What are the advantages of installing programs in AppData like Google Chrome?

I just noticed that Chromium was installed in AppData in both Vista and XP. If Google does that and if other applications does this, than is that becuase there is some form of protection? Should we write installers that does the same thing as Google?


Windows still lacks a convention for per-user installation.

  • When an installer asks whether to install for the current user or all users, it really only refers to shortcut placement (Start Menu; Desktop). The actual application files still go in the system-wide %PROGRAMFILES%.
  • Microsoft's own ClickOnce works around this by creating a completely non-standard %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Apps (%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming on Vista / Server 2008) directory, with both program files and configuration data in there.

(I'm at a loss why Microsoft couldn't add a per-user Program Files directory in Vista. For example, in OS X, you can create a ~/Applications, and the Finder will give it an appropriate icon. Apps like CrossOver and Adobe AIR automatically use that, defaulting to per-user apps. Thus, no permissions issues.)

What you probably should do: if the user is not an admin, install in the user directory; if they do, give them both options.

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