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How necessary is the UAC in Windows 7?

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Carol Haynes:
Turning off UAC puts you in the same position as an admin user on Windows XP.

If you were happy on Windows XP there is no real reason to not turn off UAC if it annoys you - so long as you assume the risk that something may install without a warning.

Personally I leave it switched on - the one positive is it is much less irritating than it was in Vista.

If you guys are like me, and most of you are, in that we have used Windows for most of our lives, and we are known as the "computer geeks" in our circles, I don't think things like UAC affect us one way or another.  To me, it's simply a nuisance, period.  It's not like I ever try to install something accidentally, and even if I did double-click on it accidentally, I'd just cancel the wizard at some point.  Also, as JJ said, our comfort with computers makes us comfortable with installing a bunch of different programs to try.  I don't use sandboxing or vm's.  i tried at one point, but it was too much of a headache.  Look, I know if something I'm installing is fishy.  i don't need UAC to tell me or anyone else.  I just hope that even if i do intentionally try to install something that is fishy, my AV or other security software will catch it.  And it has for the most part.  Some things have slipped through, as I've talked about here on the forums, but even those were due to some pretty odd circumstances.

All these things like UAC are really for the 95% of the population who are not very comfortable with computers.  They don't understand the whole system, with the drivers, files, folders, program files, application data, etc.  It's all foreign to them.  So UAC and similar things are very good for them.  But even then, i doubt how effective these things actually are.  I suspect that more often than not, these messages just make people nervous and want to call their computer geek friend to check and see if they should or should not install this thing.

I forego security software (minus Windows Firewall) and just use my head, and sandbox things I don't know about (game trainers come to mind). I'd rather have an on-demand solution, rather than a constantly-running solution. I want the computer to be as snappy as possible/output the highest FPS possible/boot up faster than I can sit down and get comfortable. The only time I install an anti-malware app is when I suspect I've been too trusting to something I shouldn't have, or if I just want to make sure I've got a clean slate.

Anyways: I've only had UAC save me once, and that wasn't really much of a save either; I knew I was stupid and gotten myself infected already, UAC just stopped a minor change. I keep it off even though I never do any system changes (except app updates, or Steam game installs), it interferes with CCleaner/Defraggler running via Task Scheduler. Up until I figured out UAC was messing that up, I had it turned on (a few months). It doesn't really provide much protection though.

Thanks very much, wreckedcarzz, Oshyan, Carol, and superboyac, for your advice.  After reading what you've said, I think I'll leave UAC off even though I'm not as knowledgeable about dealing with computer problems as the rest of you are.  But I haven't found UAC at all useful, and at times (like its preventing ActiveWords from working with Dreamweaver) it's been exceedingly unhelpful.  It's a pity that Microsoft hasn't been able to devise a better tool after all this time.  

Again, many thanks!

I am pretty sure even with an Admin account, UAC will prompt for certain responses if it is on - not unlike SUDO or other similar mechanisms.  In fact, If you want to use UAC, it seems to me it is best NOT to be an Admin account, and just use UAC to elevate privlages as needed (or set certain programs to run as Admin always if necessary, but that generally means poorly programmed software).

FWIW - If you turn off UAC, I think you are giving up one of the main reasons to switch to 7 in the first place.  Most everything still runs on XP as the lowest common denominator, and the only reasons I can think of to switch are for 1) increased security or 2) have to switch due to lack of XP driver support.  Also note, all that I said is theoretical...I haven't really played with Win7 to know how good or stupid UAC are in that product.  :P


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