To be perfectly honest, the new User Account Control feature in Windows Vista is probably going to save more people from harm than it will annoy but, for those of us who have spent years navigating through that wonderful series of tubes we call the Internets, this “feature” will be the first thing you disable on all future installations of the OS.
Here is Microsoft’s overview of UAC for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the technology:
“The main goal of User Account Control is to reduce the exposure and attack surface of the operating system by requiring that all users run in standard user mode. This limitation minimizes the ability for users to make changes that could destabilize their computers or inadvertently expose the network to viruses through undetected malware that has infected their computer.
With User Account Control, IT administrators can run most applications, components and processes with a limited privilege, but have “elevation potential” for specific administrative tasks and application functions.
Conversely, when users encountera system task that requires administrator privileges, such as attempting to install an application, Windows Vista will notify the user and require administrator authorization. This type of prompting helps ensure that users do not accidentally make modifications to their desktops. It also helps eliminate the ability for malware to invoke administrator privileges without a user’s knowledge.”
See that part in bold? That’s where the problem comes in. I had to to a re-install Vista on my laptop yesterday and I’ve probably had at least 30 “notifications” since the installation. Not only do I get notifications when trying to install an application (something I can definitely understand) but I get notifications when sending a file from an external hard drive to my local Recycle Bin. That’s just plain annoying. Another instance is when I want to create a new folder in the Program Files directory. I get a notification asking me to “confirm this action.” Once I click continue, my screen tints and I get ANOTHER notification asking me to authorize the task. Two notifications for creating one folder. Not cool. However, let’s say I decided instead to scratch that idea. I’m going to want to delete that folder but, hey, guess what…I have to go through the same two notification windows just to get rid of the folder whose creation I just authorized 5 SECONDS AGO. Again…uncool.
So, planning on installing Vista anytime soon? If you’re any kind of geek at all, here’s the first thing you’re going to want to do after installing the OS:
Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Turn User Account Control On or Off