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Why Purchase MasterCook 11

 

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WHY PURCHASE MASTERCOOK VERSION 11?

ValuSoft released MasterCook 11 in 2010. (There was no version 10.) It is a great improvement on many levels. It can be purchased at www.mastercook.com.

It is the first version designed to run in the limited access environment of Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Internet Explorer. No other prior version can do this so easily. For the past several years it has been quite easy to compromise the security of a Windows computer with its WIDE-OPEN, ADMINISTRATOR-LEVEL access to the computer. It is like leaving the front door of your house wide open inviting intruders. :) Microsoft has been trying to address that by making the computer more secure, especially with the introduction of the UAC -- User Account Control. (Find the command in the Windows Control Panel > User Accounts.)

1. UAC (User Account Control)

Windows added the User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer starting with Vista. It lets you know when major changes are about to happen with your computer, and it blocks programs (viruses, etc.) from installing without your consent. This is the screen you see when you try to install a program on your computer asking you for permission to allow the program to continue to install. Some people simply turn it OFF (disable it). If it is disabled it no longer has a job and is no longer a bother to you. ;) However, in doing so they prevent Windows from letting them know of potential threats. It's not a good idea and one I do NOT recommend. (Windows once prevented a virus from installing on my computer when I simply visited a website and NEVER even clicked on a link yet. The UAC warned me a program was trying to install itself on my computer and wanted me to verify or deny it access. I was able to prevent it from happening. The UAC is awesome!) Because of this, each time you try to use MasterCook version 9 or less you will get a prompt from the Windows UAC verifying you wish the run the program. The older versions of MasterCook were never intended to be confronted by the UAC, so they weren't designed to deal with it.

This no longer happens in version 11 even with the UAC enabled. Many people complained of this in the older versions, and now it has been addressed.

2. Help

Windows Vista and Windows 7 no longer support the older Help files. MasterCook version 9 and less use the old system. You can get around this issue by downloading and installing an update from Microsoft. However, that has not always worked for everyone.

Version 11's Help system has been converted to the new Help format. It does not require an update to work. Microsoft does NOT wish to continue to support the older Help files. This is why Microsoft intentionally left it out of Vista/Win 7.

3. Program Files Folder

Windows wants programs to store their files within the Program Files folder. This is why a majority of programs default install to this location. This give the program protection since Windows won't allow other programs (viruses, etc.) access to folders and files within this folder to corrupt and insert viruses within those EXE files. Because of this there is also a problem when older programs (such as MasterCook versions 9 and less) also try to write changes to files that users request while using the program -- such as when you edit a cookbook to add recipes, etc. When an older program goes to save changes to its user-edited files within the Program Files folder, Windows prevents that from happening by moving those changed files to a HIDDEN folder called VirtualStore. Since the VirtualStore folder is hidden by Windows by default it appears your cookbooks/recipes have disappeared. Some will recommend you install the program outside of this protected folder to resolve this particular problem. You can simply adjust the security setting for the MasterCook folder within the Program Files folder to allow Windows to save changes to files/folders within, too.

However, this problem has been addressed in version 11 since MasterCook is designed to store user-edited files where Windows expects them to be. Many people complained of this in the older versions. Many, many people have complained of their recipes and cookbooks disappearing, etc. It is no longer an issue in version 11.

4. Limited User Environment

Because of the UAC mentioned above Windows prevents older programs from fully functioning. For example, in versions 9 or less the Import command doesn't fully work and neither does the Import Assistant. Yes, you can work around this issue by adjusting the security setting to force Windows to allow the program to Run As Administrator.

However, this is not a problem with MasterCook 11. MasterCook 11 is designed to fully function even within a limited user environment.
It is NOT necessary to run that program as an administrator. Many people complained of this in the older versions, and now it has been addressed.


