Thursday, 9 October 2008

Vista UAC – is it really so bad?

Ben Fathi has just posted an article on the background behind Windows User Access Control (UAC). I was one of the few who held the faith and not turned UAC off. The statistics support my experience that UAC has become far less intrusive over the last few months.

Many people who criticise Vista say ‘why would I want to upgrade from XP just for a different look and feel and less performance?’ One of Vista’s biggest strengths is the work that has been done under the covers to make it more secure. Unfortunately, it is not visible, except perhaps in the case of UAC where it has been visible in a way that users feel is intrusive. In my opinion, it is a good compromise between compatibility, and usability without too much compromise on security. I do tend to click the UAC box without reading it – although it is usually as a result of my clicking an application I know I can trust.

I only have two issues with UAC from day to day. The first is not a UAC issue but an issue that Visual Studio 2008 still needs to be started under an Administrative account for certain scenarios. Hopefully, in the next release we will see UAC properly supported for those situations where it is absolutely necessary to elevate your privileges.

The second issue is the users tab of Task Manager. In order to click either of the buttons to disconnect or log off a user you have to switch to the processes tab, click the ‘Show Processes from all users’ to elevate your privileges and then switch back to the users tab. Hopefully, we will see a fix for that in a later service pack.

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