Slightly OT: Windows Vista does not allow me to change any files in Program Files folders

Subject: Slightly OT: Windows Vista does not allow me to change any files in Program Files folders
From: "Yves Barbion" <yves -dot- barbion -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 10:53:06 +0100

Hi techwhirlers,

this is slightly OT, but I think relevant for all Windows Vista users.

Sometimes, we need to change the odd configuration file in the installation
folder of a program. These files are usually in a subfolder of c:\program

No problem in Windows XP, but, in Windows Vista, we get error messages
saying that only the Administrator can do this. However, we only have one
user account in Vista and this user does have admin rights!

I have already checked the Microsoft support site, but the "workarounds"
suggested by the Microsoft MVP don't make any sense (see below): saving the
(ini) file elsewhere and then copying it back to the Program Files folder is
a definite no-no.

Any suggestions for a better workaround/hack? And if anyone knows how we can
get rid of all those other annoying Vista confirmation messages ("Are you
sure you want to...?"), please share it with the community.

Thanks in advance.

Yves Barbion


Answer from Microsoft MVP:


In Windows Vista, even though you are an administrator, the programs that
run on your computer are not allowed to use your administrator power unless:

1- They prompt you for permission
2- You explicitly give them permission (right-click, run as administrator)

The files in Program Files and your root C drive are not writiable by
non-administrative programs because the files in these areas affect every
user and the entire system.

Allowing unpriviliged programs write access to these areas would allow them
to overwrite/replace well-known programs or system-wide configuration data
used by windows or well-known programs, which is unacceptable for a program
that does not prompt.

The easiest way to accomplish what you are doing is to save the file to some

place in your user profile (such as documents), and then using windows
explorer, move that file to program files. This will end up prompting you
for permission and then allowing things to work.

Alternatively, you can run the program that is doing the downloading "as
administrator" by right-clicking it and clicking Run As Administrator, and
this will allow it to save to this area, but the solution above is better.


Microsoft MVP"

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
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