System architecture and coping with Session 0 isolation in Windows Vista

Posted on 2008-11-07
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I am running into complications with one of our applications resulting from the new session 0 isolation Microsoft introduced in Windows Vista. Our VB6 application (running as a service via srvany.exe) interacts with the desktop via a control panel user interface and systray icon. All of our applications communicate via TCP sockets.
The purpose of this application of ours is to allow users to manage our legacy backend data collection utilities that drive our user interfaces (such as showing/hiding their display windows).

There are two architectural problems we are now encountering while still trying to run our management application at service level:

1. As our application can no longer interact with the desktop, users cannot use it to show and hide the legacy programs it manages (as these processes have been started at service level by the management application).

2. If our management application was to run at service level but start the legacy programs as user level, logging off the PC would result in our legacy programs needing to be restarted.  This would also result in the legacy programs ceasing data collection for the period of time in which they are restarted.

Any changes to system architecture would have to be completed in the management application, as the legacy programs serve their purpose and are static EXEs.

Does anyone have any suggestions how we could rework our system architecture to permit the legacy programs to interact with the desktop (at the very least)?

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback.
Question by:rite_eh
    LVL 41

    Accepted Solution

    You're right... Vista has changed things so that's not an option anymore.
    I think the only real solution is to break your application into two parts... and service part and the User Interface part.    That way, the service can be started with elevated privilegs and continue to run after log off... and all interaction with the user would be done via a separate UI app that talks to the service.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the response. I too have come to the conclusion that this (messy) change is what is required.

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