Bugged by UAC? Here are some alternatives

Over at ZDNet, the second installment in my Fixing Vista series is now up:

Fixing Windows Vista, Part 2: Taming UAC

In it, I explain why User Account Control (UAC) isn’t a set of simple "Are you sure?" dialog boxes like some people think, and also offer three alternatives to turning it off completely.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

8 thoughts on “Bugged by UAC? Here are some alternatives

  1. Great article. The only fault I could find is describing what a “Standard Account” or at least what the difference is between Standard and Administrators.

    I am surprised to hear that file and registry virtualization is dependant on UAC being on. I would have thought that it would be independent of UAC. I have always believed that only OS applications (I would exclude any non-OS MS apps such as Word or IE) should be mucking around in the Windows directory.

  2. I think UAC is a needed thing for Windows, due to the having to run as administrator problem. And I can even view the current time (including seconds) on vista without being an administrator or clicking on a UAC dialog.

    But, I hope that subsequent versions borrow some code from gnome (I don’t know if they originally wrote it, I just discovered it a bit ago) that pops up a similar dialog as UAC, but has some checkboxes that offer additional options (remember forever, remember for this session, etc) that make the command much more useful.

    For a regular user, it is probably fine, but as an IT person, when someone asks me to debug a networking problem or something on their computer, and I have to click the UAC dialog 47 times in the 10 minutes I am sitting on their computer, it gets pretty tiring. I won’t disable it, because I agree that it protects some people from themselves.

    I think adding a “remember for 5 minutes” or something would fix it for me. That is assuming that it is too hard to write the OS/applications such that UAC isn’t needed.

    Copying the “su” and/or “sux” commands would be very helpful, and remove the need (for me) of UAC at all, just deny regular users entirely.

  3. @Ed
    Really good article – there were several suggestions in it that I hadn’t seen before.

    Good point about the UAC prompts. Here’s an idea, and I haven’t tried this so it’s possible that it will require a reboot. Take the ‘Disable UAC for Admins’ setting Ed talked about on page 2 of his article, and save both the ‘On’ and ‘Off’ settings into .REG files. When you sit down to troubleshoot a problem that requires a bunch of UAC elevations, logon as an Admin, open the ‘Admin UAC Off’ .REG file and then do a gpedit /force at the command line to turn UAC off for Admin accounts. When you’re done, open the ‘Admin UAC On’ .REG file and do another gpedit /force to turn UAC back on for Admin accounts.

    In theory, this should allow you to turn UAC on and off for Admin accounts whenever you want. Again, I haven’t tried this, and if you’re forced to reboot between the on and off setting, you obviously wouldn’t save any time.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Carl, no reboot required, so this would in fact be a great tweak.

    Would be very easy to do as a little scriptlet. Let me see if I can whip something up.

  5. SAZMD, The Quiet mode setting in TweakUAC will automatically toggle the ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin setting for you. That could be more convenient than using regedit.

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