To Nick a challenge:

On February 15, 2007, in news, by

I will be setting up my Sister’s new Vista this weekend and I will count exactly the times I get UAC’d and will document why I got them.

Nick?  I want you to count the number of times you get UAC’d as well.  Got that?  I want you to stop watching the Mac commercials, stop reading the Mark Russonovich blogs – or the Joanna/Mark wars over on and I want you and anyone else who is saying it needs to be re-thought to count and tell me in a normal user setting how many times and exactly where they get prompted.

In one week Nick, I will post my record of the times I got UAC’d and why.  I will expect you to do the same.

If Vista’s UAC does nothing else it did/has done one thing:

It pushed Intuit into making Quickbooks run as non admin.
It’s pushing non admin to the “tipping” point.
It’s putting non admin on the radar for “normal folks”
It’s shoving poorly written apps in our faces and showcasing them.
This is UAC version 1.

One week Nick.  I’ll post mine, you post yours.


10 Responses to To Nick a challenge:

  1. indy says:

    Average users click yes. They will eventually by habit continue to press yes or they will ask a geek to turn it off.

    There will not be a middle ground…

  2. Rob Nicholls says:

    I was planning on re-installing Vista over the weekend (as I’m upgrading my hardware), so I might give this challenge a go myself. I’ve found that, once Vista is properly configured, you only really see UAC prompts when installing items from Windows Update or installing new software. I certainly don’t plan on turning it off, even during the initial configuration.

    The geeks that do turn it off are probably those with “a bit of knowledge” of Vista, the type that are dangerous. As an example, one of the Associate Editors of The Register complains that he can’t disable the Vista Security Center: (the article’s good for a laugh, as he mostly complains about driver issues that he hasn’t bothered to research, as well as his rant about the cost of Vista – clearly he isn’t aware of TechNet Plus Direct). Why would anyone want to disable it?

  3. Jonathan Pearson says:

    My problem isn’t with the prompts themselves, they are a good idea. I don’t know why certain actions need to prompt so many times. I don’t have a specific example, but it seems I will sometimes get two or three prompts (with slightly different wording and means of displaying on the screen). I think this inconsistency and number of prompts to accomplish a single task will lead to more users just clicking yes.

    On a separate note when I create a new folder in Program Files, why does the “create folder” and “rename folder” sequence have to be seen as two separate actions, requiring two whole UAC sequences??? I understand why this is, but couldn’t Windows delay actually creating the folder until the user types in the name of the folder (or accepts “New Folder”)?

  4. sandi says:

    Amen Sister. I am also tired of the FUD around UAC.

  5. Vlad Mazek says:

    Seconding what Jonathan said:
    Microsoft could have easilly just stolen this technology from Linux completely, but they halfassed it. They lifted sudo, of executing a single process as a superuser, but didn’t steal su, of elevating the entire session to superuser until the maintenance task was complete.

    That’s the problem with UAC, and perhaps the only visible problem with UAC: That there is no way to do maintenance on a system without outright disabling it. If you’re troubleshooting and moving around control panels you literally have to approve escalation every few clicks. Not something a regular user would ever encounter or get pissed off with, but when troubleshooting… there just needs to be a process short of shutting off the UAC that suppresses the constant permission begging game.

    “Yes, I’m trying to address a problem, I’m an admin, STFU and leave me to solve the problem or I will turn you off.”

    There, why is that so hard to understand?


  6. NickWhittome says:

    Agh, you are missing the point Susan.

    It is not about the amount of times you have to click the yes, it is the fact that a “normal” user has to… and they are in the habbit of doing so.

    It would not matter if the prompt said “Do you want this virus?”, the user would still click yes.

    Also, I do not care that this is “Version 1”, it should have included a method of remembering user actions and not keep reprompting. So annoying….. etc etc…. what Vlad said 😉

  7. bradley says:

    So now you are saying you want no prompts?

    Again, count how many times the ‘normal’ user has prompts after you set up the system.

    Install Vista, shut of UAC, install everything, turn it back on.

    Start counting Nick.

  8. Vlad Mazek says:

    Comment #7 is absurd Susan, sorry. Here is how it works in the real world:

    User gets a new PC
    User starts customizing it
    User hits 6 UAC prompts, each bringing the PC to the halt while it dims the entire screen.
    User Googles about “Turning off UAC”
    User turns off UAC, UAC _says off_

    Game over.

    It’s more likely for the UAC shutoff to become a standard part of Vista deployment than for UAC v2 to make a difference.

    And stop dilusioning yourself that somehow the number of clicks counts – it’s a flawed process regardless of your count and the fact that you’re grasping for excuses like “but it fixed Quickbooks” kind of proves it. Give those who manage Windows the power to manage it, take it completely away from those who don’t. If you don’t know what UAC prompt is, odds are, you shouldn’t be messing with the things that trigger it.


  9. bradley says:

    Vlad… this is the real world.

    On a default OEM bought Dell that sister just bought, it’s on.

    And I’m counting.

  10. Mark says:

    Although it’s not perfect, I can’t understand why so many ‘technical’ people are switching it off or advocating people do so. I can understand novice users getting frustrated with it, but ‘techies’?? C’mon guys you’re setting a bad example for the rest!

    I agree that novice users will just click the box regardless, but as an IT professional, I’ve learned that you must always read before you click, or suffer the consequences.