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Breaking change for file formats that use external helpers

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  • Breaking change for file formats that use external helpers

    Beyond Compare 4.0.0.17628 beta moves the location of helper applications for file formats from a helpers subfolder of Beyond Compare's program folder to a helpers subfolder in the user settings folder. On Windows, the new location is "%appdata%\scooter software\beyond compare 4\helpers".

    The new location allows non-admin users to import file formats that use external helper applications. However, if you've downloaded file formats that call helper applications from our Additional File Formats page, this change will make them stop working.

    "Conversion error" is the message that will display if you have a file format affected by this change. To resolve the issue, install the file format from our website again. During the import, check the box next to the format name in red to replace the old version of the file format.
    Last edited by Chris; 05-Feb-2014, 05:19 PM. Reason: Added build number.
    Chris K Scooter Software

  • #2
    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    Beyond Compare 4.0.0.17628 beta moves the location of helper applications for file formats from a helpers subfolder of Beyond Compare's program folder to a helpers subfolder in the user settings folder. On Windows, the new location is "%appdata%\scooter software\beyond compare 4\helpers".

    The new location allows non-admin users to import file formats that use external helper applications.
    It also means that any software can put helpers there, including malicious software. Not nice if you run BC4 under a UAC administrator token once every while.

    --jeroen

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jeroenp View Post
      It also means that any software can put helpers there, including malicious software. Not nice if you run BC4 under a UAC administrator token once every while.
      True, but there wasn't any protection against that previously either. The only change was the default location and what the working directory was set to. There isn't any enforcement that the helpers had to be in the Helpers directory, and we wouldn't have done that anyway, to allow external conversions using other installed applications (e.g., MS Word). If malicious software did explicitly target BC, it could just rewrite your existing BCFileFormats.xml file to execute a file of its choosing already.

      If that's a genuine concern, the two ways around that are:

      1) Create a separate portable "For admin" install and make the entire directory only writable with administrative privileges.

      2) Prevent standard users from running applications outside of C:\Program Files. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/l...=WS.10%29.aspx You'll then just need to install the helpers like you normally do, but then move any executables and fixup the command line for the conversion.

      If you have other ideas, I'm all ears. The way we were doing things previously couldn't work under OS X, since they would have been deleted any time the app bundle was replaced, and was undesirable under Windows/Linux since it required administrative privileges and different user's helpers could conflict with each other.
      ZoŽ P Scooter Software

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Chris View Post
        On Windows, the new location is "%appdata%\scooter software\beyond compare 4\helpers".
        Not on portable install, I hope.

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        • #5
          Correct, a Portable Install is self contained and settings and Helpers directory are stored within.
          Aaron P Scooter Software

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          • #6
            Then may I suggest the original message be corrected.

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