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Some thoughts on User Account Control (UAC) in Vista RC1


Last night, I finally completed my install of Vista on my home machine. I sort of wish I had taken the clean install route instead of the upgrade path, because it took forever! One of my coworkers did the clean install and he was finished in half an hour - it took me two nights! Now, those two nights were really because I started it and went to sleep and was greeted with an "End task" dialog on a program that had hung the first morning. I let it continue through the next work day and was greeted with another dialog when I got back the next evening. I did successfully install it, though, and I like it quite a bit. My biggest complaint so far is that Windows One Care isn't currently supported in Vista yet. It's even a Microsoft product for crying out loud!

Anyway, this post is about UAC, though :)

On my PC, whenever the UAC dialog appears, my entire screen goes black and, when it comes back, the dialog is the only thing that isn't a darker color. When the screen goes black, it is almost as if my monitor has lost the signal from the computer, like when you're rebooting your machine. That is probably my biggest complaint with it right now, because the process isn't very responsive. (Is that a performance issue on my machine? I don't know, but I do have more memory on the way)

Here's what I'd like to see: the ability to have a true Administrator account that doesn't have to have the UAC dialog pop up for administrative-related tasks; HOWEVER, I do understand why Microsoft is hesitant to do this. My parents have been using Windows since version 3.1 and they've never had a dialog like this. *nix users have always (?) had the idea of a root user, so that is something they know, but my parents probably have no idea if they're admins or not. In fact, they only have one account set up and they never even see the welcome screen in Windows XP.

How does Microsoft get them to go from that to having one or more logon accounts and then an admin account that doesn't have annoying dialogs and actually expect them to use the one that HAS the dialogs? We might know not to use the admin account for security reasons, but do you really expect users to read the warning message? Users don't read messages now and I'm guessing they won't read them in a new version of Windows either. I'm sure it can be done, but it won't be easy.