Software Installation Whats Changed

Compared to Windows XP and earlier releases of Windows, the processes of installing, configuring, and maintaining software and game programs are different in Windows 7. Primarily, this is because of changes to:

• The way accounts are used

• The way User Account Control (UAC) works

• The replacement of the Add/Remove Programs utility with the Uninstall or Change a Program control panel

• The way application access tokens are used

• The way applications write to the system locations

Unlike Windows XP and earlier releases of Windows, Windows 7 has only standard user accounts and administrator accounts. When you create a user in Windows 7, you choose one type of account or the other, removing the gray area between these two types of accounts that was previously available in the form of the Power Users group. In Windows 7, the Power Users group is included only for backward compatibility, and you should use it only when you need to resolve compatibility issues.

Access to Power Users and other groups is buried deep enough that you won't see it when you create a user in the Control Panel. You'll have to use the hidden User Accounts control panel (click Start, type lusrmgr.msc in the Search box, and then press Enter) in order to access the advanced group permissions needed to add a user to this group. You can also use the Computer Management administrative tool and select Local Users and Groups (not available on Windows 7 Starter).

In Windows 7, software installation, configuration, and maintenance are processes that require elevated privileges. Because of this, only administrators can install, configure, and maintain software. As discussed in Chapter 3, elevation is a feature of UAC. Because of UAC, Windows 7 is able to detect software installation. When Windows 7 detects a software-installation-related process, it prompts for permission or consent prior to allowing you to install, configure, or maintain software on your computer.

Windows 7 does not include an Add/Remove Programs utility (however, the Remove Programs functionality lives on in the Control Panel). Instead, it relies completely on the software and game programs themselves to provide the necessary installation features through a related setup or autorun program.

* > I Most programs created for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, I Windows 2000, and Windows XP use setup.exe programs. Programs ilv created for Windows Vista and later versions of Windows can use autorun.exe or other programs, such as StartCD.exe, particularly if those programs use current versions of Windows installers. For simplicity's sake, I'll refer to setup, autorun and similar programs as Setup programs.

Like Windows Vista, Windows 7 changes the way application access tokens are used and the way software programs write to system locations. These changes are so far-reaching that software not specifically designed to support this architecture is considered legacy software. This means there are two general categories of software that you can use with Windows 7:

• UAC-compliant applications

• Legacy applications

Any software written specifically for the revised architecture guidelines is considered a compliant application and can be certified as Windows-compliant. Applications written for Windows 7 have access tokens that describe the privileges required to run and perform tasks. UAC-compliant applications fall into two general categories:

Administrator user applications

If an application requires elevated privileges to run and perform tasks, it is considered an administrator user application. Administrator user applications can write to system locations of the registry and filesystem. Standard user applications

If an application does not require elevated privileges to run and perform tasks, it is considered a standard user application. Standard user applications should write only to nonsystem locations of the registry and filesystem.

Any application written for Windows XP or an earlier version of Windows is considered a legacy application. Legacy applications run as standard user applications and in a special compatibility mode that provides virtualized views of file and registry locations. When a legacy application attempts to write a system location, Windows 7 gives the application a private copy of the file or registry value. Any changes are then written to the private copy, and this private copy is in turn stored in the user's profile data. If the application attempts to read or write to this system location again, it is given the private copy from the user's profile.

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