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You are able to perform and maintain multiple installations of Max on a single machine / user. However, you may need to rename your Max application (Mac) or the containing folder (Windows) to prevent the newer version from overwriting the older one.
Both Max 7 and Max 8 show up as “Max” in your applications folder. This means if you have Max 7 installed and go to install Max 8, you will be asked if you want to write over the previous version. If you want both installed, change the name of Max 7 application from “Max” to “Max 7”.
This also applies to installing different versions of the same major release of Max, for example, Max 8.1.3 and 8.1.4. Simply rename the existing copy before adding the new one. Be sure to avoid special characters such as a forward or backslash in the new folder name.
Installing Max 8 or greater will not affect installations of Max 7.3.5 (and lower). However, it will overwrite any currently installed versions of Max that are 8 or greater. You can maintain multiple versions of Max8 by renaming the folder containing the Max.exe (C:\Program Files\Cycling ‘74\Max 8) before installing the newer version.
Be sure not to include special characters such as a forward or backslash in the new folder name. One good approach is to rename the folder with the version number you want to keep. For example, C:\Program Files\Cycling ‘74\Max 8.0.8. This also makes it much easier to know which version you are opening.