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Windows

Windows 7 : Understanding User Account Control (part 2) - Configuring User Account Control

12/18/2010 3:52:05 PM

Configuring User Account Control

So far, UAC in Windows 7 is the same as it was in Windows Vista. However, if there was a problem with the UAC implementation in Vista, it was that it was a tad, well, enthusiastic (to put the best face on it). Any minor setting change (even changing the date or time) required elevation, and if you were a dedicated settings changer, UAC probably caused you to tear out more than few clumps of hair in frustration.

The good (some would say great) news in Windows 7 is that Microsoft has done two things to rein in UAC:

  • It made UAC configurable so that you can tailor the notifications to suit your situation.

  • It set up the default configuration of UAC so that it now only rarely prompts you for elevation when you change the settings on your PC. Two notable (and excusable) exceptions are when you change the UAC configuration and when you start the Registry Editor.

These are welcome changes, to be sure, although the UAC configuration choices are a bit limited, as you’ll soon see. Here’s how to configure UAC in Windows 7:

1.
Select Start, type user, and then click Change User Account Control Settings in the search results. The User Account Control Settings dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. In Windows 7, you can use the User Account Control Settings dialog box to set up UAC as you see fit.


2.
Use the slider to choose one of the following four UAC settings:

  • Always Notify— This is the top level, and it works much like UAC in Windows Vista in that you’re prompted for elevation when you change Windows settings, and when programs try to change settings and install software.

  • Default— This is the second highest level, and it prompts you for elevation only when programs try to change settings and install software. This level uses secure desktop mode to display the UAC dialog box.

  • No Secure Desktop— This is the second lowest level, and it’s the same as the Default level (that is, it only prompts you for elevation when programs try to change settings and install software), but this level doesn’t use secure desktop mode when displaying the UAC dialog box.

  • Never Notify— This is the bottom level, and it turns off UAC. Of course you, as a responsible PC user, would never select this setting, right? I figured as much.

3.
Click OK. The User Account Control dialog box appears.

4.
Enter your UAC credentials to put the new setting into effect.

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