user installed application (UIA)

User installed applications (UIA) are programs that are installed on a computer by an end user, instead of by a corporate IT department.

A user installed application (UIA) is one that is installed on a computer by an end user, instead of by a corporate IT department.

Applications provisioned by IT are typically tested to ensure compatibility and stability, but a user installed application can cause problems for other applications or for the entire operating system. In a traditional environment, this is less of a problem because it will only affect one user. With the advent of desktop virtualization, however, user-installed applications can be a threat to an entire environment.

There are two major approaches to dealing with user installed applications:

  • Lock down computers and make it impossible for users to install applications. If there is a legitimate business need for an application, a user can request that their IT department provide it. IT can then test and decide how to provision an application.
  • Implement a solution that allows users to safely install applications. An IT department can give their users a second, unmanaged virtual machine, or provide a user environment virtualization solution. User environment virtualization products can redirect user-installed application reads and writes to a safe alternate location in a profile, leaving the core OS image untouched in a method similar to some types of application virtualization. These solutions, however, cannot always accommodate all applications.
This was first published in December 2011

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