At the beginning of the year, Intuit claimed that Quickbooks 2007 was ready to be run on Windows Vista.

That was an overstatement. Quickbooks 2007 can be made to work on Vista, but it requires elaborate workarounds.

Even worse, almost a year after Vista’s release, the solutions to the Vista issues are either buried deep in Intuit’s tech support documents – or worse, they’re just not addressed at all.

Here’s a long blog entry describing the issues that might arise with Quickbooks 2007 on a Vista computer, and the difficulty of trying to find the answers. When workarounds can be tracked down, they are frequently unsatisfying.

One example will suffice. Vista introduced new requirements for program designers; one of the most significant was to provide additional security for the Program Files folder. Basically, no program is allowed to store certain kinds of data (especially the data you create or input) in the Program Files folder; data is either placed in your Users folder or in a special ProgramData folder. This was a well-known Vista design feature a long, long time ago.

As described in the blog, Quickbooks 2007 completely crashes on startup for some Vista users, and one answer – buried deep in a hidden Intuit tech document – is not to install Quickbooks in the Program Files folder, but instead to install the entire program, lock stock and barrel, in your Documents folder.

That’s terribly, terribly wrong for a lot of reasons. And if that’s what Quickbooks 2007 requires to run correctly, Intuit ought to have big prominent notices on their web site calling attention to very precise instructions. There’s another workaround to run the program as a “local administrator” which results in additional prompts every time the program is started, and introduces additional security risks.

People began begging Intuit for answers to the questions about Quickbooks 2007 and Vista last year – here’s an example of months of messages pleading for help on the Intuit forums. We’re not dealing with something obscure here; this is Intuit’s flagship product failing on the operating system run by most computers sold during 2007.

It would be nice to think that Quickbooks 2008 will be redesigned to install elegantly and run correctly. Reportedly QB 2008 is still several months away.

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