Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Another question about UAC...

  1. #1


    Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit & Windows 8 RP 8400 64bit

    Another question about UAC...


    So like a lot of people I find the new UAC/security on windows 8 a pain and have disabled UAC in the registry to actually be able to use my computer without Microsoft telling me "are you sure" like I'm an idiot all the time.

    Is there any way to achieve total control of files and remove all the confirmations without losing all functionality of metro apps?

    As much as I like many of the new things in windows 8 I'm having a real hard time deciding between 7 and 8. I love the look of 8, the enhanced multi-monitor support and things like native USB3.0 is nice. But not being able to use metro apps and the new search which is split into 3 sections for no reason are a real pain and is making a decision very hard.

    Also Microsoft's move from clean installs to a very heavy emphasis on upgrades is very concerning. Anyone who builds and managed their own computers knows reinstalling an os that's an upgrade is just a pain.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello jtnzac,

    Yes, it does stink that while signed in the built-in Administrator account or you use the old Windows 7 and Vista method of setting the EnableLUA registry DWORD to 0 (zero) to disable completely disable UAC, it will break "Metro" Store apps preventing them from being able to run until EnableLUA is set back to 1 and the computer restarted. Use the steps in the tutorial below instead for Windows 8. The new "Metro" (Windows UI) being a separate UI than the desktop UI is the cause of this.


    When you have an administrator user account type, you do have full control over you system. It's just that when you want to do anything that affects the system, system files, or other users, you need to allow (Yes in UAC prompt) first for security purposes. This way it makes it much harder for say malware to just make elevated changes to your system without you getting a UAC prompt asking if it's ok to do so.

    For system files or anything that you do not have access rights to by default, you can also take ownership of and set permissions to "Allow" you "Full control" of it to then have full access to it.




    Hope this helps some,
    Shawn
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    So like a lot of people I find the new UAC/security on windows 8 a pain and have disabled UAC in the registry to actually be able to use my computer without Microsoft telling me "are you sure" like I'm an idiot all the time.
    It's not necessarily trying to protect you from yourself, but instead provide a layer of security around an application that wants to escalate on it's own. Perhaps you can trust all of your applications 100% of the time, but I would rather know when one is trying to escalate up without my knowing about it.

    With that said, I've run with UAC enabled on Windows Vista (turn down the slider a bit), and Windows 7 (leave slider at default), and no changes to Windows 8 UAC. A UAC prompt for me is few and far between and clicking OK is an absolute piece of cake.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    Also Microsoft's move from clean installs to a very heavy emphasis on upgrades is very concerning. Anyone who builds and managed their own computers knows reinstalling an os that's an upgrade is just a pain.
    I don't upgrade anything, EVER. What makes you say they are emphasizing upgrades now?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit & Windows 8 RP 8400 64bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Brink View Post
    Hello jtmzac,

    When you have an administrator user account type, you do have full control over you system. It's just that when you want to do anything that affects the system, system files, or other users, you need to allow (Yes in UAC prompt) first for security purposes. This way it makes it much harder for say malware to just make elevated changes to your system without you getting a UAC prompt asking if it's ok to do so.

    For system files or anything that you do not have access rights to by default, you can also take ownership of and set permissions to "Allow" you "Full control" of it to then have full access to it.

    Hope this helps some,
    Shawn
    I just shortened it a bit .

    I've done pretty much all that on my windows 7 install. It took a while but I took ownership of every file on my computer.

    It might seem reckless or stupid but I've never had an issue running windows 7 on minimum UAC with ownership of every file. I literally turn every security setting in IE off and I've never had a problem. The only thing I could possibly do to make even less work for me is to disable the recycle bin. I'm a power user that likes my os to just do what I tell it and let me make decisions as to what's safe and what's not.

    An indicator of how confident I am is that I desperately want IE to be able to automatically save files so I don't have to click the save button. (yes I realise the security risks)

    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    So like a lot of people I find the new UAC/security on windows 8 a pain and have disabled UAC in the registry to actually be able to use my computer without Microsoft telling me "are you sure" like I'm an idiot all the time.
    It's not necessarily trying to protect you from yourself, but instead provide a layer of security around an application that wants to escalate on it's own. Perhaps you can trust all of your applications 100% of the time, but I would rather know when one is trying to escalate up without my knowing about it.

