Vista’s VirtualStore silently causes problems

When our household bought a Vista laptop, I migrated our install of Quicken 2002 to the new computer. My wife and I have separte accounts, and we update the checkbook separately. When she went to balance the checkbook, she noticed that my entries were missing.

On further investigation, it turns out that when I run Quicken, I can see my entries, but not hers. When she runs Quicken, she sees her entries, but not mine. It appeared that we are using two different databases. Quicken 2002 is supposed to write its files to the c:\Program Files\QUICKENW directory. I had given each of our non-Admin users access rights to write to that directory. I installed [Process Explorer]( so that I could see what files Quicken had open, and their location. It turns out that Quicken was writing its files to C:\Users\\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\QUICKENW\. Why was it doing that? What is this VirtualStore thing?

Apparently, Windows Vista enforces security policy and doesn’t allow applications to write to C:\Program Files. Instead, it redirects badly behaved applications, like Quicken 2002, to write files to a per-user [VirtualStore]( directory, and it does this silently (for backwards compatibility). I wish Vista had simply denied write access to Quicken, so I would have known that there was a problem early on, before getting into this mess of having two diverging checkbook databases. I like the additional security that Vista enforces, but it’s inconvenient in subtle and exasperating ways.

Now I need to figure out how to merge our separate copies of the checkbook.

Update: I never did merge the two quicken databases.


Jake Edge writes “Stuttering audio or an unresponsive desktop – typically caused by operating system latency – are two things that annoy users. They can be difficult problems to diagnose, though, as they are transient and buried deep inside the [Linux] kernel. A new tool, [LatencyTOP](, seeks to provide more information on where latency is occurring so that it can be fixed or avoided.”

Read more: [](

Palm TX and Windows Vista

For Christmas, Santa gave me a [Palm TX]( to replace my five-year-old [Sony Clie]( It was more cost effective than a Microsoft Pocket PC device or an [iPhone](, and it’s backwards compatible with my tried-and-true software.

Unfortunately, the [Palm Desktop]( software doesn’t work so well on [Windows Vista]( It appears to work, but fails in subtle and non-obvious ways.

– Each time I hotsync, it repeatedly backs up all programs and databases, which takes a long time. _Solution_: I gave user write access to the folder where it was trying create the backup.
– CSV import of multi-line Note fields is broken. I used this feature to import addresses from MIS2PALM. _Solution_: I upgraded to [MIS2PALM version 4](, and configured it to export in vCard format. Palm Desktop properly imports multi-line Note fields from vCard format.
– CSV import forgets field-association. It used to remember this. Again, I’ve switched to vCard format, so this doesn’t get in my way anymore.
– HotSync > FileLink doesn’t work.
– The Beta Palm Desktop that’s supposed to be compatible with windows Vista hung on startup.

I had gone through a tedious download, uninstall, install process to try the beta out. I had another tedious process to uninstall the broken beta, and then I installed the previous Windows XP version, which I downloaded from the website to save time (I didn’t have the Palm TX install CD with me at the time). This was a big mistake, I realized several days later, because the downloaded version was missing several features such as the Media, Note Pad and VersaMail plugins to the Palm Desktop. So, I had to go through another tedious uninstall, reinstall process. Amidst all of this, the Desktop conveniently forgot some of my customized preferences, which required yet more time.

What a rant… maybe my experience will help someone else figure out how to solve some of the issues I’ve faced.

I really do like my new TX. It’s faster than my previous Clie. It has built-in bluetooth, which allows me to share contacts with my wife’s cell phone, or with other people. The built-in WiFi allows me to read the [mobile edition of the Deseret News](http://deseretnewscom/mobile) and the [Salt Lake Tribune]( with the Blazer browser. It’s not good for much more than that. If it’s handheld web browsing that I had wanted, I would have asked Santa for an iPhone or a [Nokia N800]( internet tablet. For me, the address book, the calendar and the [Plucker]( e-book reader are the most needed features.

