Author Topic: Installing without admin privileges  (Read 21687 times)

greggman

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Installing without admin privileges
« on: April 04, 2010, 03:42:05 am »
Is there any reason admin privileges are required to install Slickedit in Windows? Can those reasons be removed or non-functional if no admin is provided?

My company (and many companies) are restricting admin access to machines. It would be really nice if slickedit could be installed in a user folder.

jimlangrunner

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 06:47:06 pm »
I don't see why not.  The "Jump Drive" method ought to work.  (Install it to a Jump drive). Installation often involves setting up shared .dlls and such, but my understanding is that the jump drive will run stand-alone.

However, with windows & UAC, Windows is beginning to recognize "Data" and "Programs" as two separate & distinct things, so trying to run a program from anything other than a programs directory will bring up the UAC prompt ensuring that it's okay to run.  This, in turn, depends on your privileges. I believe you have to be at least a power user to authorize such programs to run.

As for removing the requirement from SlickEdit - well, I simply don't see that happening for any program. Windows won't let a common user override a sysadmin's wishes.

chrisant

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2010, 08:45:48 pm »
Here is a link to an article about UAC.

I think the prompt jimlangrunner saw is the one that pops up for a file that was downloaded from the internet.  The prompt is not based on where the file was saved to.  The prompt is based on the presence of an NTFS alternate stream that Internet Explorer adds to the file, regardless of the type of file or where the file is saved to (you can see the NTFS alternate stream by running "dir /r filename_or_wildcard", it's the ":Zone.Identifier:$DATA" stream).  If anything tries to launch a file that has this tag, then depending on the access rights of the user account launching the file the OS will pop up a UAC prompt.

You can get rid of this particular "downloaded from the internet" UAC prompt by popping up the Properties dialog for the file (from an Explorer folder window) and clicking the Unblock button if one exists (see the attached PNG image).  Or you can get rid of it by removing the ":Zone.Identifier:$DATA" alternate stream using any of the many ways to do so (one of the simplest ways is to use a command prompt to copy the file to a new filename -- the command prompt "copy" command does not copy NTFS streams, but the Explorer copy/paste or drag/drop abilities do copy NTFS streams).

Also, UAC blocks certain API calls depending on the access rights of the user account being used to run a program, and UAC disallows writing to certain specially-restricted folders (such as the Program Files folder) depending on the access rights of the user account being used to run a program.

If greggman is seeing the "downloaded from the internet" UAC prompt then there is nothing that SlickEdit can do about that.  But if that's the case then the Unblock button in the file's Properties dialog will get rid of that prompt and allow installation to proceed.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 08:48:23 pm by chrisant »

mark0978

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2010, 10:28:44 pm »
Google chrome installs just fine WITHOUT admin rights.

Guess they don't know what they are doing.....

There is NO reason admin rights are required to install any program except for a lack of understanding of security.  If a program doesn't have files that go in sensitive places, then restricted level privileges are just fine.  If a program doesn't need files to go in those places, then why put them there?

Installing for all users requires admin privs, installing for me, shouldn't.

chrisant

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2010, 12:38:56 am »
Google chrome installs just fine WITHOUT admin rights.

Guess they don't know what they are doing.....
Google Chrome uses a special C# application to perform an install from the web (you can tell this from the "Launching Application" dialog that pops up for a moment).  The special C# application is managed code, so the OS knows exactly what the code can and cannot do, and there is no security issue.  Google Chrome is jumping through extensive hoops to install without triggering any security prompts.  To be fair, the complaint here is really about the Windows OS UAC stuff, not about SlickEdit per se.  The benefits of such an installer may or may not be worth the investment for the SlickTeam, I won't try to guess at that.


There is NO reason admin rights are required to install any program except for a lack of understanding of security.  If a program doesn't have files that go in sensitive places, then restricted level privileges are just fine.  If a program doesn't need files to go in those places, then why put them there?

Installing for all users requires admin privs, installing for me, shouldn't.
In principle, I completely agree.  But given the current state of Windows, the statement is only achieveable when using managed code.  Admin rights may not be required IF the install is performed by managed code and IF the installer does not try to perform any sensitive operations.

If you install SlickEdit from a CD, then you don't need admin access.
If you download the SlickEdit MSI installer and Unblock it before launching, then you don't need admin access.
If you download the SlickEdit MSI installer and launch it without Unblocking it, then you do need admin access.

I agree with your expectations, but there currently really are technical issues with achieving those perfectly reasonable expectations.  The only workarounds are to Unblock the downloaded file, or turn off UAC, or write a managed code installer.

I am disappointed that the MSI technology in Windows does not take advantage of what it knows about the MSI package to at least avoid the UAC prompt if the MSI package doesn't try to run any native code.

However, it is worth noting that the C# installer approach is going to be a security problem down the road:  it allows any untrusted web site to run managed code to install native code onto your computer, which is then run later.  It's really a security hole, and it wouldn't surprise me if it gets plugged in the future.

jimlangrunner

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2010, 02:59:52 am »
However, it is worth noting that the C# installer approach is going to be a security problem down the road:  it allows any untrusted web site to run managed code to install native code onto your computer, which is then run later.  It's really a security hole, and it wouldn't surprise me if it gets plugged in the future.

Shoot - it would disappoint the heck out of me if it were not plugged, and soon.  UAC is a pain in the tochus - a pain I'll gladly put up with. It has saved me a couple of times, both at work and at home, and has caused my wife to call me because the computer was "acting funny". I'll take that any day over the chance that my niece or nephew might install something while visiting. Or, so help me, a coworker.

my $0.02

Matthew

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2010, 04:27:06 pm »
Just want to clarify a few points about how the Windows installer (MSI) for SlickEdit is set up.

You do not NEED admin rights to install the application. However, if your account is CAPABLE of being elevated, the UAC prompt will be displayed because the SlickEdit installation by default wants to do 2 things that require admin rights:
1) Write some settings to the registry for file associations, AppPath shortcut, etc.
2) Default the installation directory for all users (ie- C:\Program Files)

To install SE without any admin rights you would need a user account that is allowed to install software, but doesn't have (and cannot elevate to) any other Admin rights. Under that scenario the installer will default the installation directory to a per-user directory, and will not write any of the file association registry settings.



chrisant

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2010, 07:01:59 pm »
Google Chrome uses ClickOnce technology to install.

AronsonAa

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2017, 07:33:21 pm »
This is an old thread, but I do not see anything more recent.
The workaround specified (unblock the .msi) was done, but Admin UAC seems to be still required.

I have several virtual servers where I don't have admin rights on.  I'm just looking to install SlickEdit on one of those servers.  Is there any workaround for this. Thanks. Aaron

Clark

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Re: Installing without admin privileges
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2017, 04:55:37 am »
You could install slickedit on a machine with administrator rights. Then zip up the installation and unzip it elsewhere. SlickEdit doesn't not need the registry to be updated in order to run.