    With that said, I've run with UAC enabled on Windows Vista (turn down the slider a bit), and Windows 7 (leave slider at default), and no changes to Windows 8 UAC. A UAC prompt for me is few and far between and clicking OK is an absolute piece of cake.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    Also Microsoft's move from clean installs to a very heavy emphasis on upgrades is very concerning. Anyone who builds and managed their own computers knows reinstalling an os that's an upgrade is just a pain.
    I don't upgrade anything, EVER. What makes you say they are emphasizing upgrades now?
    I'm a perfectionist and I try to make my computer as easy to control as possible. A confirmation just to move a file just feels like Microsoft telling me I'm an idiot and it drives me nuts.

    As for why Microsoft are pushing upgrades, I think the pricing makes it pretty obvious what they want consumers buying. I learnt my lesson after getting a window 7 ultimate upgrade. High end hardware and os upgrades cause headaches.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    As for why Microsoft are pushing upgrades, I think the pricing makes it pretty obvious what they want consumers buying. I learnt my lesson after getting a window 7 ultimate upgrade. High end hardware and os upgrades cause headaches.
    You can clean install from the upgrade media.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit & Windows 8 RP 8400 64bit


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    You can clean install from the upgrade media.
    Without installing the previous os that was installed before the upgrade? That's what I was actually referring to.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    You can clean install from the upgrade media.
    Without installing the previous os that was installed before the upgrade? That's what I was actually referring to.
    No, a previous OS has to be on the hard drive when you start...but you can elect to clean install it without doing an upgrade. It's not 100% convenient, but just install Windows 7, clean install the WIndows 8 upgrade disc and immediately make an image. From here on out, simply restore your image rather than install.

    The other option will be to forego the upgrade, and just buy the System Builder license/OEM license when it's released. That's a full install, can be moved from 1 machine to another, is suitable for a home hobbyist and will run around $100.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit & Windows 8 RP 8400 64bit


    Quote Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
    No, a previous OS has to be on the hard drive when you start...but you can elect to clean install it without doing an upgrade. It's not 100% convenient, but just install Windows 7, clean install the WIndows 8 upgrade disc and immediately make an image. From here on out, simply restore your image rather than install.

    The other option will be to forego the upgrade, and just buy the System Builder license/OEM license when it's released. That's a full install, can be moved from 1 machine to another, is suitable for a home hobbyist and will run around $100.
    This is what I was referring to as a bad thing. For the informed it's just a pain to have to install then upgrade but the average consumer might lose or throw out their copy of the old os which would obviously cause problems if something happened.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    So like a lot of people I find the new UAC/security on windows 8 a pain and have disabled UAC in the registry to actually be able to use my computer without Microsoft telling me "are you sure" like I'm an idiot all the time.
    Windows is not treating you like an idiot. In fact, it's treating you like an intelligent person, and giving you an opportunity to decide if you want an application to have elevated user rights or not. The purpose is to prevent software other than what you authorize from silently performing administrative actions on your computer.

    This is the software equivalent of requiring a photo ID to withdraw money from your bank account at the bank. Would you like it if anyone could walk up to a teller, say they're you, and clean out your bank account? That would be disastrous.

    Like asking for ID, it is better to place a small obstacle in the way of a legitimate user in order to ensure the integrity of the system. You may have never had a problem, but that's true only until you do.. And then you'll scream about how Microsoft's software is terrible and full of bugs and how they should have better security.

    It's like the poker player that goes "all-in" on every hand. It works every time, until it doesn't. Then you're wiped out. This is *NOT* the user treating you like an idiot. It's the user asking you to take an active role in protecting the security of your computer.

    UAC is not, however, only a security feature. It's also a compatibility feature. UAC includes features such as Virtual Registry and System folders that allow older programs that misbehave to work, even if they do things that would violate security (such as writing to the Program Files folder).

    UAC is also what allows Internet Explorers Protected Mode to function, which makes it very hard for attackers to exploit newly found flaws in the browser.

    But here's the thing most people don't know about UAC. UAC does not block, or stop you from accessing anything. UAC is what *ALLOWS* you to access otherwise protected functionality when the OS has been "locked down" (known as low-rights mode). It's like putting up a security fence around your house, and UAC is a guard at the gate that lets you through. Without that guard, you wouldn't be able to get to your own home.

