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Why should I install in "Program Files"

Avatar from
8 discussion posts
With Windows 7 on the horizon for consumers, I've been thinking a lot about rebuilding my box with Windows 7. I really want to keep out the cruft so the OS stays snappy and also makes backups simpler. One such way to do this is to have a separate drive to install all my programs to. I'm a gamer currently running XP for all my games, and they are all installed on a separate drive and I have no issues at all.

From what I've read, Vista and 7 treat the Program Files and Program Files (x86) directories as a special case in that they are protected and programs cannot write data to them.

So I have two main questions here:
[list type=decimal]
  • Why does DisplayFusion require installation to the Program Files directory
  • How do others install programs? Does everything go into Program Files or do you install to another location?
  • [/list]
    Sep 3, 2009  • #1
    Avatar from
    Andrew M
    37 discussion posts

    It's more of a convention than a rule - but it also has something to do with security. You may run into issues if you try and install applications to other locations.

    perhaps try googling for different backup strategies may shed some light on a technique you could use to solve this problem

    best of luck!
    Sep 4, 2009  • #2
    Jon Tackabury (BFS)'s profile on
    @cowgod: With "normal" applications, you can install them wherever you want. As Andrew said, it's just a convention more than anything. However, applications that need to interact with other applications that are running in a higher security context must be installed into a designated "trusted zone". The "Program Files" folder just happens to be a trusted zone and allows DisplayFusion to interact with higher privilege processes without a UAC prompt. I hope this information helps.
    Sep 4, 2009  • #3
    Avatar from
    8 discussion posts
    So if UAC is disabled, I can install things wherever I want without any issues, correct? I know it's not advisable to disable UAC, but just for the sake of argument, let's say it is.

    And if UAC is on and I install DisplayFusion somewhere other than Program Files, it will still function, I will just get prompted a lot?
    Sep 4, 2009  • #4
    Jon Tackabury (BFS)'s profile on
    I'm not sure if disabling UAC will completely fix the issue. It is a security barrier called UIPI that prevents lower applications talking to higher ones. Even if you install DisplayFusion to a different location with UAC enabled you won't get prompted, it will just silently fail to work with some applications.
    Sep 4, 2009  • #5
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