Any serious risk in installing outside Program Files?


  1. Posts : 180
    Windows 10 Pro v.20H2 OS Build 19041.662
       #1

    Any serious risk in installing outside Program Files?


    Is there a definitive answer to this question?

    There are programs that by default install in a sub-directory on C drive, but outside Program Files (or Program files (x86)).

    Is there a risk in doing so or, put another way, is there an advantage in installing under Program Files? I don't see any apparent disadvantage from a risk point of view since I consider that a hacker or malware would try and attack any file(s) no matter where they are located on one's hard disk. Even so, perhaps an attack may focus on the more common areas such as Program Files.
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,394
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #2

    If you install a program, it often gives the option of changing the install path. That can even be a different drive. I can't see any particular risk involved.
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  3. Posts : 3
    Windows 10
       #3

    Yes there is a difference and its a pretty big difference. If a program is installed outside of the program folders then it will bypass your UAC Settings. Not sure if most will agree with me on this or not, but an ideal UAC Setting in my opinion is level 2 out of 3(this means one notch from the very top). As long as you know how this program that you are installing works and what it should be doing, then you can make a smart call as to whether its ok to install it outside of the program folders. The main reason I said that its a big difference is because most Virus' are not really so much categorized as a virus its probably a better idea to call it "Programs People Dont Want", so the UAC being at a level 2 or higher is the only way to know for sure if changes are being made to the hard drive without your knowledge. Just make sure that you always pay attention if your computer is prompting you because a program wants to make changes to your pc, if you get a prompt and you do not know the program that you are being prompted for then make sure you say no. If you take those items into consideration then I would say its probably ok to install the program outside of your program folder, and if you are going to do so, I think you might want to consider maybe installing it to your "Documents" folder or your "Appdata" folder. I like the appdata folder because it keeps the program sort of behind the scenes or out of your regular viewing area where as in your my documents, it can start to get messy if you install too many programs there.
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  4. eLPuSHeR's Avatar
    Posts : 2,460
    Windows 10 Home x64
       #4

    Some programs/apps. get installed under the %AppData% folder. I do not like this trend, but they work properly.
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  5. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 7,629
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 20H2 Build 19042.928
       #5

    Fortitude said:
    Any serious risk in installing outside Program Files?
    No but you should check the access permissions the application has set up for its installed folder [Properties, Security, Advanced]. They ought to be the same as those of the Program Files folder and, if they are not, you should contact the software publisher to ask why not.

    The installed folder does not "bypass UAC". As long as its security permissions are correct it presents no unusual risk.

    Denis
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  6. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 19,103
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #6

    Digitalbil said:
    If a program is installed outside of the program folders then it will bypass your UAC Settings...
    No, the UAC will work wherever the programs are run from. I have made a 'C:\Portable Apps' folder, but everything I've put in it still gets a UAC prompt.

    Any serious risk in installing outside Program Files?-located-outside-program-files.png Any serious risk in installing outside Program Files?-uac-prompt-small-.png

    Not sure if most will agree with me on this or not, but an ideal UAC Setting in my opinion is level 2 out of 3...
    Yes, that's what I use too.
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  7. Posts : 180
    Windows 10 Pro v.20H2 OS Build 19041.662
    Thread Starter
       #7

    @DigitalBil I checked the UAC and it's at the highest level (described in the relevant settings dialog as "Recommended").
    @Try3 I checked the access permissions the application has set up for its installed folder and they are the same as those of the Program Files folder.
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  8. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 7,629
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 20H2 Build 19042.928
       #8

    Then it is not exposing you to any unusual risks.

    UAC is not at all affected by or even interested in your choice of installation location. That post was incorrect.

    Denis
      My Computer

  9. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,706
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #9

    With the trend of large drives holding a smallish boot/system partition and larger data/storage partition [my 1TB has a 150GB C: and a 780GB D:] it does make sense to do the Custom install of those programs that allow it. I've been doing it since getting the computer a couple years ago. Otherwise, why would OEMs set their machines up that way?
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  10. Posts : 180
    Windows 10 Pro v.20H2 OS Build 19041.662
    Thread Starter
       #10

    I'll also try to run this program in a sandbox in order to increase security.
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