How to Disable User Account Control

Windows 7 and Windows Vista ask if you want to Allow or Cancel almost every attempt to do something in Windows. It is called User Account Control (UAC) and is Microsoft’s attempt to ratchet up security. No matter how annoying they are, you should never disable the UAC.

After you configure Windows to your liking, they shouldn’t show up that often. In fact, as long as you remember that whenever you see the shield icon, you should also expect a UAC warning, they shouldn’t surprise you.

If they still really bug you, try disabling the UAC Secure Desktop mode first. Disabling Secure Desktop mode doesn’t reduce the level of security for the UAC. In fact, it merely allows you to see the UAC without dimming the desktop. Other programs can still access the screen, such as a screen capture utility, but that’s not considered a security exploit.

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If that doesn’t suit your fancy and you insist on disabling User Account Control, here are the steps:

  1. Pop up the Start menu and click your account’s picture in the upper-right corner.

    The User Accounts window opens.

  2. Choose Turn User Account Control On or Off.

  3. Type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button.

    Whoa! You were expecting that, right?

  4. Remove the check mark by the option Use User Account Control (UAC) to Help Protect Your Computer.

  5. Click OK.

  6. Click the Restart Now button.

    Your computer restarts.

When the computer starts up again, things are different. Passwords entered automatically for you no longer show up. You may see other things that are unusual. These are the consequences of disabling the UAC. If you like that, cool. If not, repeat these steps, but in Step 4, put the check mark back.

In Windows 7, you can throttle back the amount of nuisance the UAC gives off. Follow Steps 1 and 2 in the preceding set of steps to see the User Account Control Settings window. Use the slider in the window to set the degree of annoyance you want for the UAC warnings in Windows 7. Click OK when you’re done.

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