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Isolated storage

Isolated storage definition

Isolated storage is a mechanism that allows .NET applications to store data in a user- or app-specific area on the file system. It gives a more secure way to store data without having to specify a particular path or worry about access permissions.

See also: storage management, primary storage device, shared storage

How isolated storage works

The data is kept separate for each user and each application). This means that only the application that created the data can access it, and only for the user who owns that data.

The .NET system determines the actual location of the isolated storage. It's typically in a hidden or hard-to-reach area of the user's file system. The exact path depends on the host environment and security policy.

Administrators can set limits on the amount of storage an application can use, so no single application can take up too much space.

Applications use specific APIs provided by the .NET Framework to read and write data to isolated storage. This way, they don't need to know where the data is exactly or deal with complex security rules.

Isolated storage uses

  • Saving user preferences. Isolated storage is ideal for saving user-specific settings and preferences for an application. Since the data is user-specific, it ensures that settings for one user don't affect another.
  • Data security. If an app needs to store sensitive data (like personal details), isolated storage is more secure than regular file storage.
  • Remembering information between uses. Isolated storage is useful for apps that need to keep information from one session to the next (like games or productivity tools).
  • Limited access. Even if an app can't reach the usual parts of the file system due to security rules (like some web apps), it can still use isolated storage to keep data.