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Windows 7: Installing old programs without an installer

16 May 2010   #1

Windows Home Premium (64)
 
 
Installing old programs without an installer

I have some software that does not use an Installer.

In XP, all I needed to do was create a folder in C:\Program Files and copy the software files into the folder and create a desktop shortcut to the program.

The program itself writes into that home folder (various .dat files) and into C:\WINDOWS (a .ini file).

I understand that, in Windows 7, installers wanting wanting to write to \Program Files (x86)\foldername are redirected to write to \Users\username\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\foldername. And that the program would write its files into that folder and into a \Windows folder alongside.

To keep things organised:
-- how would I install this program?
-- can I copy its files into the \Users\username\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\foldername folder and create the shortcut?
-- anything-else needed?
-- I don't really want to create another "Program Files" folder (in, say, \Users\username\Documents).

[Useful thread: User Account Control Data Redirection ]


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 May 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I have a collection of programs that are too small for installers so I have them in their own folders under a main one such as x:\utilities. You could then right click on the main exe and drag it to desktop and create shortcut.
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16 May 2010   #3

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

I have many programs that only require unzipping to a folder and they create an .ini file in the same folder as the .exe. They work on Vista64 and Windows 7. Not everything gets redirected. If the program uses environment variables or CLSID to determine where to put stuff then it may vary. My programs just get the exe folder location and create the .ini file there.
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17 May 2010   #4

Windows Home Premium (64)
 
 

Ok, but I do not wish to create a third area for programs, so could I just put the files in \Users\username\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\foldername myself? Or would Windows 7 object?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2010   #5

OS X Snow Leopard, Windows 7 Pro on the MacBook.
 
 

I have some of these programs, too. I just keep everyone of them in the My Documents folder, that way when I run a backup, they all get copied. I find it easier to it that way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2010   #6

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Manually copying folders and files into the Program Files directory is a major security risk and Vista/Windows 7 do a good job here to prevent malicious code from altering any existing applications. So what Windows does is allow applications to write to the ProgramData folder.

Logically, \Program Files\ should contain only executables, \Program Data\ only generic supporting files, and Users\username\AppData\ the data created for the specific user of the program.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2010   #7

Windows Home Premium (64)
 
 

^^^^
I understand that; I am not suggesting doing anything to the Program Files directory at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2010   #8

Windows Home Premium (64)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Logically, \Program Files\ should contain only executables, \Program Data\ only generic supporting files, and Users\username\AppData\ the data created for the specific user of the program.
I would certainly agree with this, but it all depends on the authors of the software applications writing / updating their software to conform to these principles.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 May 2010   #9

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DarkStar GT View Post
^^^^
I understand that; I am not suggesting doing anything to the Program Files directory at all.
Since you are the one with the program I think you are the only one(other than maybe the author of the software) who can answer the question. Try it and see what happens. If the program writes to Windows.ini for settings the OS should redirect it. I use a folder C:\Utils for all my non-install or portable stuff. If I custom install a new OS it does not grab it and stick it in Windows.old. By just making new shortcuts I have programs that still work in the new OS right away. By sticking stuff manually in the system folders you are likely just creating problems for yourself.

edit: the other thing you can do is use Sandboxie. That will make it much easier to see all the changes after running the program sandboxed.

http://www.sandboxie.com/index.php?DownloadSandboxie
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 May 2010   #10

Windows Home Premium (64)
 
 

Thank you for the replies.

As I'm too new to Windows 7 and no-one has mentioned copying the files into a sub-folder in VirtualStore I'll pass on that and just use a sub-folder elsewhere (something like C:\Classic Applications\appname).
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 Installing old programs without an installer




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