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Taming Vista's User Account Control Pop-Ups

Microsoft Vista users fed up with the incessant security prompts from the operating system's "user access control" feature can now spend less time clicking on the pop-ups. Symantec Corp. has released a free tool that adds a simple "don't ask me again" option to each prompt.

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The UAC feature, which throws up a "Windows needs your permission to continue" prompt each time Vista users install a program or make minor changes to system settings within Windows, was designed to keep users safer by warning them about downloads or malicious software trying to make changes that the user did not request. It was also an effort by Microsoft to force software developers to write programs that don't need all-powerful administrator access to function properly.

But some Vista users find the prompts so annoying that they turn the UAC feature off entirely. Part of the trouble is that there is no easy way to tell UAC to remember your answer for a given task or program, like many firewall software do.

Symantec's beta Norton User Account Control tool addresses that shortcoming by replacing the Windows UAC prompt with its own, which includes the simple "don't bug again" option. Whether Symantec's tool will simply let users whittle away the UAC prompts until the feature is effectively turned off is another question.

The Norton tool worked flawlessly in my Vista Ultimate machine, but I've only checked the "don't ask" box for the more mundane UAC pop-ups. Generally speaking, anytime you see the multi-colored Windows shield next to a setting in the Vista control panel or elsewhere on the operating system, you can expect to get a UAC pop-up when trying to change that setting.

By Brian Krebs  |  November 4, 2008; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker , New Patches , Safety Tips  
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Comments

I have Vista Home Premium on a laptop at home, along with an XP desktop. The UAC doesn't really bother me since I know enough to realize the security aspects of installing software.

What bothers me most about Vista is the fact that it will just, on its own, do something to update something and reboot itself, regardless of what I may be doing. Is there a way to control that automatic update/reboot process?

Posted by: blasher | November 4, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

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