Sunday, April 29, 2007

TweakUAC

I constantly hear/read complaints about Windows Vista's UAC dialog. The complaint usually goes something like this, "Whenever I do Administrative task X while logged in as an Administrator, Vista asks me if I really want to do said task X."

UAC, also known as User Account Control, is designed to not stop users from doing stupid things so much as to stop automated programs from taking over the computer system. But users do get annoyed when they want to do a series of administrative-level tasks and see dialogs popping up in their face constantly asking if they really want to do those tasks.

Which is where a tool I found comes in really handy. I don't run Vista, but I have found a solution for the #1 complaint I hear from those who do:

http://www.tweak-uac.com/what-is-tweak-uac/

TweakUAC allows system administrators to do administrativey things without being annoyed by the UAC privilege elevation dialogs. Of course, most users who own Vista are usually logged in as Administrator. So, the tool isn't perfect because using "quiet mode" kind of defeats the purpose of UAC. It would be great to see a feature in the tool where "quiet mode" can be enabled for, say, 2 hours and then at the end of that time period, it would revert to regular UAC.

Some people might note that Vista already has a "disable UAC" feature. This is true. What those same people don't realize is that disabling UAC only disables the dialog...it doesn't actually stop UAC. Turning off the UAC dialog causes all manner of user confusion and application breakage (turning off/disabling UAC is the equivalent of saying "Cancel" to every UAC dialog).

Which is why TweakUAC is cool. It creates a happy medium for users who are Administrators. It is useful to note that other types of user accounts still see the UAC dialog (usually followed by the credentials dialog for non-admins who click "Continue").

The name of the product is kind of funny. You can pronounce it as Twee-Quack...which sounds like the Elmer Fudd'ism for "Tree crack". AKA "cheap weed".

4 comments:

  1. Did you bother to research this?

    http://blogs.msdn.com/tims/archive/2006/09/20/windows-vista-secret-4-disabling-uac.aspx

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  2. Did you bother to read my book? The console management snap-in route has "nerd" written all over it. Therefore, NOT AN OPTION.

    Besides, I got to say "cheap weed".

    I'll leave mentioning the research of nerdy topics to, uh, nerds.

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  3. "I don't run Vista, but I have found a solution for the #1 complaint I hear from those who do"

    Wait...you don't use Vista, but feel you are qualified to suggest products for it?

    "Of course, most users who own Vista are usually logged in as Administrator."

    Actually (and those who actually use the product or, I don't know, do research would already know this) it's near impossible to login as "Administrator" under Vista.

    "turning off/disabling UAC is the equivalent of saying "Cancel" to every UAC dialog"

    ...No. It isn't.

    "Which is why TweakUAC is cool. It creates a happy medium for users who are Administrators."

    How could you possibly know this when you don't even use Vista?

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  4. "Wait...you don't use Vista, but feel you are qualified to suggest products for it?"

    There is a difference between _running_ Vista and _using_ it. I'll occasionally run Vista for testing purposes under VMWare but I won't dedicate any physical hardware to it.


    "it's near impossible to login as "Administrator" under Vista."

    Well, you know what I mean. Most users log in under an account with a split token. By default they don't run as Admin, but when Admin privileges are needed, the UAC dialog pops up and the process is restarted. The user just clicks the button - no password or anything and they go ahead. Under restricted accounts, the user has to temporarily log into an account that has the administrator split token privilege.

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