A Vista Virtual Store

There have been a few of you asking about the benefits of the Virtual Store found in Windows Vista. And while it’s a great thing, it seems as if some of you have some concerns about it as well. That’s especially true when it comes to finding some of the programs or applications in the Virtual Store directory even after uninstalling them from your computer. So, I’m here to bring you a little peace of mind when working with the Vista Virtual Store. This is some valuable information you don’t want to miss out on. Here we go!

For security, Vista forbids programs from writing to a variety of “sensitive” areas, including the Windows folder and the Program Files folder. Of course, that also includes all the subfolders. Therefore, it would be hard on older programs that store INI files or data files along with the program itself.

To avoid disabling those programs, Windows Vista basically lies to them. When they try to write to a banned location, it says, “Sure, no problem!” But it actually saves the data in a holding area called the Virtual Store. Then when the program tries to read back the data it wrote, Vista slips in the data from the Virtual Store. So, the old program then works fine and other programs aren’t affected. A similar process handles programs that write to forbidden areas of the Registry Editor.

Here’s a solution: in order to completely remove those programs or applications from your computer, you’ll have to manually delete the leftovers. Specifically, you’ll open this folder: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\VirtualStore.

You’ll then locate the folder containing the files for your now uninstalled program. You can then delete the entire folder and be done with it. What a simple solution. Try it for yourself today!

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami