What is the difference between the Oracle Base Directory and the Oracle Home Directory?

I'm an applications developer. My specialty is developing applications based on the Microsoft Office platform, but I can navigate in Visual Studio too. I am trying to ramp up for a project that is going to be using Microsoft Access 2010 for a front end linked to an Oracle database, which I've not worked with before.
I am trying to install Oracle on a computer running on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit and I'm feeling like a kid who just wants to kick the ball around but has to build a soccer stadium before he can even start.
Anyway, I've installed Oracle Enterprise 11g on the computer. I know that life would probably be much simpler with Oracle Express, but Express, unfortunately, only runs on Windows 32 bit, hence the full edition. I also loaded all the sample databases (at least I'm pretty sure I did).
I've loaded the Java JDK 1.6 version. I believe that piece is OK.
At this point the piece I think I really need is ODAC, so I can set up ODBC, then create a DSN to create a connection from Access to Oracle.
SO here I am trying to load ODAC and wondering what I'm supposed to do with this window that the Oracle Universal Installer has presented me. Here's a snapshot of the window.
OUIOThe window text:

Install Location
Specify a base location for storing all Oracle software and configuration-related files. This location is the Oracle Base directory. Create one Oracle Base Directory for each operating system user. By default, software and configuration files are installed by version and database name in the Oracle Base directory.

Oracle Base: C:\app\Todd

Software location
Specify a base location for storing Oracle software files separate from database configuration files in the Oracle Base directory. This software directory is the Oracle Home directory. Change the defaults below either to specify an alternative location, or to an existing Oracle Home.

Name: OraCLient11g_home1
Path: C:\app\Todd\product\11.2.0\client_1

So the Oracle Base, Name and Path do exist (my user name is Todd). They are the defaults that were created when I installed Oracle.
I don't know what to make of the prompt for the Software Location. In fact, I would put forth the supposition that if you really understand what this prompt is getting at, you're probably already an expert in the software and don't need that prompt to begin with. Does this mean I'm supposed to create a different folder and put the path to that new folder in the textbox for 'path'? What if I just want to use the pre-existing sample databases that were loaded in the initial install. I believe they're in Oracle11g_home1. Am I supposed to first create a copy of them somewhere else, then install this ODAC software in there? It's not making a whole lot of sense to me, but I guess that's just my ignorance showing.
I know I'm asking a whole lot of questions here, but, then, I'm not sure what's the correct first question to ask.
I'll try this:
What is the difference between the Oracle Base Directory and the Oracle Home Directory?
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shambaladAsked:
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sdstuberCommented:
You can see from the examples you have above.  Oracle Home is a sub-directory under Oracle Base.

Oracle Base holds everything for Oracle except the data files (although it "could")
Typically this will be divided between the Oracle binaries (which are in the home) and the diagnostics (trace, dump and listener/alert log files)

If you have multiple homes (for instance 10g and 11g installs) both will be under the same oracle base
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shambaladAuthor Commented:
If I'm reading your response correctly, the entries that were loaded by the installation software to that prompt screen are OK.
But if I click 'Next', I get a warning message (see below).



Message text:
OUI-10030. You have specified a non-empty directory to install this product. It is recommended to specify either an empty or a non-existent directory. You may, however, choose to ignore this message if the directory contains Operating System generated files or subdirectories like lost+found.
Do you want to proceed with installation in this Oracle Home?


I have a feeling I probably should want to proceed with installation in a different Oracle Home. But is that really so. Where should I install this software?

I'll admit I'm actually asking a new question here. So I'm going to close this question out; give you credit for the answer and copy this over to a new forum question.
Thanks,
Todd
Oui-Warning-msg.jpg
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shambaladAuthor Commented:
I was trying to embed that image. I don't care for this new web brower interface that Experts-Exchange has implemented at all. I don't think it's an improvement.
Anyway, here's the image:
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shambaladAuthor Commented:
I'm going to open a new question to continue this line of inquiry.
Thanks,
Todd
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sdstuberCommented:
I'm going to guess you've tried the install more than once and that's why you're getting the error that the directory isn't empty.

Either that, or you pre-created the directory and when Oracle tried to create it for you it saw it already there and is warning you.

Only you can decide if it's safe or not.  If the home directory is empty or has nothing in it important you can ignore the error.  if the directory has something in it important then you might want to pick something else
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