Sunday, December 28, 2008

Vista's UAC - Stop the Nag

This article shows how to disable UAC prompts only in the Start Menu while leaving the rest of UAC enabled. This stops one of its most annoying nags without compromising security.
Vista's User Access Control (UAC) is the primary reason people dislike Vista and many power-users disable the feature. Microsoft made it so invasive that it became the butt of Apple jokes and it is the bane of almost everyone.

This article shows how you can easily leave the feature turned on while disabling one of its most annoying nags. The changes I am recommending will not compromise your security.

See this article for Windows 7: Disable Windows 7 UAC Nags

A Refresher:

UAC prompts for permission each time an application attempts to install or if you enter a "secured area" of the operating system.

These are legitimate prompts and Microsoft is trying to protect you. But if you are building a new computer and are installing dozens of applications and utilities, UAC becomes a nuisance and I recommend turning it off during the computer's initial build. Follow these steps:

Turning UAC On and Off:

A. Open the Windows Control Panel (Start, Settings, Control Panel).
B. Tunnel to "User Accounts"
C. Click "Turn User Account Control On or Off"

But after the PC is built, UAC should be turned ON.

As your computer ages, UAC prompts become less frequent for no other reason than you are not installing as many applications. If you do install a new application, or if you open a protected area of the operating system, expect to be prompted. If you disable UAC permanently, you are leaving your PC vulnerable to viruses, spyware and other applications which can install without your knowledge.

Fixing Icon Prompts:

However, if you are like me, you are always fiddling with Start Menu and Desktop icons and when moving or deleting icons, UAC is merciless with its prompts. Why UAC is so concerned about a mere Start-Menu icon is beyond me, but with a minor security change, you can disable UAC in these areas while leaving the rest intact. Follow these steps:
1. Open Windows Explorer
Select menu Organize, Layout, Check "Menu Bar"
(This exposes the File, Edit menus)

2. Select top-menu, Tools, Folder-options, View (View Tab)
In the Advanced-settings checkbox list,

* Show Hidden files and folders
[ ] Hide Extensions for known file types (uncheck)
[ ] Hide Protected Operating System Files (uncheck)

Click Apply
Click Apply to Folders

3. Close and re-open Windows Explorer
Tunnel to each of these two folders:


4. "Other-Mouse-Click" the folder, choose Properties.
Click the Securities Tab, then Edit
Select your user-account from the list (or select "Everyone")
Click "Full-Control"
Click OK
Repeat for the other folder.

Click image for a larger view; click right-x to return

Microsoft made significant changes to the UAC in Windows version 7, but until then, consider this idea in order to remove some of the frustration. If possible, consider upgrading to Windows 7; it is a better operating system than Vista.

See these related articles:
Windows 7 UAC Icon Nags
Vista Spiffs 1
Optimizing the Windows Paging File
Disk Cleanup Steps

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