    UAC is what raises your privilege level to the Administrative level and allows you to do Admin work. Low-rights mode is what makes the system locked-down.

    So, why does disabling UAC prevent Metro apps from functioning? Because Metro (called WinRT for Windows Run Time) is a separate subsystem, and Windows uses UAC (remember, it's a guard at a gate) to be the gatekeeper between the WinRT and Win32 (the classic applications) subsystems. Without UAC, you can't interoperate between the systems.

    My point in telling you this is that this is not just an arbitrary choice. There are technical reasons behind it. And those technical reasons are based on the security architecture of Windows.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    Is there any way to achieve total control of files and remove all the confirmations without losing all functionality of metro apps?
    As I mentioned above... No. The reason is that without UAC there is no way for the two subsystems to communicate.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    As much as I like many of the new things in windows 8 I'm having a real hard time deciding between 7 and 8. I love the look of 8, the enhanced multi-monitor support and things like native USB3.0 is nice. But not being able to use metro apps and the new search which is split into 3 sections for no reason are a real pain and is making a decision very hard.
    Or, here's a thought.. re-enable UAC and take an active role in the security of your computer. Look at it as an opportunity to control what you allow to use your computer. It's like the NoScript extension for Firefox and Chrome, it puts you in control.

    Personally, I don't find UAC to be an issue once Windows is setup. It can be a little annoying when you first get the OS because you're so busy poking around everywhere, but once you have things the way you want them, you almost never see a UAC prompt.

    I mean, let's put it this way. Would you deliberately setup your phone to allow anyone that walked by to make international phone calls without your knowledge? Download gigabytes of movies and cause you to get big charges from your phone company? I doubt it.

    Would you deliberately setup your car to allow anyone driving by to take control of your car and drive it off a cliff?

    Why would you want to allow that in your computer? Just to save a few mouse clicks or button presses? The fact of the matter is this idea that the os is "treating you like an idiot" is your misinterpretation of what it's actually doing.

    You're like an old man crossing the street with a semi-truck barreling down on you at 90Mph, and fighting off someone that is trying to prevent your untimely demise... Yelling about how you're being treated like an idiot, while the truck keeps right on coming.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtmzac View Post
    Also Microsoft's move from clean installs to a very heavy emphasis on upgrades is very concerning. Anyone who builds and managed their own computers knows reinstalling an os that's an upgrade is just a pain.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Microsoft has always offered upgrade versions of Windows. And, you can do a full, clean install using the upgrade media. You don't have to do an Upgrade install. I don't yet know whether the upgrade version will require that you put the previous OS on the disk first or not when doing a clean install from upgrade media, but this is really no different from Windows 7 if that's the case.

    The only difference here is the pricing, and the pricing is simply because the PC market is going into the toilet. Microsoft has not traditionally made a lot of money from upgrade sales of new OS's, but since new PC sales (the usual way people get a new version of an OS) have taken a nosedive, they are likely trying to supplement the standard route with additional Upgrade revenue.

    This is not a "heavy emphasis" on upgrades, it's just that Microsoft wants to encourage people that would otherwise not upgrade because they weren't going to buy a new PC. The $40 upgrade price is about what large OEM's pay for a copy of Windows anyways, so it's an attempt to replace the lost OEM sales with upgrade sales.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 15
    Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit & Windows 8 RP 8400 64bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    Windows is not treating you like an idiot. In fact, it's treating you like an intelligent person, and giving you an opportunity to decide if you want an application to have elevated user rights or not. The purpose is to prevent software other than what you authorize from silently performing administrative actions on your computer...
    Windows doesn't quite treat people like they're intelligent. If it did it would respect that there's people like me who want to run the os without confirmations everywhere and there would be more options to make it power user friendly.

    You do however make some good points but your examples get a bit out there and really depend on your point of view. How someone uses their computer will vary a lot person to person. I'm very aware of what I do on my pc and I'm the only one who uses it.

    If the programs and files you use/download are trustworthy there's no need to restrict them and make the user confirm their security and what they can do.

    If you are careful and watch what you use and download you are preventing nearly all possible threats. The user is the main preventer of viruses/malware ect. not security software or uac.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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