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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 eye smite on 4/11/2008 11:30:35 AM , Rating: -1
Microsoft admits to this and they wonder why Vista isn't very popular...
I would say more often than not people get vista because they want a new computer and Vista is the only thing that comes on it. When I got a Vista machine last November, before I turned off UAC there were times I had to right click programs and click run as administrator when I am the administrator......otherwise certain programs such as anti-spyware, grid computing and so on simply would not run. By day 3 my frustration level had reached saturation and I dived into services and disable UAC. Who does MS think they are to try and control my system usage? Are their reasons valid? Perhaps. Is this ethical? NOOOOOO.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By therealnickdanger on 4/11/2008 11:39:12 AM , Rating: 3
Ethical? They are providing a service that prevents system-wide damage by people that lack the even the moderate understanding that we take for granted. You turned it off, great job. Stop perpetuating the fantasy that Microsoft is out to control your life. There is nothing malicious behind UAC, in fact, just the opposite.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By eye smite on 4/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: Zero Click Security?
By therealnickdanger on 4/11/2008 12:06:25 PM , Rating: 3
That's not exactly the same thing, UAC let's you press "OK" to continue, it doesn't bar you from continuing... but I don't want to get into an argument over analogies. The subject matter is simple enough without needing them.

When it comes to technology, people ARE sheep! Don't assume I'm assigning a negative connotation to "sheep". Ignorance is bliss. The simple fact is that Microsoft is safe-guarding their operating system and the sheeps' computers at the same time with VERY LITTLE intrusion.

It's extremely arrogant to assume that these sheep should take the time or even care about taking the time to learn what you have learned. I understand why they should, but they never have in the past and never will, so something has to be done to do it for them. Enter UAC. Effective and ethical.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By eye smite on 4/11/08, Rating: -1
RE: Zero Click Security?
By darkpaw on 4/11/2008 12:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
Theres a reason every lawn mower has those saftey stickers plastered all over them... some people are stupid enough to stick their hands/feet/other appendages into them.

People can learn, but most people can't learn the way I and many other computer focused people did. I wiped out the os so many times on my original PC while learning, but I was willing to pay the price. If average user wipes out their OS they end up spending $200 to have those geek squad idiots fix it for them. They don't learn, just pay the price to have it fixed.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By Rob Pintwala on 4/11/2008 12:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that people should learn, but to learn we need to make mistakes. My problem with this is that making mistakes on a PC can be a VERY costly endeavor for the vast majority of people who are unable to rectify their PC problems on their own.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By nyarrgh on 4/11/2008 4:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
I use Unix and I use Vista. In Unix, I have to sudo or psh, In Vista, i use "run as administrator". I don't see anything wrong with this. I do have a machine with UAC disabled, I don't see anything wrong with that either. I may have taken the time to learn how to use a computer properly, but Hell will freeze over before you can get my grandmother to do so. Some people are forgetting that not all people share their inclination towards computers. I don't expect everybody to learn the way I did, the same way I don't expect to have time or the inclination to learn how to sew properly, or glass blowing, or bullfighting.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By abzillah on 4/11/2008 1:53:32 PM , Rating: 2
What the hell are you guys talking about? I have had vista for 15 months now and I don't even know what UAC is. I install progams and such multiple times a week, but I haven't had any problems with this UAC you guys are talking about. The one thing I can tell you is that I haven't had to reinstall Vista once yet on my PC like I used to with all the other windows when I would end up with a virus. If UAC is actually doing helping me with this, than I have no problems with it.

RE: Zero Click Security?
By Locutus465 on 4/11/2008 1:57:21 PM , Rating: 2
If you've installed any application at all on vista without modifying the default UAC settings then you've seen the prompts. The screen will darken and you'll get various forms of Cancel/Allow or Continue/Cancel dialogs that you have to answer before windows will allow you to do *ANYTHING* else.

I do agree that they are not the constant issue many people make them out to be. I do get promts at least once a day, but only because I have to run VS.Net 2005 in administrator mode to ensure I can properly run the debugger.

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