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Windows 7 to Have Toned-Down User Account Control

By , Marcus Yam - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 20 comments

According to the Microsoft blog "Engineering Windows 7," the next version of Windows will tone down and streamline the User Account Control that so many Vista users are frustrated with.

While many could provide a laundry list of reasons why they prefer to use Windows XP over Vista, one issue at the top of most PC users list is the User Account Control (UAC) that was introduced with the often-criticized OS. While some of it’s features can be turned off or disabled, the fact remains that many do not like the constant double-checking the OS does for things as simple as opening a program or installing a plugin.

Well, it seems as though Microsoft has gotten the message, and according to ZDNet, will work to fine tune UAC to be more effective and less invasive. “We’ve heard loud and clear that you are frustrated," said Ben Fathi, president for core OS development. "We still want to provide you control over what changes can happen to your system, but we want to provide you a better overall experience."

To do this, explains Fathi, Microsoft will broaden the control you have over UAC notifications, as well as provide additional and more relevant information in the UI. One complaint that seems to resonate with users across the board is the amount of duplicate messages one receives about a repeated action. To solve this, user will get “better and more obvious control over the (UAC) mechanism," said Fathi.

According to comments from members of the Windows team, Vista’s UAC has a significant role to play in making the latest OS the most secure version of Windows yet. Clearly the measures put into place are good ones, but now work must go into striking the balance of having strong security without making the user feel restricted from accomplishing normal tasks.

Windows 7 is promising a lot to consumers, ranging from super-speedy boot times to better-defined different versions of the OS. Microsoft may find even more fans if they follow through with a true UAC rework. Microsoft is in damage control mode. With yet another extension on Windows XP, set to keep the OS around until the summer of 2009, and early builds of Windows 7 going to those who attend Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in October and Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in November, as well as a rumored beta before Christmas, one thing is clear: Windows 7 is in full swing up in Redmond, and Microsoft desperately wants to make the disappointing present a forgettable past as soon as they possibly can.

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  • 5 Hide
    resonance451 , October 10, 2008 10:31 AM
    Ever since moving to Vista with SP1, I've had only one crash, and that was from an Apple program: iTunes. With XP, I had numerous crashes, slowdown issues, and driver problems. Don't believe the hype. And for the record, I actually like UAC, and it's not even half as bad as the propaganda suggests it is.

    The hype is meaningless, as is often the case. Vista is fine, and it works well for me. It's worked far better than XP ever did. Sorry. I didn't want to admit that I had believed the widespread myths about Vista, but at one point I really did. Now I'm of a different opinion, but I guess that's what happens when you actually know what you're talking about.
  • 1 Hide
    smalltime0 , October 10, 2008 11:33 AM
    resonance451Ever since moving to Vista with SP1, I've had only one crash, and that was from an Apple program: iTunes. With XP, I had numerous crashes, slowdown issues, and driver problems. Don't believe the hype. And for the record, I actually like UAC, and it's not even half as bad as the propaganda suggests it is.The hype is meaningless, as is often the case. Vista is fine, and it works well for me. It's worked far better than XP ever did. Sorry. I didn't want to admit that I had believed the widespread myths about Vista, but at one point I really did. Now I'm of a different opinion, but I guess that's what happens when you actually know what you're talking about.

    +1
    Although I do get pissed sometimes with UAC... I believe microsoft updates are no security threat to my PC...
  • 0 Hide
    resonance451 , October 10, 2008 11:38 AM
    More control over UAC would be nice. I don't think it's a pressing issue as much as people have made it out to be. I expected to be hit with a constant cancel/allow every 30 seconds. I keep a strict control of what processes I have running, with only my audio drivers for my RME FireFace 800 allowed on startup. I'm not going to waste such a powerful system to poor handling, so having complete control over it with my utilities and UAC is really a plus for me.
  • 2 Hide
    Boslink , October 10, 2008 12:05 PM
    UAC for new users is a good thing but for those that know how to use windows (simple user) can be a pain in the but.

