Windows – How to make the program work in Windows Vista and Windows 7


I have an application written in Delphi 2006 that was working fine in Windows XP. I packed the application using Inno Setup, using Program Files as the default folder. A few users migrated to Windows Vista and Windows 7. The issue here is that the application creates some files inside its installation folder by its own. This was working in XP but in Windows Vista the users were having problems with the created files (they don't appear and so on). After investigating the users' reports I discovered KB 927387: "Common file and registry virtualization issues in Windows Vista or in Windows 7."

Running the application with administrator rights just solves the problem, but that is (I think) an awful workaround. I would like to know if there are any directives or tips for making the application compatible with Vista and 7, because more users will migrate to these OS soon.

Best Solution

For Vista/Win7, your app can't put the files in a subfolder of Program Files / Programs unless UAC is turned off or the app is running as elevated. Note that "elevated" does not necessarily mean "logged in as Administrator." Non-administrator users can elevate, and Administrator isn't necessarily elevated.

If the app does attempt to write to Program Files but is not elevated, the OS will either block the app or "virtualize" the write (put the files somewhere else), depending upon how UAC is configured. Neither one helps the app succeed at what it was trying to od.

So it needs to put them somewhere else. Where depends on why the files are being created, and you haven't told us that. You can read this article to learn about the options. Note that in addition to the user's AppData and Roaming folders, there is also an "All Users" (shared) profile.

You should probably look at this article and screencast, which discusses UAC in depth from a Delphi point of view.