Sunday, May 18, 2003

Off the NonAdmin Wagon

been a lot of talk about developers not running as admin. I’ve been successfully
doing it for a few months now. Tonight I hit my first real roadblock: Quicken.

So far, I have
been unable to get Quicken running as non-admin. Or rather, I have been unable to
get it running correctly. It starts just fine, but then starts to act all screwy,
like showing me the online registration dialog, but never coming back once I hit “Next”.

Needless to say,
this doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

Anyway, managing
my finances currently outweighs my desire to join this (IMO) important effort to raise
developer consciousness about security issues. Especially because my new wife and
I are trying to merge our finances, and that’s a task in and of itself without
throwing in wrestling with poorly designed software.

Intuit: shame
on you for writing such an important piece of software (it manages what is quite literally
the most important data on any of my computers) and not getting this right. It’s
too bad that using MS Money isn’t an option for us or I’d switch based
on this alone.

I’m hoping
that once I get Quicken all set up and happy, and it’s done writing to HKLM
or whatever stupid thing it’s doing, that I can switch back to being non-admin.
But for now, I’m off the wagon.


  1. Which version of Quicken? I am running Quicken 2003 Home & Business Premier as a non-Admin. I did install the software by giving myself admin rights and I manually set it up so that the Quicken data files are in my My Documents directory tree. Then I backed myself down to Local user. No issues.. I am getting full functionality.

  2. 2002. So maybe it's something they fixed. That would be good news indeed. But we're sort of stuck using 2002 at the moment, as I really need to set this up. Running as nonadmin has been a good experiment, but the point at which it starts to affect our finances is the point at which I set it aside.

    Hopefully I'll be able to switch back at some point.

  3. While I was running as non-admin, I had a similar problem with Quickbooks. When starting the program it even came up with a helpful message saying that I needed to be a Power User to make it run. I tried various things but gave up in the end and used to start it from my Administrator command prompt window. Seems like a common theme with Intuit software. :-(

  4. I concur: Intuit makes unimpressive software. Weird interface, strange quirks like this, and apparently poor quality control.

  5. I just recently (within the last two weeks) upgraded to 2003. I had been running as non-Admin with Quicken 2002 as well. It worked OK. The only functionality that I was not able to access was the ability to do a Backup. I used Filemon and found out that it was trying to write a hidden file to the root of the C drive when attempting to do a backup!!! I was not impressed. But just as an FYI, this is what I did to get both 2002 and 2003 working:

  6. Hmm. I was going to go down the road of using RegMon and FileMon to figure out what was going wrong, but never got that far before it was time to cut my losses and get some work done.

    One of the things that may factor into the problem is that I'm running on Windows 2003, which almost certainly wasn't on the list of supported platforms for Quicken 2002. So that part may be my fault.

    At any rate, the bit that's not working for me looks like it might be related to setting up Internet access. Now that I've got that configured, I'll see if I can flip back to non admin at some point. I'll take a look at what you've written, too. Thanks!

  7. Here's another tool that can assist in testing why an application does not work in non-admin mode.

    I agree with Craig. Getting work done is primary. But if you have some spare cycles, Craig, do let us know what the problem was. I don't own any Intuit applications, or I would have done it myself.

  8. Why don't you use that feature that allows you to run a program as a different user?

    In my version of windows, right-click the exe and select "Run As..."

  9. Yep - aware of "Run As...". But thanks for reminding me - I hadn't tried that one yet.

    Frankly, it came down to complete frustration over needing it to work *right now* and not having the time to flip through the 200 different things that one can try when troubleshooting problems of this nature.

    Yours is an excellent suggestion, and I will give it a shot the next time I fire up Quicken.

  10. Just for completeness, here's what happened:

    After getting everything set up while running as admin, Quicken seemed to have done all the dumb stuff it needed to, and is now happy running as non-admin. I've switched back to my less-privileged existence.