To further clarify, I know AIR 1.x allowed files to be read from the hard drive, and then in 2.x it was either revoked or restricted to the Documents directory. I need this app to have access to a directory within C:\Program Files that contains data from the application we are plugging in to.
AIR was never restricted to only reading files from the Documents directory, although it sometimes seems that way.
An AIR app runs with the permission of the user who is running the app. If the operating system allows that user to read a file from C:\Program Files, the AIR app should also be able to read that file.
In most cases, operating systems will allow the user to read files from the "Program Files" directory, but won't allow the user to create or modify a file in that location. For AIR applications that need to create or edit a file, the recommendation is to use the "application storage directory" -- you can access it using the File.applicationStorageDirectory property.
Of course, if you're not creating or editing the file, and you just need to read it, then you probably can't choose where it's saved. Nevertheless, in most cases I've seen, especially on Windows, you should be able to read a file from the "Program Files" directory without any problem.
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