I appreciate Microsoft’s efforts to keep my computer secure with the User Account Control (UAC) technology. However, it is annoying with it’s endless credentials or consent prompts nagging, nagging, nagging.
I can’t understand why it doesn’t learn when I’ve approved a program. I think that once I’ve approved a program, UAC should remember details of that program’s footprint and only ask me again if that footprint changes.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t and probably never will (because if Microsoft can do something, then so can those evil virus writers). Completely disabling UAC causes all sorts of other problems. So the next best thing is to diminish the nagging of UAC without actually turning it off.
WARNING: Fine-tuning UAC settings inherently makes it much less effective as a security tool.
Here are some registry settings that you can set to get UAC to behave with better manners. (HKLM refers to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.) The first setting has immediate effect. WARNING: Mistakes while manually editing the registry can reduce your machine to an unusable state. Proceed at your own risk. Mwahaha.
If you are an administrator, you may wonder why you keep getting asked to confirm to run programs as an administrator. It’s because you are only an ickle administrator and the real administrator account is hidden by default in Vista. No worries…
- Auto-elevate “Run As Administrator” programs:
Value: ConsentPromptBehaviorAdmin = dword:00000000
Or how about when you’re watching a video on one screen and tooling about on the other and the black screen completely kills your media player. The black screen is called your secure desktop and prevents a nasty program from sending fake key-presses to a UAC prompt and so is a good thing. But murderlising video applications is not. So…
- Remove black screen when prompting for credentials or consent:
Value: PromptOnSecureDesktop = dword:00000000
The Nagger’s Little Sister: Security Center
Now if you set auto-elevate you get the Security Center popping up and telling you that you are about to start ‘global thermonuclear war.’ Now, frankly, like a lot of Microsoft balloons and prompts, this is a little alarming. Now it is actually fibbing a bit because it tells you UAC isn’t on, but it is on. It’s just running in gloriously silent mode.
Fortunately, you can politely ask Security Center to stop nagging and it will. Open Security Center and click “Change the way Security Center alerts me” (it’s on the left) and select the appropriate level of nagging.