User Account Control (UAC)The results of my poll about Vista's User Account Control (UAC) are quite impressive. More than 2000 4sysops readers voted so far. 67% have disabled UAC altogether, 5% disabled the elevation prompts, 3% changed other UAC settings and only 24% use the default UAC settings.

This poll is certainly not representative. 4sysops readers are more tech savvy than the average Vista user. They not only figured out how to disable UAC, they also install software and change system settings more often. Thus they get annoyed by UAC prompts regularly.

Did you disable Vista's UAC?

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But these numbers surprised me anyway. I think this poll shows that more than 70% of IT pros reject UAC. I've been criticizing UAC ever since. I've read several times that one of the major reasons why Microsoft introduced UAC was because they wanted to encourage developers to distinguish between applications that need admin privileges and those needing just standard user rights. I wonder if this approach will work considering that the majority of IT pros disabled it anyway.

I am a supporter of separating administration work from ordinary Windows usage, but UAC is just a bad solution to this problem. Su/sudo under Linux is certainly a better one. However, that doesn't mean that I recommend disabling Vista UAC. You can just turn the elevation prompts off and let UAC enabled. UAC improves security not only by asking for approval if an application changes important system settings. I blogged about the reasons not to disable UAC more than a year ago.

Another option is to use the free tool TweakUAC to disable UAC quickly when you have to do some tasks requiring administrator privileges. After you are done with your work, you can enable it again without hassle. This is already close to the su command under Linux. By the way, I just added TweakUAC to the list of free Windows management tools. So you can rate it now.

If there are just a couple of applications where UAC is getting on your nerves, you might use this little trick to get rid of the UAC prompts just for those aps. I think many disabled UAC not only because of the constant confirmation prompts, but also for compatibility reasons. In those cases it often helps to elevate an application manually. I listed eight ways to run a Vista application with administrator privileges.

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The scripting guys might be interested in the Script Elevation PowerToys that allow you to launch PowerShell with admin rights from Windows Explorer and help you to elevate a tool on the command prompt. You can also rate them now. And here you'll learn how to run VBScript or JScript scripts with admin rights under Vista.