\eclipse (remember, unzip to

    the C:\eclipse directory - the install .zip will install a "eclipse" directory

    as its base directory).


    Now copy back your "links" directory - giving you back your original "C:\eclipse\eclipse\links\" file (and any others you have).


    You now have a full and clean install of the new version.


    Start it up and you will notice that your plugins are still intact and loaded.

    Even your workspaces are back to normal - all your projects should be intact.


    The last step is to import your preferences to get back your original

    configuration.  For Eclipse 3.0, go to Windows->Preferences and select the preferences file that

    you stored in C:\eclipse\config and "Import..." them.  For 3.1, go to File->Import

    and select "Preferences" then select your preferences file. Note that naturally some

    preferences won't be compatible or used in the new version - Eclipse will pop

    up a dialog box informing you of this should it occur and will tell you what it

    is doing.


    Note that you must import your preferences in each of your workspaces

    (preferences are stored in the workspaces' .metadata directories and hence each

    workspace has its own set of preferences).


    That's it.  You've upgraded in less than 5 minutes.


    See CustomizingEclipse