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How to Turn Off Windows Vista's User Account Control

Notice how Windows Vista is constantly asking for your permission to do things that you just told it to do? This is part of the User Account Control feature that Microsoft set in place to protect you from damaging your system. You can turn off the User Account Control feature in Windows Vista, but you might want to think twice before you do.

Like driving a car, working with Windows is reasonably safe, as long as you know safe driving practices. So why does Windows Vista need to protect you from yourself? Because in the world of Windows, there’s no easy way to recognize many of these dangerous moves. Things that look totally innocent — a friend’s e-mail or a program on the Internet — may be a virus or prank that sneakily rearranges everything on your dashboard or causes a crash.

To protect you from any possible damage, Vista alerts you whenever anybody (or anything) tries to do something that can potentially harm Windows or your PC; it flashes a message asking for permission. If one of these permission messages appears out of the blue, Vista may be warning you about a bit of nastiness trying to sneak in. So click Cancel to deny it permission.

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But if you’re trying to do something specific with your PC and Vista puts up its guard, click Continue and Vista drops the velvet rope and lets you in. Yes, an annoyingly dim-witted robot bouncer polices Vista’s front door, but it’s also an extra challenge for the people who write the viruses.

Turning off Vista’s User Account Control will leave your PC much more vulnerable, but if you find yourself grinding your teeth more than working, Administrator account holders may turn off the permission screens by following these steps:

  1. Click the Start button, choose Control Panel, and then click User Accounts and Family Safety.

  2. Click User Accounts and choose Turn User Account Control On or Off.

    As you try to shut it up, Windows sends out one last gasping permission screen.

  3. Give permission to continue.

    Click Continue or enter your password and click OK to access the System Configuration area.

  4. Click to remove the check mark from the Use User Account Control (UAC) to Help Protect Your Computer check box and click OK.

    A window appears, saying that you must restart your computer to apply your changes. Click the window’s handy Restart Now button to restart your PC. It will wake up in a much more permissive mood.

If you change your mind, turn the Permissions screens back on by following Steps 1 through 4 but adding the check mark in Step 4.

Although turning off the User Account Control feature will stop the nagging permission screens, Vista’s Security Center will begin nagging you that your computer is at risk because the User Account Control has been turned off.

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