Isolated Storage

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What Does Isolated Storage Mean?

Isolated storage is a mechanism that provides data isolation, safety and storage by associating code with persistent data. Isolated storage is designed to prevent data corruption and access to application-specific data, while providing a standard data storage and retrieval system that’s inaccessible to users, folders or applications.


Isolated storage serves as a virtual file system managed by the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR). Because it is a file system component, stream and serialization methods may be used to read and write data. The default and modifiable size is one megabyte.

Techopedia Explains Isolated Storage

Isolated storage contexts include:

  • Trusted applications that use files and directories to share state and configuration data
  • Managed Internet controls that are inaccessible through normal input/output (I/O) classes
  • Applications-sharing components that require controlled data access
  • Server applications impersonating an authenticated user with user-specific settings
  • Applications used in any computer with an authenticated roaming profile user

Before issuing .NET, isolated storage addresses update application configuration data using .ini file registry or configuration files. A database is a good alternate option to isolated storage when there is large user data volume. Isolated storage is a good option when complex data cannot be stored in database rows and when database overhead is a concern.

The isolated storage concept is based on elements known as data compartments and stores. A data compartment, which is a virtual folder with a location transparent to the developer, consists of one or more isolated storage files known as stores. These stores maintain the actual stored data directory location, and they usually reside on the client. When data must be accessed through a roaming user profile, isolated information is stored on the server. The actual file system folder, where the isolated files are stored, is based on the operating. System administrator tools are available for configuring file storage space, enforcing the security policyand cleaning unused data memory.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.