I am still surprised at how often people don't know about this feature of Windows Vista and don't use it. It's a great security feature, however the implementation could have been just a smidge bit better.
By default all programs, even if you are an Administrator on your computer, do not run with administrator rights. You have to actually tell Windows, "run this program as an administrator". This provides a higher level of security because programs used to always assume they had full administrator rights, and could thus do anything they wanted. This is extremely bad if you run a piece of spyware, a virus, or something worse. Now with the User Access Control system in Windows Vista you will be prompted anytime a program tries to do something that requires administrator rights. So if you are browsing the web and suddenly get a UAC prompt, it is best to cancel it and close your browser to be safe. When before you would have been infected and that would have been the end of the story.
Last Updated: 09/05/2009 04:06 AM