Getting Started


What you need to know about Vista


Posted: 22 Apr 2007 09:17 am


According to Microsoft, Vista is the biggest release of Windows ever. Lots of new features to play with, along with better security and an updated user interface. The downside is compatibility, with the most common question asked: Will existing applications run on Vista? If they trip up (and many do, including such blockbusters as QuickBooks 2006), it will most likely be over UAC or User Account Control, Microsoft's attempt to bring Unix-like security to Windows.

There is a fair amount of confusion over UAC, which is rapidly gaining notoriety for annoying the user with constant permission prompts. That's something we'll learn to live with. Security usually comes with a price tag. Look no further than the long check-in lines at airports.

More insidious is a new UAC feature called Virtualization. The idea is to accommodate legacy applications that write to files in protected directories. "C:/Program Files" is such a directory. This is so common that Microsoft devised a mechanism that allows these programs to still work. When a program writes to files residing in the "Program Files" folder, Vista redirects the write operation to a user-specific location. The application thinks it's writing to the main Program Files directory, but in reality a file gets written to a second Program Files directory in the individual user's Virtual Store. Specifically, C:\Users\(User's Name)\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\PrintFire\MorningFlight. Data which the application thinks is globally accessible now becomes private to each user.

I'll have more on this later. For now, the short version is that Morning Flight programs will run under Vista without modification, provided there is only one user per machine. If you expect to set up multiple User Accounts on the same computer, remove "Program Files" from the default path when you first install the program. In other words, install Morning Flight into C:\PrintFire\MorningFlight, not C:\Program Files\PrintFire\MorningFlight. That will prevent Vista from creating separate data files for each user.

Under Vista, you'll need to install Morning Flight as Administrator: Right-click on MFSetupF.exe (Free Edition) or MFSetupS.exe (Silver Edition), then select "Run as administrator" from the pop-up menu. If you're upgrading, be sure to back up your files beforehand.

. . . . .  Hal Heindel