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Installing Writelog Under Windows 7 UAC

OBSOLETE:  Versions after version 11 are much better.  Disregard if using a version of Writelog after 2011. [w4kaz, 20150101]

ENVIRONMENT: The following applies to an install of Writelog on a Windows 7 64 bit platform with User Account Control enabled.  Probably works for any Windows 7 version.  It may also apply to Vista, but that version of Windows has not found its way into my hands, so experiment at your own speed.  All installs were done under the administrators account, and testing of the application done in a limited user account.  No special permissions were granted to the limited user, nor to any of the directories.

BACKGROUND: The new BlogBox is not used down in the KazShack dungeon, but  is the day-to-day computer.  After a contest, I move the log file up to the main computer and use an install of WriteLog on that box to spew out the Cabrillo, and ADIF backup, and the reports.  For my own nefarious reasons, I chose to set the new BlogBox up with an administrative user, and do all of the day-to-day activities within a limited user account.

WriteLog is still backwards compatible with older versions of windows, and runs well even on systems with limited resources.  That is something that is a useful feature, as it allows a wide  choice of hardware platforms to be pressed into service.  Plus, I just damn well like WriteLog better than anything else.

But since Writelog was designed before the day of user accounts there are some adjustments that need to be made to get it working in Windows 7.

THE INSTALL: One approach used by many is to disable User Account Control[UAC] and run the system as the administrator.  That’s a judgment call.  Diametrically opposed to the goal here…but used with success by many.

Another approach that seemed to work is to install it under an account with  administrator privileges.  But that also falls short of the goal, which is to get it going under a limited user account.  When installed as the administrator, the user accounts were able to run the program, but not able to save the configuration settings.

The approach that seemed to work is to install WriteLog into its own directory[I named it c:\writelog_install_home].

The install went without a hitch.  The real trick is simply to find where everything is right after the install.  The important part is locating the “writelog.ini” configuration file.  For whatever reason the RedmondGeeks in Windows 7 [and maybe Vista] have an environment variable [“appdata”] that is used for hiding certain bits of data under UAC.  The term “hiding” is used deliberately since the directory referenced by the environment variable is indeed hidden.

Finding STUFF:

  • start a command prompt window, and type “set” with no other parameters.  that will display all of the environment variables. The pertinent one is “appdata”
  • In the file explorer, under “organize” –> “Folder and search options” –> “View” -> “Hidden files and folder”  check “Show files, folders and drives”
  • In Windows 7 user info/program data is generally is stored in “C:\users\xxxxxx”, where xxxxxx is whatever your user name might be.
  • Writelog creates a directory in the “c:\users\xxxxxx\documents” directory[i.e., “My Documents” under the logged on user account] for its data files, wav files, contest “ini” files, etc.

The basic install is all pretty easy once you locate the files.  The critical file is the configuration file, “writelog.ini”. In this sort of install there are actually two copies of writelog.ini.  One copy is in C:\windows.  That copy is an abbreviated version, which has what I expect are the bare minimum bits of info required by WriteLog to run.  [NOTE:After installing the program several times it is possible this copy in C:\windows could just be cruft left in place from a previous install.] It seems likely that “writelog.ini” is used to initialize the program.  Probably best to ignore that copy of Writelog.ini, and leave it undisturbed.  You will need to have admin privileges to edit it.

The second copy is stored under the c:\users\xxxxxx\appdata directory in the sub directory \VirtualStore\Windows.  The full path in my install was “c:\users\w4kaz\appdata\VirtualStore\Windows\writelog.ini”.  THIS is the file used to store config settings for the logged on user, and it is here that customizations should be added.

The user copy is created for each user individually and uniquely. That copy is the version that can be customized as required for the particular situation.  A lot of WriteLog users have custom versions of their config file for different situations.  Rather than maintain numerous copies of the file, it might also be appropriate to define a separate user for each situation.  Then all of the copying/management of config files could be avoided by simply logging on to the appropriate user.

That’s enough to get the program functional as far as opening logs, exporting reports and files.  Testing connectivity is to peripherals is more difficult, since the shack is not in the same location and there are no USB dongles yet in use in the KazShack.

The defaulted directories were as follows, after the user had opened the program, and done a “save config”:

Directory=C:\Program Files (x86)\WriteLog\



Wave files and data files are defaulted to the user’s documents folder.  Customize those as needed.

The only real curiosity is that the user writelog.ini install directory was not updated in the final install to reflect the actual install directory.  Its probably best to update that entry to reflect the actual installation directory.

Installed in this manner I have not yet run into anything that required administrator privileges, or that Writelog be “run as administrator”.  But admittedly, I have not yet tested  keying CW, .wav file audio, or rig control.  The BlogBox is not the computer used for contest logging, nor do I use any USB dongles at this point.  In the end, admin privileges may indeed be required for full featured usage that bangs away on the com ports, but in a limited use it is not required.  Best guess is that LPT keying probably is more complicated, if possible at all, and that a Winkeyer would probably work easily via USB.

CAVEAT: After I was satisfied the main program was functional, I went through the Writelog directory and executed each of the utility programs.  The  “tuning indicator and audio snapshot” program received an error window trying to edit the system registry.  That program is for use with RTTY, a mode I am not using, so it is not clear to me that the program has actually failed.  After acknowledging the error, the program appears to load and be ready for action.

UPGRADES: For these tests, Writelog v10.70c was used for the full install.  Upgrades 10.71 through 10.75 were then applied via the administrator, with no problems encountered.  The program ran for both the administrator and the limited user accounts.

And dats da fax, jack…..

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