User Account Control (UAC) on Vista – A useless feature

Yes, I said it….   UAC is the most worthless piece of code I have ever had to deal with.   Now, before you security folk start pouncing on this post as saying “But it protects you” or “This is what we all asked Microsoft for”, take note of what happens in the real world 😉

Michelle is sitting in front of her new machine.   For the past 4 days, she has been clicking the “Yes I approve” button that UAC throws up every time she does something like approve an application etc.    Next thing, an email with a nasty virus attached gets past the antivirus software because it is 1 hour out of date, and Michelle – without thinking – just clicks the “Yes I approve” button.   She sees nothing….  Then, 30 seconds later, another message comes up.   “A program is trying to format your hard drive”…    what will Michelle do?    We’ll it is obvious…  she will not read the message and will click “Yes, I approve”.   Bang….    done…

This UAC system must be ditched and rethought.    Most admins that I have spoken to disable it, I know I have on my own machine.  What is the point of that?   Do you think that my Apple iMac does this in OSX?   No…  and Apple are taking advantage of this in advertising, which is a sad thing.


I hope that something is being done about it…   

Rant over.

A couple of people emailed me reminding me that the user is of course doing something “of concequence” to get these prompts.    Please understand, I do get that this an effort to protect the user.   My point is that the “do you want to continue?” user effect is self harming….   average users just click yes…   always…

  5 Replies to “User Account Control (UAC) on Vista – A useless feature”

  1. February 15, 2007 at 11:15 am

    I have presumed that “Michelle” is user that has had her machine setup and configured by her admin/expertFriend and she has been running it for, let’s say, 2 days.

    I have also presumed that you are not Michelle so you are not projecting your own experiences onto Michelle.

    How about listing on your blog the actions that have made the UAC prompt appear on Michelle’s machine after the above 2 days. Just curious.

  2. February 15, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Nick,

    The reason most folks hated Zone Alarm on Windows XP was because it was so “chatty” that they got sick of the popups and just turned it off or continually clicked whatever button looked like “Yes” to them.

    I have said for a long time that Microsoft’s implementation of Limited User and UAC is a deathwish. Microsoft long ago should have looked at Linux and they way the “su” and “sudo” commands (and similar) are used there – considering Linux was (and still is) an OS built around security not security built around an OS (which is what Microsoft has done right up until Vista) – and implemented a similar thing to that.

    Instead, Microsoft’s thought processes must have been something like… “now, what’s the way we can piss off most people by being as utterly annoying as we can possibly be when someone needs to perform an administrative task… OF COURSE – popups! People love popups, and now we’ve taken many of them away when they are browsing the web, we should give each and every one back to the user when they try and do something like moving the mouse or typing a key… hhmmm, maybe that’s a little too many, so just anytime they try and actually do something. Yes… That’s brilliant!”

    It is a real pity that when the Beta program was opened on Connect for Vista testers that, basically, the core of the OS was completed and all we could really do was test the fluff and not make any real contributions about the usability and functionality of the security subsystem of Vista. And even then, most of our comments were ignored or fobbed off by telling us that it was fixed in a new build… constantly… even though no such fix reared its head!

    Shame, Microsoft, shame!


  3. February 15, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Good for you!! I HATE it too!!

  4. April 29, 2007 at 12:01 am

    ANY confirmation dialogue, when overused, is useless and annoying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.