Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm developing software on a Windows 7 machine, and struggling with the security permissions. Something I do quite often is to install our software from the installer to c:\program files and then change config files inside it using notepad.

If I try and save the file after doing this, it won't let me and prompts me to save it to another location.

My workaround is to drag and drop the file to the desktop, edit it there, then drag and drop it back, which is getting tedious. I am admin, so I do have permission to edit the file and save it back, yet something about the fact that is is in c:\Program Files is stopping me.

Is there a way around this, or do I have to change how I work?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The workaround is to save configuration files in the proper location, as defined by Microsoft. You're not supposed to be saving configuration files in "\Program Files". That's not what that folder hierarchy is for. The OS is making it difficult for you to drive that point home.

Since you're developing the software, why not do yourself a favor and read-up on the Windows 7 Client Software Logo requirements? Amongst other things, these requirements explain where to locate configuration data (the registry, in "AppData" folders, etc) so that applications will run properly as standard users, won't cause massive UAC prompting for Administrator users, and in general won't make sysadmins (who, invariably, have to make your software work for users) angry with you.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for clearing that up - you're saying it's windows behaviour and not my user account's config at fault, which is helpful. To be clear, these are files that I'm changing to help me develop. Administrators and end users would not be changing these files - they're static after install. – Tim Jul 29 '10 at 15:01
@Tim: Yep. A Windows "feature" is what's making it difficult for you. You can disable UAC or, alternatively, open an elevated command-prompt, CD to that directory, and fire up "Notepad" from there to prevent the problems you're seeing. (I find that I'm doing more and more sysadmin work from elevated command prompts these days.) – Evan Anderson Jul 29 '10 at 15:09
Since they're development files, open a command prompt with elevation (run as administrator) and make the changes there. You'll be able to change whatever you want. – Mark Allen Jul 29 '10 at 18:45
+1 for Windows 7 Logo requirements. I should send these to some of our vendors. – Skyhawk Jul 29 '10 at 18:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.