Getting core dumps on RHEL/CentOS 4, 5, Fedora

Sometimes, it’s nice to get core files, system wide, on a RedHat, CentOS, or Fedora Linux system. Here’s how: [](

The “[core manpage](” is also useful, in particular, the bit about /proc/sys/kernel/core_pattern.

Javascript = poor security

Jake Edge writes about “[Web security vulnerabilities and Javascript](”:

> Various recent, unrelated security issues seem to have a common thread: Javascript.

This has been true for the past several years, and it’s not restricted to Javascript — it has happened with Flash. Our browsers suck down executable code from nearly every web site we visit, and run it. It enables a richer web browsing experience. Although JavaScript, and to a lesser extent, Flash, are somewhat restricted in what they can run on our computers, it opens the potential for abuse. And they have been [abused](, [again]( and [again](

What solutions exist?

1. Stick head in sand.
3. Wait for web site owners and browser manufactures to fix the security problems. And wait. And wait. And wait some more.
2. Use Firefox and the [NoScript]( extension, which disables JavaScript, Flash, Silverlight and other executable code from running. It’s easy to enable JavaScript when needed.

[NoScript]( can turn web browsing into a painful experience. Some web sites don’t function properly without JavaScript enabled. Functionality breakage may be subtle. I once bought movie tickets for the wrong day because I had JavaScript disabled. I still use NoScript.

[NoScript]( has advantages beyond security: I see fewer annoying animated ads, making many web sites more readable.

CD Burning in Windows Vista

Summary: When creating a CD from Vista, create it as a “Mastered” CD instead of as a “Live File System”. This gives the best chance of being able to share it with friends and family.

Microsoft has sprung some surprises for those who burn CDs using Windows Vista: they’re not as compatible as when created with Windows XP — in particular, they don’t use the long established [ISO 9660]( standard, which is compatible with Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000 and other legacy operating systems. The ISO 9660 format is readable in all CDROM drives. Instead, Vista uses the [UDF]( standard, which is the right choice for DVDs, but not for CDs.

In other words, I can’t burn a CD of family pictures from Vista and read them on my legacy 500 Mhz computer. The CDROM drive in that machine isn’t capable of reading the UDF format. Microsoft has created yet another road block to compatibility. It wouldn’t have been difficult to support ISO 9660.

Still, that’s a legacy computer. What about modern computers?

Vista creates CDs in either “Live File System” or “Mastered” ([UDF]( format. Neither one of these formats is supported by most CDROM drives — you’ll need a DVD drive to read them. The “Live File System” format will cause problems if you want to share the CD with non-Vista computers. To achieve maximum compatibility when burning a CD from Windows Vista, choose the “Mastered – Readable on all computers and some CD/DVD players” option. With this, I can read a CD, created by Vista, in a Linux computer with a DVD drive.

Picture of Vista CD Burning Dialog

My solution to get ISO 9660 CD burning capability is to install and dual-boot [Fedora Linux]( alongside my Vista computer. Its CD burning is a user-friendly experience, with none of the hassles that Microsoft introduced with Windows Vista. Linux even gives me access to the files on my Vista disk partition. I’ll bet that [Ubuntu]( or [Suse]( linux would work just as well.

Windows solutions for burning ISO 9660 CDs include [Nero]( (commercial) or [Burn At Once]( (freeware).

Freeware Linux filesystem reader for Windows

This Linux filesystem reader reportedly works with Windows Vista (as well as other versions of Windows):

There’s also a utility to recover deleted files from Linux partitions:

Gnome Slideshow Screensaver Sanity

The default setup for Gnome’s GLslideshow is highly annoying on Fedora 8, and there’s not an easy way for users to individually configure it. Here’s how. As ‘root’, do the following:

Edit `/usr/share/applications/screensavers/xscreensaver-glslideshow.desktop` and replace

Exec=glslideshow -root


Exec=glslideshow -root -duration 15 -zoom 100 -pan 1 -titles