    I disable UAC on my vista but i consider my self very advance user that really knows what should and what shouldn't do. Case in point is that for more than 4 years i had ZERO virus and/or mailware, trojan etc problems.

    This translate to ZERO problems with XP and Vista. And do not think that i'm not using torrent and not going to "underground" pages almost daily.

    What bother me with Vista is interface. I really have hard time accepting it. But again i have hard time accepting XP interface so i switch to classic start menu. Going to control panel, finding things that i need to manage my PC are also pain in the but in Vista.

    Yes i could spend some time and learn how to work on new OS but i just don't have time to waste. Last time i spent almost 1 hour trying to find out how to do some "simple" things that i regularly do on XP (was network related).

    And that's is the only reason why i still have dual boot and why i prefer XP over Vista.

    Still i can't say XP is better than Vista. They are both good and i actually like Vista but i'm much, much more comfortable using XP than Vista.

    And i think that's the main reason why people (that know how to use PC) don't like Vista.
    "XP is good, Vista is also good, they almost perform the same but for Vista i have to dedicate some time to learn it's secrets with no real benefit."
  • 0 Hide
    Niva , October 10, 2008 12:55 PM
    Boslink, I like how you say "underground pages"... UAC is only bothersome while installing new programs, and really at first when you're setting the system up. Once it's all configured I have no issues with it. I'd rather click an extra button when configuration is required than have it go off in the background w/o my knowledge.

    Now there are aspects of UAC I don't like in Vista, like a constant icon on the taskbar god forbid I haven't installed an antivirus program.

    My biggest peeve with windows is really against the users. Everyone runs as an admin while they do everything. If people would learn to install a user account and only log in as admin to install/update the system things would be so much better. Of course that would be like admitting unix/linux got it right for Microsoft.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2008 1:19 PM
    To be honest Vista isn't as bad as it's reputation is. If you have good fairly modern hardware with at least 2GB of RAM or more it should run somewhat okay. Vista's biggest weakness by far is it's more of a resource hog than XP Pro. BTW, XP Pro SHOULD be stable. I've never crashed it in years. At worst I've somehow killed the explorer.exe process requiring a reboot but it's been years since I've seen a real bluescreen or lockup. From what I've seen a lot of folks suffer from bad drivers, hardware, viruses or poor setup.
  • 1 Hide
    Boslink , October 10, 2008 1:52 PM
    NivaBoslink, I like how you say "underground pages"... UAC is only bothersome while installing new programs, and really at first when you're setting the system up. Once it's all configured I have no issues with it. I'd rather click an extra button when configuration is required than have it go off in the background w/o my knowledge.Now there are aspects of UAC I don't like in Vista, like a constant icon on the taskbar god forbid I haven't installed an antivirus program. My biggest peeve with windows is really against the users. Everyone runs as an admin while they do everything. If people would learn to install a user account and only log in as admin to install/update the system things would be so much better. Of course that would be like admitting unix/linux got it right for Microsoft.


    Saying users are guilty for not playing/acting how Microsoft wants (or any other company) is . . . . . . . . just wrong.

    True Microsoft tried to create system how to protect "users" but users almost always choose to go easy way. That's why Administrator accounts are always used. That's why Vista is "bad" OS in their eyes. Easy way is XP for them.

    So instead of forcing something on users microsoft should listen to them.

    After all OS is created for users
  • -1 Hide
    hardwarekid9756 , October 10, 2008 2:05 PM
    resonance451Ever since moving to Vista with SP1, I've had only one crash, and that was from an Apple program: iTunes. With XP, I had numerous crashes, slowdown issues, and driver problems. Don't believe the hype. And for the record, I actually like UAC, and it's not even half as bad as the propaganda suggests it is.The hype is meaningless, as is often the case. Vista is fine, and it works well for me. It's worked far better than XP ever did. Sorry. I didn't want to admit that I had believed the widespread myths about Vista, but at one point I really did. Now I'm of a different opinion, but I guess that's what happens when you actually know what you're talking about.

