Windows Vista “virtualizes” the file system under Program Files or Program Files(x86) to limit the security exposure of programs writing to the protected program areas. Under previous versions of windows, programs would often write program data to the same folder, or a subfolder from, the location of the program – Program FilesSome_Program. This potentially causes a security issue since programs are writing to the area where the install occurred. This could cause instability for the programs or for other users on the system.
But the problem is that we have come to expect that we need to look in this area to backup our data files left from programs. And when we want to move to a new system, either with a newer or the same operating system, we need to find these data files and move them or back them up. Where did they go??