News about Cayra

Mike Goodold (@GoodoldsOnTwitter) just commented at on my August 2010 post about Cayra that the developers hadn’t done a good job of specifying requirements.

Well, sadly Cayra became orphan software years ago, so no one from Intalev, the originator of this nice little free package, will reply – I’ve tried several times to contact them because Cayra was open source at one time, and we had a volunteer willing to maintain and enhance it. But Intelev never responded. As I mention here, I saw a comment on Twitter that it doesn’t work on Windows 7. When I wrote that, I didn’t have a Win 7 PC to test it. I was using it on Windows XP and Vista at the time.

Now I have a Win7 PC, and I tried to install it, but the way the Cayra installer tests for the .NET framework (it requires .NET 3.0) fails. As a result, it refuses to continue with the installation, even though .NET 3.0 is supported by default in Win 7.  If you try to install .Net 3.0 in Windows 7 you can get into a confusion of instructions from Cayra and Windows that won’t resolve.

Never mind – Mike’s question prompted me to look for a way round this and I found one.

I copied the \Cayra folder from a Windows XP PC to a Win7 PC, and found that the exe file can be launched directly, so no formal installation is needed. I haven’t done a thorough regression test, but it looks OK.  Cayra, being freeware, open source, abandonware and having no licence in the package, I think I can make this generally available without breaking any international treaties.

To get it running without an installer takes a little work, but not too much. Try this:

  1. Download the zipped up Cayra folder.
  2. Make a new folder C:\Program Files\Cayra or C:\Program Files (x86)\Cayra if your Windows is 64-bit.
  3. Unzip the contents of there.
  4. Right click on Cayra.exe and select Create shortcut in the context menu.
  5. Drag the shortcut to the desktop (be careful to drag the shortcut, not the original .exe file – they have the same name). You may then want to remove the “.exe” from the shortcut filename if it appears (that will depend on your Windows settings). You might prefer to place the shortcut somewhere else, like C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs – then it’ll appear in your Start menu.
  6. It’s a good idea to delete or rename C:\Program Files\Cayra\Updater.exe, or you may get occasional error messages on start up when Cayra tries to check for a revised version and fails to get a response.

[Minor correction made to the above by Roy Grubb, 30 Sept 2013]

And you’re done.



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15 Replies to “News about Cayra”

  1. Many thanks for the clear, useful instruction. I’m sorry the folks didn’t stay with this software, because it is still my pick for a quick, simple use….and the very best to demo to greenhorns as an example of mindmapping and how it works. I was appalled when I had to switch to Win7 and couldn’t get it installed so you bailed me out quite nicely! Thanks again.

    1. It is just possible that something may develop with Cayra.

      I recently heard from Technische Universität Darmstadt that they are seeking permission from the authors, Intalev, to take on development. I have tried to contact Intalev several times without response, but Darmstadt have the edge on me – they have a Russian-speaking student on the case!

      Their efforts, plus those of an earlier volunteer who asked if I had the source code (I don’t) may see Cayra back in development.


  2. That is good news indeed. Thank you for dealing with what looked to be pretty much hopeless; I hope you, the code-requester, and/or these Darmstadt folks can work the miracle needed! I’ll keep an eye on your site for news.


  3. Cayra works great en has een beautifull simple elegance. I use it for thinking en presenting my thougts about coherence and social structures. But with W7 I couldn’t get it to work, but now …. THIS WORKS :))

    great prospect that someone will take this program to a new level, I hope it is going to be more than a rumour.


  4. I managed to install cayra on win 7 in a different way:

    1) download it from cnet, etc.
    2) open a command prompt window
    3) locate the downloaded file
    4) type msiexec /a cayra_0.9.5.msi

    and that’ll start the installer just right without asking for .net framework 3.0

    good luck!

    1. One may need to run dos command prompt as administrator to install it!
      (right click cmd.exe and choose run as administrator)

      Thx that was usefull too!!

  5. Hi,
    thank you for your great post. :). I like the design and the concept of this software a lot.
    Hence I would like to install it on Win8.1.
    Can I install the app in the same way as you described her for Win7?

    As I went through the comments, I saw that you were trying to get in touch with the developer.
    Did you have any luck here? Or do you know, if someone actually took on the project?

    If it is not possible to install it on Win8.1, do you know an alternative for it – preferable for the Mac ;)?
    I like especially the way the colours bend together as well as that the concept seems a little different to other mindmapping apps.

    Thank you 🙂

    1. It is quite likely to work in Win8.1 (desktop mode, not Modern interface) though I haven’t tried it.

      The original authors have resisted all attempts to contact them or find the source code, despite it being open source at one time. The university that was going to support it if they could confirm its status understandably would not do so without confirmation from the copyright holder, so sadly it’s not moving forward. I still use it for some maps though, see


  6. Thank you so much for your answer. 🙂
    I saw your mind map and I think it works and looks great, one of the reasions I would like to use it.
    It seems that its design is quite unique. I haven’t found a similar program so far.
    If I can install it on Win8.1 I’ll report back. However it might take a while due to my schedule. 😉

    BTW do you have a recommendation for Mac?
    I am using “MindNote”, “MagicalPad” and also “MindMaple”. They are very good but … 😉

    Do you have more information which department at the TU Darmstadt is trying to get in touch with the developers?

    Thank you again 🙂

      1. Hi Renee,

        I had to dig back into my records and contact Vic about this – I found I hadn’t got the information. He was contacted by Dirk Schnelle-Walka, a researcher there. I’ll email you with Dr. Schnelle-Walka’s contact details.


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