Managing that UAC popup window

Put: 07.11.2006 | Rev 08.02.2007 | Contributed by Andrew Mallett

Probably one of the most controversial features of Vista is the alerter box which pops up whenever you want to do something which the system considers out of your usual sphere of power. There has been a raging debate inside and outside of Microsoft about this new security feature.

By default, when you install Windows Vista and create that first username/password account, this user account is ostensibly a member of the Administrators group. Any other user accounts created after installation will be Standard Users and will default to being members of the Users group. Just like XP in fact. So far so good.

Well not quite. That first 'administrator' user is really what's known as a 'Consent Admin' - a member of the local administrators group who logs on with a filtered standard user but has the potential to elevate privilege to administrator. In other words this user does not have permission to do perform many system-wide tasks unless they elevate themselves to full admin rights by answering the popup box (elevation prompt). This is also referred to as 'Admin Approval Mode'.

It's a similar system to the 'nix user running su to become the root user. Note that under Vista there are 14 different types of 'Consent Admins' ranging from local administrator to restore operator.

Warning: Remember the UAC serves an important security function. If some application or malware (or indeed, hacker) attempts to run code or perform a system change, then this elevation prompt is an indication of a possible problem and allows the current user to cancel the event. Preventing the popup from happening could allow unpleasant events to go unnoticed. You have been warned..

Killing the UAC popup window - Vista RTM

One original method for the pre-release versions of Vista has been left here for posterity's sake, see Killing the UAC popup window - Vista RC1 below. Here is the much easier way..

START | Control Panel | User Accounts | User Accounts | Turn User Account Control on or Off..

Uncheck Use User Account Control.. OK

Reboot when convenient to end the misery..

Killing the UAC popup window - Vista RC1

The above should work fine for all production versions of Vista. This is a method I used during the pre-release versions..

Bring up a RUN dialogue (Windows Key + R) and type secpol.msc. Drill down to Security Settings | Local Policies | Security Options.

Double click on User Account Control: Behaviour of the elevation prompt for administrators in Admin Approval Mode

Change the setting from 'Prompt for consent' to 'Elevate without prompting'. Click OK and close the Local Security Policy window.

This should be enough to stop the thing popping up for good.

- A.