I installed QGIS version 1.7.4 a few months ago. Under the menu Vector > Data Management Tools I have two options to make a join: 'Join Attributes' and 'Join attributes by location' (see screenshot).
My colleague installed the same version a couple of weeks ago. In here version, the option 'Join attributes' is missing. Today I installed QGIS 1.7.4 on some computers in a classroom and the same option was missing.
It is a handy tool to join a shapefile with a DBF, instead of doing it through Layer properties > tab Joins. Can I find it somewhere else?