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The truth comes out about User Account Control

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 move.

"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.

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RE: Zero Click Security?
By akugami on 4/11/2008 11:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
The problem isn't if Vista is more secure than Linux, Unix, MacOS, etc. The damned problem, and this is what annoys power users, is that a single program accessing resources, such as on an install will pop up not one, but as many as four or five and maybe more, UAC modal boxes for permission to access certain information or do certain tasks. MS needs to design UAC in a more intelligent fashion. I have UAC turned off both at work and at home.

While a fan of some Apple products, I have not used OSX. I do have reports that the access permissions in OSX is much more intelligently designed. I do not want to have to click 20 times just to install and get a program up and running. I do understand setting local and internet permissions to programs, especially new ones but it takes multiple clicks per UAC modal box, and when three or four of them pop up, you'll be cursing at the screen.

I would love to leave UAC off, but the consequence of doing so is so much of an annoyance that it causes my productivity level to drop. Simply unacceptable.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By therealnickdanger on 4/11/2008 11:24:07 AM , Rating: 5
If you install programs THAT often that it impacts your productivity, then you are the very user Microsoft had in mind when they provided the option to TURN OFF UAC.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By crimson117 on 4/11/2008 11:48:13 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, just disable it temporarily while you install your initial system configuration (anti-virus, office software, games), and then only enable it once it goes into day-to-day usage.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By akugami on 4/11/2008 12:11:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'm constantly tinkering with apps, I can't help it. It's part of what I have to do. A lot of times I have to go into the Program Files folder to look at things, either copy to or from app folders. This constantly brings up UAC boxes. Hence, UAC is turned off.

I'm also not Joe Computer User and while no computer expert, I'm fairly knowledgeable about computers.

What I don't mind is some form of UAC. What I hate is MS's implementation. If you look at how ZoneAlarm does things, I think that is a much more acceptable way to do it. It still requires clicking, it still requires a person to look at what is being installed and what is accessing the internet but at the same time it's not inducing annoyance (or not much) on its users.

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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