The very first time I tried Windows Vista, I was annoyed by the UAC right away. User Account Control (UAC) is a that feature of Windows Vista that makes it so you are never actually logged-in as an administrator. Instead, whenever you need to accomplish a task that requires admin rights, you need to confirm that you actually want to do it. It’s not a bad idea per say, but it would have been a lot better if we had a little bit more control over it. For example, being able to choose what tasks will require the UAC prompt and the possibility to “remember” the prompts to which you have already answered.
Norton Labs offer a simple tool that replaces the standard Windows UAC and allows you to respond to each prompt only once. The Norton UAC tool allows an application to run with silently-elevated privileges only in a specific context, one previously approved by the user with the “don’t ask again” check box selected. This means that there is a difference between regedit.exe launched from the start->run box, regedit.exe originating from a shortcut double-click, and regedit.exe launched from a double click on a .reg file (and the context actually changes with each .reg file), and regedit.exe launched by an application (malicious or not). Given the contextual awareness of Norton UAC tool’s automatic responses, the Norton UAC tool provides a usability improvement over Vista’s default UAC prompts, while maintaining obvious security improvements in the Vista kernel (such as isolation, file/registry virtualization, and user interface privilege isolation) that are all disabled when UAC is disabled. Here is what the new prompts will look like:
The tool is available in 32-bits and 64-bits formats and is a free download. Simply install it and give it a shot. I think the only portion that is missing is the ability to tweak on which tasks the UAC is in function, but at least, its better than turning it off all together. Be aware that since this is a beta “Lab tool”, the program may send Meta Data back to Norton for analysis. Nothing private, but just what prompts are popping up and what you choose to do with them