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IMVU Installed in "AppData\Roaming" instead of "Program Files"


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hierogrammate   (Ed) hierogrammate is offline
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04-May-2012, 05:29 PM #1
Question IMVU Installed in "AppData\Roaming" instead of "Program Files"
This is not really a problem, more like a nerdy technical question, since I like being informed about the goings-on in my PC. I hope I posted it in the right section, since IMVU would probably fall more under "game" than anything else.

I have always been curious as to why would the developers of the chat client IMVU decide to have the program install within C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\IMVUClient (previous versions did so under "Documents and Settings") instead of "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)" on Windows... I am also curious if this unconventional choice could potentially make my PC vulnerable to attacks.

Now, the program works fine AFAIK, but I'm puzzled by this. I'm the kind of user who likes having the choice of installing apps in a drive other than C: (to free space in C:, for portability, etc.), and who gets nervous when apps do not install or behave the way that I'm used to.

I was told by someone more knowledgeable than me that it was probably a lazy way to get around administrative install rights in Windows Vista and Windows 7. He also added that the cache data of the program shouldn't be in Roaming when there is no upper limit or even default size set on it.

And yes, this has been asked on their forums, but no staff member ever answered it (only a forum mod, who didn't have a clue).

Any ideas? Or am I being overly paranoid? :-P

Ed.

Last edited by hierogrammate; 04-May-2012 at 05:36 PM..
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12-May-2012, 07:50 PM #2
I'm still interested in finding why the program installs outside of Program Files. In the meantime, I'll uninstall the program and wait to see if anyone here can answer my question. I don't like having programs that don't follow the "install rules" (especially if there's a possibility it does so to get admin rights I did not approve) :-P
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15-May-2012, 10:52 PM #3
Well, I see no issues with it, nor any security issues. When you re-install it, see if there is an option to install it in Program Files. No, I have no idea why it would be installed in Roaming. Although, I do believe I have one or two programs installed in Roaming. Huh, now that I think about it, that is weird.
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19-May-2012, 12:45 AM #4
Thanks for your reply. And , no, the software never gives he user the option to install the program elsewhere.

I managed to find on my own that you can install software into AppData if you want it to follow a user about in an Active Directory environment (which I'm not entirely clear about what that is... seems to be some kind of networking environment where users can access their data from any PC on the network).

I've also read that you can install into AppData if you want the software to be available to just the user that installs it... however the example I found about that scenario was "when there are multiple users on the same machine, who all want to run different versions of the software in complete isolation." I'd assume all users of the IMVU 3D chat program would want to use the same version of the software, though (also the IMVU servers sometimes block older versions, which forces everyone to use the same version).

Still, the original reply I got, that maybe IMVU in particular does that to sidestep administrative install rights (both Vista and 7 enforce the "read only" rule of Program Files that previous versions didn't), maybe to make the "user experience" smoother to non-computer saavy users. Windows UAC never pops up while installing IMVU (and, yes I checked that UAC was on), which maybe lends some weight to this possibility.

All in all, it looks like it's not an isolated practice as I thought (minecraft installs into the roaming folder), but still not as common as the usual way in "Program Files."
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19-May-2012, 02:32 AM #5
It's really bad design or laziness on the part of the developers. Google Chrome does the same thing, partly because it makes it more difficult to spy on people from Program Files because it has better security, but also because Program Files does not allow direct downloads, so updates and downloaded data cannot go there directly. Other developers stay within the design of the OS and manage to do things all right, but some few just think it's easier to install somewhere else and avoid the enhanced security.
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19-May-2012, 12:33 PM #6
Thanks Elvandil for the info. That basically confirms my original feelings about this.
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