What is Windows Vista’s User Account Control?

UAC stands for “User Account Control” – an important feature of Windows Vista. Whether we can call it a security feature or not is a debatable topic, however it does have security implications.

The UAC screen would like this:

Windows Vista - User Account Control - TechNation (India)

UAC draws the line between a standard user and a user with administrative privileges. For most part, a user can carry out his “standard” operations in a computer. He does not need administrative rights to carry out all his work in a computer.

But when a user tries to do something that requires access to the Windows Registry, Kernel or Core system files that is when the UAC displays a prompt asking you if you really wish to allow this operation.

If you confirm it, it then allows you administrative access and you can then finish whatever you are doing – let’s say for example, install a piece of software etc

Even if you log-in to your computer (which is running Windows Vista) as an administrator, UAC gives two identities to the same account – one is the standard user and the other is the user with administrative rights. It works on the principle that standard users can do their jobs without needing to access those parts of the Operating system which are critical to keep it running. That way, even if your computer gets infected by a virus, it does not get access to the global system resources and therefore the amount of damage it can do to your computer is limited.

So, though, at times, it might appear to be a nuisance, it would be better for you to leave UAC activated in your computer.

How to turn off UAC:

  • Click Start and then click on Control Panel.In the Control panel, click on User accounts
  • In the User Accounts window, Click on User accounts
  • In the User Accounts tasks window, click on Turn User Account Control on or off.
  • If UAC is currently configured in Admin Approval Mode, the User Account Control message appears. Click Continue
  • Clear the Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer check box, and then click OK
  • Click Restart Now to apply the change right away, or click Restart Later and close the User Accounts tasks window.