User Access Control – Lessen or Kill The Pain

In Windows Vista there is a fantastic feature known as UAC (User Account Control). Basically this is a tool that was developed to make certain that you are sure that you are positive that you know what you are about to do. Ok wait, let’s simplify things: it is a tool that protects the average user from messing up a perfectly good PC. However, it is a major pain in the bottom if you plan to do allot of tweaking and configuring settings. Luckily, there are 3 simple ways that a system can be setup so that UAC is out of your hair.

Be Gone!

The simplest option that you may have regarding UAC is to turn it off completely. This will affect all users on the local PC. This is a massive security hole. However, it is the best option for you if you plan on tweaking your system. If you are a net surfing downloader, leave UAC on. It will protect you from the nastiness of the net.

To do this, Open Control Panel, User Accounts, Turn User Account Control on or off and then finally uncheck the checkbox. Apply your settings and exit the windows. You will need to restart your PC for the settings to take effect.

Golden Silence

You do have the option to leave UAC enabled, but ‘silence’ the prompts from showing up while running under your Admin account; you can tweak a setting in the Local Security Policy so you never see the prompt appear. This is by far, more secure than disabling UAC entirely. Applications are started as a regular user and cannot perform administrative tasks. In other words, Internet Explorer can still run in protected mode this way.

From the Start Menu, open the ‘Run’ dialogue. In the provided space, enter secpol.msc. This opens your Local Security Policy management console. In the Local Policy tree, browse to Security Options and open the properties for ‘User Account Control: Behaviour of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode’ and change the setting to ‘Elevate without Prompting’.

Get Rid Of the ‘Smoke-Screen’

One of the biggest pains of UAC is the ‘blackout’. This is a blackened backdrop that covers your desktop and locks you out from selecting icons etc. while the UAC prompt is displayed. You can disable the secure desktop feature but leave the UAC prompts the way they are. Of course this is potentially a security hole as well, since an application could fraudulently “click” the prompt for you. (Secure desktop prevents applications from doing this) 

From the Start Menu, open the ‘Run’ dialogue. In the provided space, enter secpol.msc. This opens your Local Security Policy management console. In the Local Policy tree, browse to Security Options and open the properties for ‘User Account Control: Switch to the secure desktop when prompting for elevation’ and change the setting to ‘Disabled’.

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