Problems with "VirtualStore" paths

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Dirk Schwenke
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Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2005 11:31 pm
Location: Hamburg

Problems with "VirtualStore" paths

Post by Dirk Schwenke » Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:05 pm


We have a user who had problems with the VirtualStore path introduced with Windows Vista:
- he had installed Notesbrowser and everything worked well
- then he changed the administrator securities functions, because he wanted to get rid of the many security question
- all Notesbrowser data was appearantly gone
- the recovery of a backup did not change anything

With help of our database finder:

He could located his database and backup path here:
"C:\Users\HP\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\Notesbrowser"
"C:\Users\HP\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\Notesbrowser\Backup"

But on his hard disk it looks correct:
C:\Program Files\Notesbrowser\
C:\Program Files\Notesbrowser\Backup

What has happened and what to do?


The problem is, that Windows since Vista creates a "VirtualStore" in case the user has not enough rights to write to C:\Program Files and a program wants to write to this location. The idea behind this is, that no program should read or write data to or from C:\Program Files\.

But much programs read/write to it, so what does Windows do?

It internally changes the path:
"C:\Program Files\Notesbrowser" to somewhat
"C:\Users\xyz\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\Notesbrowser"

Much programs do read and write in its installation folder, also Notesbrowser does this and always saves its database exactly in the same folder where the executable "nb.exe" is located. Our idea is to have all data in one single folder (e.g. C:\Program Files\Notesbrowser) - this makes it easy to move Notesbrowser to USB stick and to have many parallel Notesbrowser installation, etc.

Unfortunately, our concept is adverse from the Windows concept.

For most users, there is no problem. But if you do not have full rights to write to "C:\Program Files\Notesbrowser" the VirtualStore will be used, probably without your knowledge. Be aware the we suspect that the feature "VirtualStore" maybe has bugs or is not consistent with the way the operation system usually addresses the file system. So it may lead to troubles and the bad behavior explained above.

What to do?
There are two solutions:
- give your User full rights to read and write to the installation folder (usually "C:\Program Files\Notesbrowser"):
(See here how to do this viewtopic.php?f=2&t=173 )

- if you can not have full rights or continue to have problems, move the whole Notesbrowser folder plus its database to a "neutral" path for example C:\Notesbrowser or so where you have full right and Windows cannot mess it up. Be sure you have full rights there. Speak to your Administrator if you have not.

For your Backup path, also select a plain simple path, for example D:\Notesbrowser-Backup. Or use a USB stick.

The Notesbrowser and Backup paths do not need to be on the first folder level, e.g. D:\Backups\Notesbrowser-Backup will perfectly work.

We may consider to address this problems with a changeable Notesbrowser database path in the future.

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