smartuac-logo Smart UAC is a free tool that replaces Vista’s UAC (User Account Control). It allows you to mark certain programs as safe, so you won’t be bothered with UAC prompts anymore in the future. You can also add applications to a deny list which will prevent them from being executed. Furthermore, Smart UAC has a built-in malware scanner.

One of the features that’s missing with Vista’s UAC is the ability to disable UAC prompts for particular applications. Sometimes you have to configure a Vista feature that requires admin privileges several times because you want to try out something. That’s when UAC can really get on your nerves. Even more annoying are auto-starting apps that initiate a UAC prompt whenever you boot up. Why should I need to confirm that a program is trustworthy more than once?

Like Vista UAC, Smart UAC will prompt for consent whenever you launch a program that needs administrator rights. However, it uses other heuristics than Vista UAC. When I tried the tool, I encountered several UAC alerts that were caused by Windows programs that wouldn’t have been displayed with Vista UAC.

smart-uac-promptThe main difference, however, is that Smart UAC’s dialog window offers two additional options: “Always allow every action of this program” and “Always deny every action of this program.” Smart UAC also has an allow list and a deny list which can be edited manually. Note that you have to always click on “Cancel” if you don’t want the program to start, even though you want to add it to the deny list.

smart-uac-allow-listUnfortunately, the deny option didn’t work when I tested the tool. Smart UAC correctly added the program to the deny list. But the application was then treated as if it were in the allow list, i.e., no prompts were issued and the program started with administrator privileges. Perhaps the error was related to my test environment. Please let me know whether you also experience this problem. The allow option worked fine, though. It certainly is the more important feature. I mean, if you don’t want a program to start, I’d suggest not clicking it. 😉

The built-in malware scanner is supposed to detect 400,000 threats. It makes sense to combine UAC with malware protection. In a certain sense, UAC is just a dumb anti-malware scanner. Almost all of its alerts are false positives. But what do all these prompts mean if you click on “Continue” and the program contains a virus?

Even though Smart UAC seems to be a bit unreliable to me, the idea behind the program makes a lot of sense. I wish Microsoft would add similar features to Windows 7 UAC, but I’m afraid my wish won’t come true.

Next I will publish a review of Symantec’s UAC extension. Stay tuned!

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