Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system has been
lambasted ever since it was launched
for consumers in January 2007. Diehard Windows users balked at the steep
system requirements, sometimes sluggish performance, inadequate
driver support, and varying products SKUs at multiple price points.
One feature that has caused quite a bit of controversy with
consumers has been the User Account Control (UAC) that is included in Windows
Vista. UAC prompts nag users for simple operations such as going to device
manager, emptying the recycle bin, or installing/uninstalling an application.
David Cross, a product manager responsible for designing
UAC, gave the real reason for UAC at the RSA 2008 conference in San Francisco
yesterday. "The reason we put UAC into the platform was to annoy users. I'm
serious," remarked Cross.
Cross added that Microsoft's unorthodox method to stop users
from wreaking havoc with their systems and to stop software makers from making
applications that delved too far into the Windows subsystem was a necessary
"We needed to change the ecosystem, and we needed a
heavy hammer to do it," Cross added. Cross went on to say that although
UAC may be seen as an annoyance to some, but its lasting implications are far
more beneficial to Vista users. "Most users, on a daily basis, actually
have zero UAC prompts."
Many would say that many users have zero UAC prompts on a
daily basis because they have already disabled UAC -- not so says Microsoft.
According to Cross, 88% of Vista users have UAC enabled and 66% of Windows
sessions do not encounter UAC prompts.
quote: "UAC is not a perfect security boundary, but it [has helped us] move from 'zero click' exploits to 'one click' defense," said Cross.