5. Web Import Toolbar

Microsoft has also limited how Internet Explorer functions. As a result the web import toolbar doesn't function for many people with MasterCook 9 or less. You can try (many are still unsuccessful) to force it to work by remembering to ALWAYS start up Internet Explorer by right clicking on its shortcut and selecting RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR first. This causes the web browser to be less secure, but it will allow the tools of the browser to function more fully. This is no longer an issue with version 11. Its web import toolbar functions a bit differently.

The web import toolbar included with MasterCook 11 fully functions with the default security settings of the web browser. It works a little bit differently. The web import toolbar for version 11 is designed to function in the limited environment (no longer requires to run as administrator) of Internet Explorer. I use Vista and IE 8 and the web import toolbar is fully functional even with the default security settings of the browser as intended by Microsoft. I didn't have to do ANYTHING to get it to work other than install it.

NOTE: If you are using the 64-bit version of Internet Explorer, you likely have the 32-bit version of Internet Explorer installed as well. The web import toolbar installs to the default browser. So, if you can't find the web import toolbar, try looking in your other version of Internet Explorer.

RecipeFox is a MasterCook web import toolbar that functions with the Firefox web browser. I'd highly recommend you give it a try. It's more powerful than the IE one.

6. New Features

MasterCook 11 not only has an updated web import toolbar but it includes a new feature to export to the free Evernote program so you can store/access recipes and shopping lists from your mobile device or from your computer. The new feature is easy to use. Just select the Export to Evernote command. Evernote has excellent instructions for using their program, too. I suggest you visit their website to see what that freebie can do! It's not just for mobile device users.

Another new feature is the Speak tool. It will read recipe directions to you from the Recipe Display screen. To access the Speak tool open a cookbook. Select a recipe and click on the 4th icon down along the right of the screen -- VIEW RECIPE IN RECIPE DISPLAY. When the recipe opens find the tool's icon in the lower left corner of the screen -- the person with a speech bubble.

There is an update/patch in the works for MasterCook 11. It will include new recipes from On Cooking and Food for Fifty. It also includes RecipeFox, a web import toolbar for Firefox. The update/patch should be released shortly!

7. Miscellaneous

As with most things in life there are a couple of downsides to version 11 from the previous versions.

Version 11 does not allow you to choose where the MC Tools folder installs on your computer. It installs it to a public/shared location on the computer -- usually the PUBLIC folder within the USERS folder. This folder holds user-edited files such as shopping lists, the Ingredient List, print designs, etc. If you generally do not do anything other than edit recipes/cookbooks, it probably will not even affect you. Nonetheless, the PUBLIC folder is typically where your music, pictures, and videos are stored by default with Windows. This is where mine are stored, so that all users on my computer have access to them. I back up that PUBLIC folder on a regular basis, so the MC TOOLS folder is also backed up on a regular basis. It's a plus for me. Some users have requested that the program allow us to choose where to install the MC TOOLS folder. Perhaps in a future version it will be possible. In the meantime, I do not think it's really that big of a deal. It absolutely does NOT affect the performance of the program. In fact since these user-edited files are stored in a shared location on the computer, Windows won't be moving them around and hiding them from you. :) It is important to point out this does NOT apply to your cookbooks, menus, and meal plan files. These files are stored within collection folders. MasterCook does NOT care where you store collection folders on your computer. Place the collection folder with your files inside anywhere you wish on your computer. Use the MANAGE COLLECTIONS command from the Tools menu in MasterCook to "add" that collection to MasterCook so that it will know where to find those files. Furthermore, you are able to choose where to install the main program, too. The MC Tools folder installation location is the only part of the entire program that can't be changed.

The only other downside to version 11 is its Help file. The older versions of the Help have Search and Index tabs. For the time being it hasn't been possible to include those in the latest version of the Help. The MasterCook Team will continue to work on this. You can still browse and read the articles though. In the meantime there is a tech support article at MasterCook Support including all of the text from the Help Contents in MasterCook 11. You can use your web browser's SEARCH command to find certain topics. Go here: MasterCook 11 Help File.