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|01-21-08, 11:27 AM||#1|
Vista Users - UAC and You
If you don't want to know all the background information on WHY this is necessary, and just want to get WoW to work, then scroll down "Making It Work" below.
Are you having trouble installing addons? Are you changing files or deleting your WTF folder, but somehow magically WoW ignores the changes? If you're on Windows Vista, a new security feature called "User Account Control" is likely to blame.
About User Account Control (UAC)
Microsoft's Windows Vista is the latest generation of their Windows operating system. Along with new eye-catching features, Vista also takes a new, hard stance on security. This new stance, however, caught some programmers off-guard. As a result, these new features have caused some programs to operate slightly differently than expected, and unfortunately, World of Warcraft is one of them.
The new feature in question is called "User Account Control" or "UAC." UAC is a great feature that provides users with the security that they are not running as administrators all the time. *nix users will be familiar with this system, as the overwhelming majority of them will agree that you should not be running as root, and only give permissions to programs as necessary.
One of the restrictions imposed by this is that the Program Files folder cannot be modified without "escalated" (administrative-level) permissions. WoW (by default) does not run escalated, so it does not have access to the Program Files folder. You may, however, be aware that WoW needs to write files there! It stores all of your configurations (in the WTF folder), it stores the cache data (in the Cache folder), and it even puts some default addon keys there.
So why doesn't WoW just crash when it can't write there? Well, Microsoft was intelligent. They foresaw that older programs consistently used this folder to store configuration information, even though it has been strongly discouraged by Microsoft for years in favor of the %APPDATA% folder. So they invented this idea of "virtualization." If a program does not indicate to Vista that it is "UAC Aware" (via a "manifest"), Vista assumes that the program is not aware of the permissions restrictions. So, instead of denying access, it "fakes" write access. Anything the program tries to write or create in the Program Files folder then gets actually written to the "Virtual Store" which is located at C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore. If you go there and don't properly have WoW set up, you may even see that there is a Program Files\World of Warcraft folder there with various files that have been virtualized away.
Making It Work
So, how do we stop this? There are actually several solutions, though some are preferred over others due to simplicity.
UAC is a useful feature provided by Microsoft that enforces policies that have been encouraged a long time ago. Unfortunately, programs are still not up with the times, and thus these changes sometimes cause a few glitches along the way. UAC still can provide the security you desire and your programs can get along with it just fine, it just may take a little extra attention. With this attention you can be sure to have a secure user account while enjoying the world we all love.
It's my turn next.
Shakespeare liked regexes too!
Last edited by Shirik : 01-24-08 at 10:35 AM.
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