Managing Security Features on Windows Vista

Q: I have Windows Vista Business on my desktop. It seems that every time I try to modify my date and time settings or other features, I get a barrage of security dialogue boxes. Is there any way I can give myself super permissions privileges so I do not have go through this every time I want to change something?

– Mark

A: This is usually a symptom related to a new mechanism that Windows Vista introduced called User Account Control (UAC). The problem also can take another form, in which, instead of “continue” and “cancel” buttons, UAC displays a password prompt. Usually it happens when the logged-in user is not a local administrator on the workstation.

Before disabling this mechanism entirely, it’s important to understand why it was included in Vista in the first place. To do that, we need to look at Vista’s predecessor, Windows XP. When XP is initially installed, the Setup Wizard by default designates all user accounts as local administrators. This type of account enables users to install, run and update software on the machine. This “permission-less” environment can pose a problem, as malware and viruses can leverage it. If, on the other hand, an employee is made a standard user on his workstation, he will not be able to do many of his daily tasks, and help desks around the world likely would suffer as requests for assistance would skyrocket.

So UAC addresses this issue by prompting for consent or credentials when an activity…



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