So you’ve taken the plunge and upgraded to the new Windows Vista operating system and you’re trying to make yourself at home in this new operating system. Everything is good but every time you turn around you’re seeing a dialog that “Windows needs your permission to continue”. You’re thinking to yourself, “I just performed the action. Wasn’t that enough permission?”
That’s the new User Account Control or UAC and you’re probably wondering how in the heck you can make it go away. Stay tuned and learn how to disable UAC.
User Account Control in Windows Vista improves the safety and security of your computer by preventing potentially dangerous software from making changes to your computer without your explicit consent.” Microsoft.com.1
Like each of its predecessors Windows Vista has introduced a number of new features geared toward making your PC more secure. One of those is known as User Account Control or UAC. In previous versions of Windows, new users were typically members of the Local Administrators group because administrator privileges were required to install, update, and run many types of software without conflicts. This opened the door to many security problems because installed software and users were able to make unwanted system wide changes.
UAC attempts to prevent that by warning the user any time they, or their software, try to perform an action that could result in a system wide change by requiring that proper credentials are supplied before continuing with the operation.
While UAC’s intentions are good, some system administrators and more experienced users will probably find it more of a nuisance after seeing this dialog a few dozen times. For that reason, many users are electing to disable UAC altogether. I’ll show you how to do that at the end of this article, but first, let me show you ways of customizing it so that it becomes less of a nuisance while still allowing it to protect your system the way it was intended.
Adjusting User Account Control Levels
Several features in UAC can be adjusted to your own specific needs. For example, you can control what actions require administrator approval or define what actions, such as installing programs, shouldn’t. All of these can be set as Local Security Policies. You will need to be a system administrator in order to make these changes.
- Click the Start button and choose Run… to open the Run dialog box.
- Type secpol.msc to launch the Local Security Policy MMC snap-in.
- In the left navigation pane, expand Local Policies and select Security Options.
- In the right pane, scroll down to the policies labeled User Account Control.
With Admin Approval mode enabled, users will still need to provide proper credentials even while using an Administrator account. This can help prevent making accidental changes.
You can also adjust several behavioral settings. These control what actions UAC should respond to as well as whether or not it should prompt for permission to continue.
To understand what settings to choose, it may help to better understand how UAC actually works. It all begins when UAC recognizes that a user or software has attempted to initiate a restricted action such as creating a new folder. This could be a user creating a folder or a software installer among other things.
If UAC is enabled for the action in your security policy, one of two things will happen depending on your account type.
- Administrators will be prompted for their consent before the action is allowed to continue.
- Normal users will be prompted for administrator credentials. If proper credentials are supplied, the account will be elevated to Administrator to perform the requested action. This elevation only applies to the action that initiated the UAC response.
Adjusting the security policy settings can eliminate the UAC prompt for commonly performed actions on certain account types. This means that Administrators can loosen up the UAC settings in order to avoid the nuisance without eliminating it altogether.
Disabling User Account Control in Windows Vista
If you still want to disable UAC completely you can do it from within the User Control Panel. Open the Control Panel from your start menu and choose the Turn User Account Control on or off option.
The resulting screen will provide you with an option to turn User Account Control off for good.
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