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Microsoft: Vista UAC intended 'to annoy users'

updated 01:35 pm EDT, Fri April 11, 2008

Vista UAC meant 'to annoy'

One of Windows Vista's design features was deliberately implemented "to annoy users," a Microsoft executive admitted yesterday at the RSA 2008 conference in San Francisco. David Cross, a product unit manager, explained to an audience that Vista's User Account Control scheme was built to discourage people from running as an administrator on their computers, which in case of attack can grant hackers deeper access than they might otherwise be allowed. "We needed to change the ecosystem, and we needed a heavy hammer to do it," said Cross.

The problem, many Vista owners have complained, is that it is common for users to run as administrators regardless, and UAC can harass people regularly and unnecessarily. Cross dismisses these concerns, noting that "most users" have no UAC warnings on an average day, although only 66 percent of sessions are said to be alert-free. Cross also rejects the notion that that users are shutting off UAC, citing Microsoft statistics that 88 percent of Vista users keep it active.

"Are there some annoyances with UAC? Yes, but advanced users know how to get around them," says Cross.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. robttwo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2005


    dismisses these concerns

    This is the Microsoft company motto, correct?


  1. itguy05

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Apr 2005


    ANNOY it does

    I spent a week behind a Vista desktop at a recent MS training.

    First thing I did was find the Windows Classic button to get rod of the POS Aero UI.

    Second I was annoyed at UAC. I wanted to look at device manager - UAC to just LOOK. I wanted to remove some icons from the menubar - UAC. Want to poke around and just look? UAC. A smart way would be to UAC you if you try to change something, not just look.


  1. 319please

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006


    Deploying Vista

    Because the UAC introduces a gigantic question-mark ("Does this software now not work because of UAC? Or is it Vista? Or is it an issue with this software?") I turn it off straightaway. Run MSCONFIG to get to the GUI where it has to be turned off.

    Second, because Aero is so completely different, it introduces an unnecessary learning curve - so again, I turn it off. Windows Classic - eases the transition.


  1. bradpdx

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2007


    just say it

    If the "goal" of UAC was to convince people not to run as administrators, then the proper approach is to just say it and give the user good tools to do it.

    Trying to achieve a goal through annoyance is childish and ineffective.

    For all their size, it appears the M$ has no good design sense at all, and this is just one more example.

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005


    negative conditioning

    That sounds a lot like an electric dog collar for users to me.

    If they were truly smart, they'd offer alternatives that were more attractive and safer to entice users away from admin accounts, not piss them off until they gave it up.

    However, we should know by now that the M$ architecture wouldn't make this easy to design. Their loss, I guess.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    and pc fanboys

    wonder why we constantly bash MS. There's simply no end to the reasons why Microsoft sucks a**.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: Sep 1999


    What a load

    Does anyone believe that MS just got tired of taking heat for this and just made up this lame excuse? I sure do.

    Here's a better idea - design an operating system properly and you can have a secure operating system without annoying your users.

  1. MeandmyMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    Again, "advance users"...

    "Are there some annoyances with UAC? Yes, but advanced users know how to get around them," says Cross.

    Why does one seem to need a "PHD in MS operting systems"?

    When will MS write an OS for novice, non-techies, who don't want to spend hours figuring out how to stop annoying stuff like this?

    Makes me glad to be a "Mac Kool-Aid" drinker than a "PC Kool-Aid" drinker!

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999


    Purposefully to annoy

    Because uncle Bill knows best!

  1. ender

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 1999


    do users know why?

    Ok, so users know that Windows is annoying. But do they know the reason behind the annoyance? Does MS encourage them to create and use a non-admin account? Or do they just annoy their users, but leave it up to them to figure out how to avoid the annoyance? And in that case, what they will figure out will often be the WRONG thing (ie, to disable UAC)!

    But to be fair, Apple should also do more to educate (as opposed to MS's annoy tactic) users to not use admin accounts for their day-to-day computer use. It's probably not as big a deal on a Mac, but it's still a good practice. I'd bet that the vast majority of Mac users run as admin, not because of a specific decision on their part, but because that's the account that was created the first time the started up their Mac. And they've never had reason to consider creating a non-admin account to use.

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