One of the more visible differences between Windows XP and Vista is the addition of the User Account Control (UAC) feature in Vista. UAC is a response by Microsoft to the attacks from viruses, spyware and adware that users continue to experience. You can encounter Vista’s UAC pop up screen in a number of different scenarios including when you try to run an installation program, try to view device manager or when you try to accomplish anything else that Vista interprets as an ‘administrator’ level event that could effect other users on the system. Here is how to disable Vista’s user account control if you want.
Some Positives for Vista’s UAC
The positive effect of the UAC is to theoretically make your computer more secure and prevent anything bad occurring on your system without your permission. Nasty items such as viruses and spyware attempting to be installed without your knowledge should now run into the UAC barricade. The UAC pop up can also warn unknowing or novice users about making changes to system settings without realizing it.
The Dark Side of Vista’s User Account Control
The flip side is that the UAC pop ups can be annoying, can break your workflow, are ignore by many people, and the feature can be easily defeated. UAC can be disabled, but this should not be done without some consideration as it does remove a layer of protection against viruses and malware.
Turning Off User Account Control
The easiest way to turn off the UAC feature is through the User Accounts window in the Control Panel. To accomplish this:
- Click on Start then Control Panel then select User Account.
- In the “Make Changes to your user account” section of the page click on the Turn User Account Control on/off link.
- Select ‘continue‘ when the UAC box appears.
- Then uncheck the box next to the ‘Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer’ option.
Click ‘ok’. You will need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. This change disables UAC only for the current user.
For users of Ultimate or Business editions of Vista the process is a bit more involved and will be covered in a later Tech Tip.