This is going to be kind of technical and probably boring.
While I was in the bookstore I browsed through some Vista books. Most were the same, lame kind of instruction manual. Chapters such as "How to play a DVD in Windows Vista" or "How to organize your photographs." Spare me. I know those books have their audience, and I am SURE there are nuggets of real value in the books but I don’t feel like wading through all the stuff I know to find them.
Last night I was setting up one of my poker applications. I had forgotten to run it as administrator, which is a very important thing in Vista if you have an application that interacts with other applications (this is a broad-based estimate based upon my limited experience, and I’m sure there is more to it than that). I’m completely cool with that, even though it’s an extra click whenever I run them. The extra click might even be something I can turn off.
Anyway, I was running the program as the user, not the administrator, and it wasn’t working. I saved the settings, did a little research, found the ‘run as administrator’ recommendation in a technical forum and did. All my settings were gone! It was running the same application from the same directories, but all the settings were back at the defaults. I go back and run it as user again and all the settings are there. Administrator, gone.
Okokokok, I tell myself in my Joe Pesci voice… I got this. I know, I can save the settings, and import them into the administrator instance. Click,click,click, save the file, look, yes the file is there, run the app as Administrator… no file. No file?? Now Administrator should be basically omniscient, I would think, but it is not! It could not see the file the application saved while running as a user!
I finally figured out I could save the settings in a file on my desktop, and the application running as Adminstrator could see THAT file, but not the files in the program installation directories.
To top it off, the files the application was saving aren’t there when I view the directory that it saved them to, even though I’m the same user. I use Windows Explorer to look at the directory, and there are no files. I run the application, and the application thinks files are there. I search my entire computer, nada. Can’t find the files. Even when I turn on ‘view hidden files’ they are not there.
It’s like that movie where when you look through the special ring you can see another world, Spiderwick Chronicles.
The reason this is fairly interesting to me, and I know this is a security feature, is that this means that if you accidentally run a malicious application it can’t just go run amok and change all your files in your program directories. It won’t even have permissions to write to the directories without administrator privilege, and even if it does write something no other application can see what is written. I know this is an over-simplification, but this is what I’m thinking based upon what I’ve seen.
In other news, I found this at Office Depot for $9.99: