File virtualization in Windows


Windows versions since Vista have a feature in which files with administrative privileges in “Program Files” and other folders, may be masked by a version of the file in user’s Virtual Store. The Virtual Store is located at C:\Users\User_name\AppData\Local\VirtualStore.

If you have changed a file under Program Files using administrative privileges, but find the changes mysteriously fail to have any effect, the Virtual Store may be to blame. I noticed this when editing Wireshark’s init.lua file, but the changes would have no effect. I was able to fix the problem by editing the file stored at the Virtual Store location mentioned above. Certain editors are aware of this Windows feature, when opening and saving a privileged file they use the Virtual Store without informing the user.

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