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Why do some programs work when I'm logged in as one user but not another?

I am currently running winXP Pro on my PC. I am having an issue
with my CDRom. It will not read or burn in any profile other then the
Administrator. The two other profiles have administrative rights and can see
the drive, but can do nothing with it. The media I am using is fine but I do
not know what the issue is. Any ideas?

This kind of problem can happen for a couple of reasons, and the person
asking has already eliminated one of them.

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The reason we can rule out is privilege. A very common cause for this kind
of account-specific behavior is privileges or rights. An administrator is
allowed to do anything, of course. Other types of accounts can be set up under
Windows XP that, for security and safety reasons, don’t have the rights to do
many things. Installing software is a good example – many applications will
fail to install unless you’re logged in with administrator privileges when you
run the setup program.

Speaking of setting up software, there’s another very common issue that can
happen because of the way that software is set up.

If you’ve ever installed software and had it ask you “do you want this
program to be available to all users, or just the current user”, you’ve seen
what I’m talking about. Many applications can be installed so that they are
available to anyone who logs into the machine, or they can be setup to be
available only to the account that was used when they software was setup.

In the case of CD-ROM burning software, it’s not uncommon for additional
software to come with the drive. If it was set up to only work with one account, then it’s only going to work with that account. If it has the
option of being installed for anyone, then a quick solution is to reinstall it,
this time specifying that it should be accessible to anyone who logs into the

If it doesn’t have that option, then you might be stuck.

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1 thought on “Why do some programs work when I'm logged in as one user but not another?”

  1. Could it be as simple as copying a registry key for that software from HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software to the same location under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software, or to a different user’s key under HKEY_USERS? If the user is comfortable with RegEdit and is desperate to make it work, this might be worth a try.


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