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OK, this is weird. While I was having the problem running flex, I noticed that my Eclipse launcher icon was a generic icon. Now, I've been looking through files and folders trying to figure this out for about an hour since I installed. I walked away and made coffee. I then came back, navigated to may eclipse folder and the launch now had the Eclipse icon as expected. I ran it directly and sure as shootin, Flex is available. Some bizarre file latency under Vista SP1? Delusional operator? Anyway, the problem is now gone and I can add the Flex perspective and create flex projects. Has anyone else out there seen this issue under Vista SP1?
OK, this gets much weirder. I ran for a couple of days after Flex finally showed up in Eclipse (see post above). I hibernated the computer in the evenings. Just now. I quit Eclipse. I then tried to restart Eclipse using the tray launcher on Vista (the icon at the lower right of the task bar). Eclipse launched but complained that it had no editor for mxml. The Flex perspective was gone. When I looked at the Elipse application file in the Eclipse folder, it does not have the Eclipse icon, it has a generic icon. I can launch using the Eclipse app, but I get no Flex perspective. What the hell?
OK, more news. I right-clicked on the Eclipse app and did "run as administrator". Eclipse asked me for a workspace, showing my previous default, which I accepted. Flex perspective them showed up. It sounds like a permissions issues. I only have one user on this machine and that user in an adminstrator, and I installed as that user and I run as that user.
I installed Eclipse before I 'upgraded' to Vista SP1. I installed the Flex Builder Plugin after SP1. When I look at my folders inside of C:\Program Files, including the Eclipse folder, they are marked as having the Read-Only property. I'm pretty sure it wasn't like that before SP1. So, I'm still thinking it is some weirdness that SP1 is doing.
Problem Resolved. It is Vista weirdness. There is a 'feature' called User Account Control (UAC) that is designed to thwart malware by running programs in a low privilege mode. This means that some files that would be read/write to the owner or administrator are, in fact, read-only to a running program. So there are two solutions. First, as I discovered myself, you can right click on the Eclipse applicatoin and do "Run As Administrator" and Eclipse will correctly load the Flex perspective. The second option is to go to the User Account control panel and turn off UAC. If you do that, Eclipse runs correctly without the need to run as administrator (since it is running under the login account and presuming you are administrator). This issue with this is that Windows Defender and other virus protection programs will constantly complain about UAC being turned off.
I plan to leave UAC off for at least a little while. I've also be getting rediculous unzip times out of Windows, so I think it might also be this issue. If not, maybe I'll turn UAC back on for a little more saftety.
Does answering your own post 4 times count as forum-bation?