    QTF

    I've been using Vista since Day1. My system was still fast. I had no issues with any games I played nor were my frames noticeably worsened. My Flask mpeg encoder worked out-of-the-box with comparable performance. It was vastly more stable and a lot more feature-rich and usable out-of-box than XP. I didn't need a million plug-ins or add-on programs to do what I wanted. It. Just. Worked. Vista gets a bad rap because the Technoratti pick the OS apart, when no real user (I work weekends at Geek SquaD, I get my fair share of "Vista Sucks," but just about everyone is pleasantly surprised that it really isn't that differen than XP and functions just about the same, save for a few differences).

    UAC is actually a pretty handy feature, IMO. I work in malware research (during the week), and it has saved my arse MORE than once when I forgot to re-enable the protection software and saved me from a re-image. At home, It's saved my butt more than once when I download Bittorrent files that just so happen to have a hidden surprise (A dialog saying "would you like to run 'purepwnage.avi.exe'" is a real life-saver).

    UAC could use some tweaking, but if you know how to deal with it (alt C after the grey window you're expecting,) it's a real god-send.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2008 2:32 PM
    Again another Vista bashing article,yay!! lol...
    No,serious.
    There's nothing more annoying than popups constantly trying to get your attention.
    Maybe,if MS is reading this,they can think of creating UAC or whateva, as a small notifier on the bottom.

    Popups that require people to click are from the devil, because they require the user's time.
    notifications that if left alone the system will do it's job are good.
    Occasionally you'll need to disable a program, you can still do that by clicking the notification area,on the bottom.

    It's almost as stupid as the Norton 360 backup program. Norton used to be so intelligent, now not only the interface but also the program itself sucks balls; like last time, I needed to take a backup of my documents.
    Instead of letting me select the folders to backup,the Norton Backup program forced me to search through my harddrives for .html, .txt, and .doc/.xml/... files or similar.
    How many clicks do you think it took me to only make the right files highlighted?
    Yes,over 2000,since my HD has many documents that are not mine but come with programs like winrar or other windows programs.
    They literally adopted the reverse psychology of 'deselecting' all non-to be backed up files. I mean I've never seen any program work as stupid as this one!

    Also,a lot of the actions taken in Vista speak for them self.
    If I want to move files from an external HD,I expect Windows to warn me,saying:'are you sure?', since it could be an accident.
    But after that,Vista gives a 'administrator-rights, yes or no' window.
    When you click there, another popup for moving the thumbnail file,a file windows created, which I didn't want in the first place, and it is hidden anyways,then why ask me about it?
    The fourth window finally appears probably when all files have been moved and now the dir needs to be deleted...
    I mean... We all know Vista UAC does NOT mean more safe OS, it just means a slower, more powerhungry, annoying OS that most users turn off anyways.

    So if windows 7 will have this UAC,then forget it. Even if it's improved over Vista, it'll still be slower than XP, use more resources, and be more annoying than XP.
    I want no more than 1 warning on deleting or moving of several files,and that's it! Same goes with working on an external drive.

    You see, many home users ARE the Administrator, and don't need Administrator rights for anything.
    I can imagine in large companies administrators allowing certain actions and disapproving others like for instance installing programs on companies PC's.

    And therefor there be a extra admin popup,but not for the home user...
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2008 3:13 PM
    The problem I have with Vista is that it's a resource hog. I have a laptop that purchased right around the time when vista was set free into the world, and it runs like crap [yes, I've tweaked everything that can be tweaked] compared to an identical machine running XP. I think that they need to come up with a way to better scale back the OS for the lower end machines.
  • 0 Hide
    eccentric909 , October 10, 2008 3:40 PM
    Quote:
    If I want to move files from an external HD,I expect Windows to warn me,saying:'are you sure?', since it could be an accident.
    But after that,Vista gives a 'administrator-rights, yes or no' window.
    When you click there, another popup for moving the thumbnail file,a file windows created, which I didn't want in the first place, and it is hidden anyways,then why ask me about it?
    The fourth window finally appears probably when all files have been moved and now the dir needs to be deleted...
    I mean... We all know Vista UAC does NOT mean more safe OS, it just means a slower, more powerhungry, annoying OS that most users turn off anyways.


