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Can I install into C:\<MyProgramName>\ ?

Posted on 2013-11-04
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Last Modified: 2013-11-04
Currently we install our program into:

C:\Program Files\<Company Name>\<Program Name\

and the program's data files we write to are placed in:

AppData\Roaming\<OurProgram>\

Management is asking why we should have our program files spread all over the computer, instead of having them all in one place. They wish to know if we could just install our program into:

C:\<Company Name>\<Program Name>\

Is there a good reason not to do this?

(Both the program files and the data files we write to would be under this single directory.)

(Of course we actually install into the more abstract versions of C:\Program Files\: i.e.
[ProgramFilesFolder][Manufacturer]\[ProductName]
[AppDataFolder][Manufacturer]\[ProductName]

(P.S. I've also noticed a recent trend to install all program files into AppData\Local, e.g. Google Chrome, Amazon Kindle Previewer.)
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Question by:deleyd
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 100 total points
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First reason is that C:\Program Files is the 'standard' location for programs.  Some are using AppData\Local to get around permission and GPO restrictions on other directories.  I'm sure there is a way to install the programs at C:\<Company Name>\<Program Name>\ but since there are increased security restrictions to putting anything in C:\ , you would want to check that out before you say that you can do it.

Note that if you were publishing a Unix/Linux version, you would likely have files in many more directories based on standard procedure there.
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by:deleyd
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I wonder if Windows 8 places any restrictions on installing programs in to C:\...

I've seen a few programs the probably originated on Linux which get installed to C:\... such as Python, Strawberry Perl, Qt, xampp, code_red RedSuite.

If installing to C:\... is OK then why don't more companies install it there?

Does Microsoft have anything useful to say on this subject?
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by:Dave Baldwin
Dave Baldwin earned 100 total points
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At the very least, you have to use an Admin account to install programs.  If everybody installed their programs in C:\, it would get very cluttered...kind of like C:\Program Files usually is now.  And yes a lot of programs that originated in Unix/Linux (or DOS?) get installed in C:\.  Some of those work better there because they don't encounter the spaces in file names that Windows frequently uses.  I've had some of those programs not work properly with file names and/or paths with spaces in them.

I can't find anything from Microsoft on the reasons for using C:\Program Files.  The obvious conclusion to me is that you have to put them somewhere and Microsoft puts all their applications there.

The other thing is that the end-users of most software never know where the software is installed and the software doesn't care as long as You get the paths right.  So even if you do install your software in C:\, only you and your bosses will know about it.  And some techies that like to go see how things are being done.
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Vadim Rapp earned 400 total points
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> Is there a good reason not to do this?

Yes - following Windows Client Software Logo guidelines, that on page 8 say the following:

Applications should be installed to the Program Files folder by default. User data or application data must never be stored in this location because of the security permissions configured for this folder

All application data that must be shared among users on the computer should be stored within ProgramData

All application data exclusive to a specific user and not to be shared with other users of the computer must be stored in Users\<username>\AppData
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