John Bokma MexIT
freelance Perl programmer

Comments: Xara Xtreme Pro is severely crippled


Today I received an email by Xara, a final reminder that their special offer upgrade offer from Xara Xtreme to Xtreme Pro ends tomorrow, 12th December 2006. Since I am a long time user of Xara, and really love this program, and about a year ago I bought Xtreme.

Read the rest of Xara Xtreme Pro is severely crippled.


I totally agree with your comments. I first raised this with Charles Moir at Xara when I pointed out that it was very annoying having that whole "Xara cannot write to programs folder" thing going on when it starts up. Why the hell would it need to? Nothing else I use needs to, including a lot of Adobe stuff - which loves to be awkward normally. Now I have also "upgraded" to Pro and find that it will not export a PDF unless logged in as admin. I have also mailed Charles about this - no reply yet. So yes, its not quite pro yet is it?

Posted by James Loudon at 09:23 GMT on 15 December 2006

> Conclusion: Xara Xtreme Pro is unusable I think that's way to exaggerated. But each to his own.

Posted by Anonymous at 12:32 GMT on 15 December 2006

@Anonymous: note that this is my conclusion, and it's not a bad one in my opinion ;-). Like I wrote, there is no need at all for a graphics program to run as Administrator. Only exception I can think of is when it supports auto-updates, and in that case a limited user can get a warning that there is a new update available, and that the Administrator should be contacted.

Xara is now promoting that users should run as Administrator, which is plain stupid, since a lot of issues people have with their computer just come from running as Administrator all the time.

If Xara Xtreme Pro was a GNU/Linux program, most people wouldn't even touch it with a stick. And in my opinion this should be the case now for Windows users as well.

Finally, within companies that enforce the sound policy of making normal users limited users, Xara Xtreme Pro is not going to work.

Going from "Xara Xtreme Update cannot write files in the Program Files\Xara Xtreme folder" warning (twice) to a non-working program tells me a lot about the developers, they are certainly not up to the job.

Posted by John Bokma at 19:52 GMT on 15 December 2006

I am very sorry to read that Xara Xtreme Pro has not corrected the registry problems that require a user be logged in as an administrator to use all the features. This was a problem that I reported to Xara many months ago and I seem to have gotten the same response that others did, “log on as an Administrator to install”.

I recently purchased Pro, thinking that this problem would have been resolved by now. In my case the developers of Xara Extreme lost money because I demoed it to our IT group at work and they would not approve the purchase of 10 licenses to use the program as long as this problem persisted. They also felt that a company that does not take this type of problem seriously must NOT be looking to be a real player in this area of the software business.

I use my personal copy of the program but I now have admin right so it works just fine. And on my personal Laptop I have no problems since I am the Administrator.

Don't get me wrong, I love the program. For the money spent it is perhaps the best value in software on the market. But if they are not going to resolve this MAJOR problem REAL SOON then I am going to have to move on to something else.

Posted by Carlton Wilson at 14:26 GMT on 26 December 2006

This is a MAJOR issue for me too. I hate windows software which requires administrator rights. The real problem is Microsoft - they do not push the LUA accounts as the way of things. There where a series of documents "Designed for [Windows XP/Windows 2000/Windows NT]" Application Specification. There clearly stated that a program should write to the user profile directory and a user portion of registry. It is 10 years since the first specification! This is the only thing to make the program compatible. Why Xara need to have ability to write to the system portion of the registry? Why Xara need access to the whole filesystem? Downloading movies is OK - provide an option to login as admin and download at install time, when admin rights are available or provide an option to download to user directory. And it is not going to change with Vista - instead Microsoft created "Account Protection" for administrator accounts as an excuse for poorly written programs and for practise to work under admin.

Posted by Dennis P Nikolaenko at 14:03 GMT on 23 January 2007

Well, I agree that it should not be necessary to have admin rights!

But do you know that it is possible to use most programs without logging in with admin rights? At least in windows XP Pro with NTFS partitions. I don't know much about XP home.

Have you ever tried to finetune the user rights for this program Xara? I did for some different programs at work and they work fine now.

For most programs you only have to set more rights (write, change) for a few files or a submap in c:\program files\program\. Sometimes you just need to run the program once as administrator.

To find out what files need more rights you can use the wonderfull freeware tools from sysinternals: Process explorer and FileMon.

Sometimes you have to give a usergroup (always use a usergroup and make your user member of that usergroup) more rights in the registry. You can use the standard XP tool Regedt32.exe for this work to set the right for a singel key, or a subset.

Still questions? Just google, google, google, or buy a book like "Microsoft windows XP Inside out" written by Ed Bott and Carl Siechert, Microsoft press. ISBN 0-7356-1382-6

Posted by Rob at 22:23 GMT on 12 February 2007

You should check out Inkscape as an alternative. It's free. :)

Posted by Yansky at 05:20 GMT on 18 April 2007

@Yansky - I did check out Inkscape quite some time ago but didn't like it much.

Since I have plans to start using GNU/Linux I keep an eye on Xara Xtreme for Linux.

I don't know under which license it's released as Open Source but somehow I hope someone is going to port it to Windows if Xara doesn't fix the limited user account issue.

I even don't mind paying Xara money for a printed manual, or a DVD with clip art. Have been supporting Blender that way for quite some time.

Posted by John Bokma at 21:11 GMT on 23 April 2007

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