Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why Won't (some) Programs Work in Vista?

While Windows Vista is based off the Windows XP/2000 platform, it does several critical things differently.Essential files often have different names and are stored in different locations, which may baffle programs based on the file structure of earlier Windows versions. The new 'aeroglass' 3D interface can also cause havoc with programs which make use of the Windows XP desktop interface, rather than having their own internal control environment.

One of the major reasons that older applications might fail to work, is Vista's new set of extensive security features. User Accounts Control (UAC), the ever-present 'confirm or deny' permission boxes that pop up when you try to install a program or open a program that changes system settings is one of these.

A common situation where UAC becomes a problem is during legacy software installation. You may encounter error messages during the installation procedure, or it may fail altogether and suddenly de-installl itself half way though. If you encounter this kind installation issue with an older program, it's very likely salvageable by requesting an "elevated execution level."

In other words, we need to tell Windows Vista to run the installation files for your program "as Administrator". To do this,

- Right click on the installation application file,
- Click "Run as Administrator" just below Open File Location ( or alternatively properties > compatibility > and check privilege level to "run this program as an administrator").

A less visible culprit is the new Windows Resource Protection (WRP) feature which replaces the Windows File Protection feature of Windows XP.


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