Compatibility

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This article describes different compatibility aspects of the software, specifically operating systems, compatibility issues and different workarounds.

All applications on this site are developed for Microsoft Windows platform. Even though there is no official support for other platforms apart from Windows, many people have successfully used these applications on Mac and Linux platforms using so called emulation software.

Windows Vista and later

In Windows Vista an new security feature was introduced called User Account Control (UAC) which prevents unauthorized changes to system configuration on your computer. It works by prompting you for permission when a task requires administrative rights, such as installing software or changing settings that affect other users.

UAC presents a problem for software which was designed in the days of Windows 9x series of operating systems, which did not include any sophisticated user account control features such as UAC. It was a common practice for software to store configuration data and other documents in the installation directory of the application, making everything compact, isolated and self-contained. This practice doesn't always work in the recent operating systems such as Windows Vista, 7, 8 and later versions.

The most common installation path for software in Windows is Program Files directory, located in path "C:\Program Files" or similar. UAC treats this location as a system folder, hence, forbids normal users from writing to this folder. UAC requires administrative privileges in order to make modifications to the content of this folder.

Another place where administrative privileges may be required is the registry, where most of locations are now protected from modifications. Applications sometimes have to write to the registry in order to use some of the functionality, for example: automatically start application on login.

Workarounds for UAC issues

Title Description
Turn off UAC Open Control Panel and find User Accounts controls, where you can easily turn off User Account Control. Although it helps eliminate the issues, but it comes at a cost of lowered down security.
Run as Administrator When launching applications, user can specify to run it with administrative privileges. Just right-click on the application icon and select "Run as administrator".
Custom installation path Instead of installing application into the default and problematic "Program Files" folder, choose a custom path which is not shared by any system applications. For example "C:\Tools\", or even "D:\Programs\" on a another drive if available, and so on.
Compatibility mode Windows compatibility mode allows the use of applications which require write access to the installation folder even when they are installed in a protected folder such as "Program Files". In this mode, when application will try to create files/folders in the installation folder they will be silently redirected by the operating system to so called VirtualStore.

To find out where the VirtualStore is located open Windows Explorer and in the address bar type: %LocalAppData%\VirtualStore

So, if your application is installed in:

  • C:\Program Files\My Application

Then, the content created by application will actually be stored in:

  • %LocalAppData%\VirtualStore\Program Files\My Application

Mac and Linux

Mac and Linux operating systems are not directly supported, however, there are ways to run and use applications developed for Windows on these platforms. Below is a brief description of the two possible approaches.

  • Compatibility layers - using special wrapping software to run applications developed for Windows inside your native operating system.
  • Virtualization platforms - setting up a virtual machine with Windows operating system inside your native operating system.

Further down are lists of products which make it all possible. These are not exhaustive lists by any means.

Compatibility layers

Compatibility layers try to simulate a Windows environment for the application by providing alternative implementations of functions of Windows and other necessary libraries. This is a simplest approach but may not work for all applications and possibly not all software features will be usable.

Product OS Cost Description
PlayOnMac Mac OS X Free Easily install and use numerous games and software designed to run on Windows.
PlayOnLinux Linux Free Easily install and use numerous games and software designed to run on Windows.
Q4Wine Linux, FreeBSD Free It helps you manage wine prefixes and installed applications.
WineBottler Mac OS X Free Turn Windows-based programs into Mac apps.
Wine Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X Free Run Windows applications on Linux, BSD, Solaris and Mac OS X.
CrossOver Mac, Linux Paid Run Windows applications on Linux, easily and affordably.

Virtualization platforms

Virtualization allows you to install and run a guest operating systems within your native host operating system. In this case, you can install and run Windows inside Mac and Linux as if it was an application by itself. This approach may be more complex depending of the level of user experience with installing Windows operating system.

Product Host OS Cost
VirtualBox Windows, Linux, Mac, Solaris Free
Parallels Mac Paid
VMware Windows, Mac Paid/Free