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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: Sluggish Performance
By boogle on 4/11/2008 11:46:59 AM , Rating: 5
Using physically smaller datatypes is rarely a performance optimisation, its a memory optimisation. For example if the CPU reads in 32bit chunks (like all 32bit Intel CPUs), then using a 16bit short will not improve performance whatsoever. Storing 2 shorts in a single int would give a nice boost though (reading in two variables at once). Also floats (I know, I know, not a double) are just as fast as ints - it's the conversion process to/from int that is slow.

The performance issues aren't trivial like this, they arrise from the various utilities and libraries in use. For example rather than storing the result of a library call, it is called multiple times from within the very same method. Or using a generic object instead of a specific datatype (which in .NET/Java results in LOADS of boxing/unboxing), and so on.

The answer is to realise the cost of every method call, and program accordingly. .NET especially allows you to either write code almost as fast as C++, or write code that takes an eternity. This is what seperates a good programmer from a bad one - but given the current shortage of developers, bad programmers are all over the place. Want easy money? Graduate and program .NET.

But either way, genuine optimisation is an extremely complex subject. Deadlines are short. To say 'optimise' is significantly easier said than done. If we went back to 'real' programming, Windows NT would be a pipe dream and Windows 3 would only just be finishing development.

RE: Sluggish Performance
By Locutus465 on 4/11/2008 11:56:42 AM , Rating: 3
Actually quite the oppisit... Useing data types smaller (or wider) than the bit width of the processor will in many cases result in a preformance hit beleive it or not.

RE: Sluggish Performance
By boogle on 4/11/2008 12:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
Actually quite the oppisit... Useing data types smaller (or wider) than the bit width of the processor will in many cases result in a preformance hit beleive it or not.

No no, I completely agree. However, you can get great speed improvements by putting lots of values into a single large stream (aka. using MMX/SSE) and working on them all at once.

RE: Sluggish Performance
By Locutus465 on 4/11/2008 12:35:50 PM , Rating: 4
that takes a lot of optimisation (fortunetly compilers do a lot of the heavy lifting these days for normal folk), and honestly for an OS I'm not so sure you would even see a difference. Addtionally you only get a gain if you're performing the same operation on all data values. It terms of Window's "bloated" state, I wouldn't look to carelessness being the reason why their OSs are getting heavier. Probably more a desier to increase the number of built in features (and running a good portion of them by default) as to being the reason why Windows OS code is getting heavier.

Just think, vista has:

Automated defragmetation
Pretty 3d ui
Media center (home prem+)
Tablet PC functions
Extended networking featuers
and a host of other features you either had to get third party or buy a specialized version of windows to get.

RE: Sluggish Performance
By KristopherKubicki on 4/11/2008 12:00:09 PM , Rating: 2
He's right.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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