    Wow, strange.. I move files to and from external hard drives on my system at home (at least daily), running Vista with UAC turned on and the only message I ever get is about moving the thumbnail. It always deletes the old folders if I cut/paste and only shows a pop-up if I am over-writing files with the same name, besides the aforementioned thumbnail issue when moving pictures.

    I certainly do not get 4 pop-ups moving files, copying files or doing whatever with my external HDs (be it from internal to external, external to internal or external to external). I'm not sure why you would either. /shrug
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , October 10, 2008 4:31 PM
    Yeah, UAC isn't that bad. The only thing it's really annoying for is for games or applications that need to be Run as Administrator to work properly. For anything else, it really isn't a big deal as long as you do most of your work within your User folders. And still, even if you are a "computer expert" you should keep it turned on. Especially if you have family or friends who use the computer. 90% of people are retarded with computers. They're the kind of people who FWD emails to everyone just because the email tells them to or else they'll die. Nothing wrong with extra security and you get to learn when the occasional prompt will come up and click it like it's second nature. That could be a bad thing too though. I hope they don't plan on toning it down to sacrifice security.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 10, 2008 5:19 PM
    I have Vista on my laptop for more than one year and a half and I would never switch to XP. I'm an avid control freak, I like to know at any time what handles are opened, what programs use the net, etc. For that I needed a lot of 3rd party stuff(eg sysinternals stuff + netlimiter + zonealarm), things that are now part of vista. Also 1900x1200 looks totally bad and high dpi fonts gives a lot of headaches to more than one UIs on XP. I quite like to be informed and I actually welcomed the UAC feature. The only problem is that all the desktop gets blocked. I'd like to have them queued and handle them as I like and when I like while still having control over other parts of my desktop.
    I only have a small lack of video driver disponibility for this laptop and I'm forced to edit inf files each and every time a new version for desktop appears.
    I have more than 6 moths of up time on vista and counting(standby FTW).
    A.. forgot I can dump a copy from my video cam in 3 clicks!!!!!! via fw with no additional drivers and I can also control the volume per program. I'm actually not expecting (as in nothing that I actually need) to much from win7. A pity there is no WinFS :( ((
  • 1 Hide
    mr roboto , October 10, 2008 6:01 PM
    UAC is the first thing I turn off when doing a clean install of vista.
  • 0 Hide
    resonance451 , October 10, 2008 6:30 PM
    Either way that makes it a non-issue.
  • 0 Hide
    cronic , October 10, 2008 11:01 PM
    who didnt see this coming?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 11, 2008 11:43 AM
    why do all the mac/xp fanbois always act like windows 7 will be their saviour. i doubt we'll see it till 2012, even when windows 7 comes out we'll have to put up with the naysayers complaining there norton antivirus 2003 wont work on it again.

    have a read of this, http://www.tweakguides.com/VA_1.html .

    i sometimes recon tomshardware just bags vista to get the extra traffic...
  • 0 Hide
    resonance451 , October 11, 2008 12:14 PM
    That is a great read and very eloquently explains just about everything I have to say about Vista.

    I do think that with Windows 7 Microsoft's highest priority is scalability and coordinating production. If they do that, support will be better and adoption will be speedier. I understand it takes time for such a complicated beast to be developed, but for the sake of stopping this cycle, this service pack mess needs to stop.
  • 0 Hide
    jalek , October 12, 2008 3:40 AM
    UAC verification makes older full-screen programs fail without any apparent message.

    If you're only using the latest software, that may not be a problem, but it certainly seemed to be punishing users for lazy programmer habits.
  • 0 Hide
    resonance451 , October 12, 2008 5:57 AM
    Uhh, a portion of my software is from the mid 90's. Sorry, try again.