The easy way to disable Vista’s UAC

My blogging buddy Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, aka the PC Doctor, offers a fairly complicated set of steps in response to a reader who asks for an easy way to disable User Account Control in Windows Vista:

To completely disable UAC go to Administrative Tools in Control Panel and select System Configuration and click on the Tools tab.  Scroll down to the bottom of the list of tools, select Disable UAC: Disable User Account Control, and click the Launch button.  Then close the command window that pops up, and reboot your PC to disable UAC.

To re-enable UAC at a later date, follow the same steps, but this time launch Enable UAC: Enable User Account Control instead.

Yes, that’s one way to do it. But there’s a much easier way.

1. Click Start and then click the picture at the top of the right column on the Start menu. This opens the User Accounts Control Panel.

2. Click Turn User Account Control on or off. You will, of course, have to respond to a UAC prompt to complete this action.


3. Clear the Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer check box and click OK.


4. Click Restart Now when prompted. After your computer restarts, UAC will be off.

You can repeat these steps to re-enable UAC. Just click to select the check box in Step 3.

Now that I’ve told you how to do this, let me reiterate that I think disabling UAC is a bad idea for most people. But if you understand the issues involved and feel confident that you don’t need it, this is the easiest way to ditch UAC.

9 thoughts on “The easy way to disable Vista’s UAC

  1. That’s how I do it too, but the reason I dislike that as a teaching method (unless it’s hands-on) is the “click the picture at the top of the right column on the Start menu” bit. If you don’t get an email asking you if it matters that the picture for your account is different to the one they’ve got, then you have a different audience to me. πŸ™‚

    My method seems like a more complicated series of steps but after answering this question at least 50 times using about 5 different ways, I find it’s the least ambigious.

  2. Adrian, if you enabled comments on your blog, then one person could ask that question publicly, and you could answer it publicly, and then you could update the post, and everyone would learn. (And yes, I know we’ve had this discussion before, but I get almost no e-mails because I allow comments, and SK2 does a marvelous job of blocking comment spam so I don’t have to deal with it.)

    And honestly, if someone can’t figure out what I wrote, then do you really expect them to understand what “go to Administrative Tools in Control Panel and select System Configuration” means? I just opened the default Vista (category) view of Control Panel and there is nothing called Administrative Tools. If that’s too confusing, you could also say, “Go to Control Panel” and type user account control in the Search box, which leads to the correct link.

    After writing a couple dozen books I’ve learned that you can never write something in such a way that someone doesn’t get confused, so you just do the best you can.

  3. Comments or no comments, a load of my emails originate via the Vista Learning hub on CNET that I run. There there’s an open forum but someone people still find me and email me.

    Comments … yeah, I did say something about them going live this year. Unfortunatly, work, family and a constant, neverending stream of WordPress updates keep pushing back the release of the redesigned site.

  4. I have a pc behind a firewall and I’m exceedingly careful about installs etc. etc. and the machine started to act strange after I disabled UAC. Not right after. It did take a month or so.
    I wish I could prove it was a result of disabling UAC but ever since I rebuilt that PC and on other new Vista installs I have decided that turning off UAC is a bad idea.

  5. One thing I noticed is that with UAC disabled, you cannot install a network printer hosted on another computer remotely. The printer install requires you to explicitly elevate permissions on the machine to make the remote setup kit run. When UAC isn’t on, the printer install just fails.

    I found an article about this at some point. Ah, found it.

    There are workarounds, but this was supremely frustrated when I couldn’t get a printer installed…

  6. Wonders never cease—as with most OS’s I’m sure, there are always ‘hidden’ features that are not quite ‘hidden’. I’ve been in User Accounts dozens of times–but never noticed that. πŸ™‚

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