As I've said a few times in different places, it seems to me that most (not
all) users who don't like Vista haven't actually used Vista. They've been
warned off by horror stories from other users and have not tried Vista
themselves. Or they've tried it for less than a week, while clinging
ferociously to their WinXP mindset and griping (or even panicking) whenever
Vista does not react as they are accustomed to WinXP behaving. During that
first week, Vista is busy with background tasks, such as downloading Updates
and Indexing files on the hard drive, and the User is continually installing
applications and tweaking Vista in ways that require Administrator status.
During this time, yes, Vista seems very intrusive. Newsgroups have many
testimonials, though, from users like me who stuck with Vista through the
first month and now would not dream of going back. Not everybody, of
course. Some users have legitimate reasons for preferring WinXP and others
simply refuse to invest the time and effort to learn new things, even when
the new things are better.
With that said, let me address a couple of specific points in your query.
First, yes, Vista does enforce the long-overlooked rule that DATA files
should NOT be mixed with PROGRAM files. The C:\Program Files folder was
introduced so long ago that I can't recall when; was it in Win9x? Or Win2K?
But the idea was that the .exe, .dll and other executable files would be
installed in subfolders under that Program Files folder, and that all data
files to be used by a program would be created in a folder somewhere else on
the hard drive. Many (most?) application developers - including Intuit -
ignored this commonsense rule and continued putting date files into the
program folders. Even as late as WinXP (I think), Intuit created the
Quicken data file as C:\Program Files\QDATA.QDF, by default. And, while
Microsoft strongly urged developers to follow the new rule, the operating
system did not actually enforce it - until Vista.
In Vista, when Quicken tries to create a new data file in Program Files,
Vista balks and insists that the new file go elsewhere. Typically, the user
doesn't even realize that the data file has gone into his/her own Documents
file, because Vista quietly redirects the location, typically to
C:\Users\RC\Documents\Quicken (your folder will use your own Username
instead of my RC, of course). For a single-user computer this might seem
unnecessary, but for multiple users, it protects RC's private data from
other users' prying eyes. The only "other" user who can see into
C:\Users\RC subfolders is THE Administrator, who must furnish the proper
credentials to access everything on that computer. Even another member of
the Administrators group must pass this additional checkpoint to see RC's
private data. (Deeper security would require encryption or other measures,
but I don't know anything about that subject.)
Program Files is not the only protected area in Vista. The Root of the
System Drive (typically C:\) is also off-limits unless an Administrator
insists. To store files there, we must create a subfolder and put our files
in that; we can put some text in C:\MyTexts\some.txt, for example, but not
An additional folder shows up when we install 64-bit Windows, either WinXP
x64 or Vista x64: C:\Program Files (x86). (When I first saw this new
folder after installing WinXP x64 about 4 years ago, I assumed was for
64-bit applications. Much later I learned that "x86" means 32-bit code
written for the x86 family of Intel processors, from the 8086 in the IBM AT
to the 80486 and Pentium. By then, I had already hopelessly jumbled my
32-bit and 64-bit applications in the two Program Files and Program Files
(x86) folders.) Both 64-bit versions of Windows put all 32-bit applications
(including Quicken) into Program Files (x86) and the (so-far very few)
64-bit applications into Program Files so they can be matched with the
proper 64-bit DLLs and other support files. (Users who dual-boot 32-bit and
64-bit operating systems must be VERY careful to get any shared applications
into the right folders!)
While I did fall into the x86 trap, the "no data files in Program Files"
caused me no problem because of my legacy arrangement bypassed that problem.
As I've reported here several times, way back in the early '90s, when I
first started using "Quicken for Windows", it was installed into
C:\QuickenW. Later, when I started dual-booting, I put that folder onto my
Drive E: so that it could be accessed by both Win95 and WinNT4. Through
successive generations of both Quicken and Windows, I've continued to
install Quicken into E:\QuickenW, rather than into Program Files. Vista
Ultimate x64 still uses E:\QuickenW for both the application and my data
files without objection. I have full access to my data from my usual "RC"
account, but when I log in as "Charlie", my 5-year-old grandson who is the
only other User, I can run Quicken but I'm locked out of my data unless I
invoke my Administrator credentials.
Because I'm just one guy with one computer, I've never bothered to learn
much about Users and security and passwords and permissions. So I don't
know much about the fine points of installing and running Quicken. When I
simply insert the Q2008D CD and run Setup from my usual default RC account,
it just works. And every day, when I click the icon in Quick Launch, it
just loads my data and runs. ;<)
John, you and other long-time regulars here may recall that I did have some
installation trauma installing Quicken several times during the long Vista
beta period. Since Vista "went gold" in November 2006, though, I've had no
such problems installing Quicken several more times.
R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX
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