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Installing Software on Windows Vista


Microsoft Vista has new security features that complicate the process of installing software if you are not familiar with them.

User Account Control Warning (when running set-up)

If you have User Account Control enabled (the default in Vista), then when running an installer program (set-up program), you should get a warning stating "An unidentified program wants to access your computer." Choose Allow.

The reason for this warning is that installers require 'elevated' administration privilege to properly install an application on your computer. It's the same as if you right clicked on the setup program and chose Run as Administrator. In Vista, with UAC enabled, no program can run with administration privilege (even from an administrator account) unless you approve it. This protects you from inadvertently running an unknown program and giving it the ability to change your system. It's up to you to decide whether you trust the installer and to give it permission to run.

If you are confident with your judgement and you trust others (if anyone) who has accounts on your computer, you might want to consider disabling User Account Control (UAC) to eliminate the warnings. Your system will be more secure in general if you leave UAC enabled, learn what all the warnings mean, and use them wisely. But if the inconvenience is a greater concern, here's a good article on how to disable UAC: Disabling UAC in Vista

Unsuccessful Install with User Account Control Enabled

It's possible that your Vista system might not recognize our set-up program as being an installer. This could happen if your Vista system is configured in certain ways. In this case, you will not typically receive a warning when running the set-up program. And the program will not be installed properly, meaning you won't be able to run the program. If this happens, run the set-up file again, only this time run it as administrator. To run it as administrator in Vista, it's no longer enough to simply log in to an administrator account and run the set-up file. You have to actually right click on the set-up program and choose "Run as Administrator". It will then install correctly.

If you see an error message the first time you run the program itself (not the installer), you should run the program once using Run as Administrator as well.

This program might not have installed correctly

If you have User Account Control enabled (the default in Vista), then after running an installer program (or even after cancelling an installation), you might get this warning from the Compatibility Assistant. Once again Vista has guessed wrong and is warning you unnecessarily. Choose "This program installed correctly".

Compatibility Assistant Warning (after running set-up)

Upon completion of the install, you may encounter another message from the Compatibility Assistant implying (inaccurately) that this is an "older" program and is not compatible with Vista. This warning can be ignored as well.

You might consider disabling the compatibility assistant. This article describes how: Windows Vista Program Compatibility