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Windows 7: What are the implications of disabling the UAC

12 Aug 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) (build 7600) English
 
 
What are the implications of disabling the UAC

Hi, I'm getting sick and tired of the User Access Control popping up every time I launch some particular programs (plus its restrictions on editing of files). So I'm thinking of turning it off permanently.
I read Microsofts explanation of what the UAC does but I'm still unclear on the implications of turning it off. E.g. is it just a warning to the user or does it also protect you from programs doing things silently in the background. Also if I disable it will the equivalent of Windows XP protection on what programs are allowed to run still exist?
I'm not worried about the chance of me inadvertently corrupting my Windows installation (as I'll just restore if from a disk image). All I care about is a malicious program stealing my data or bank password.
Thanks.

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12 Aug 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Well UAC in tehory is supposed to protect you from programs running with full rights without your permissions and really, it does just that. If you disable it, it is sort of like a return to XP protection, which in reality isn't much and leaves you wide open to anything. Personally speaking, if I was going to disable UAC on all my Vista and 7 machines, I would have just stuck to XP because it wouldn't have been that much better.

But I have seen people running withou UAC and their machines are fine. If you know what you're doing, then you should have no issues.
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12 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Is UAC really that annoying? It's just the need to click "yes" once in a while. Turning it off would allow you to change stuff you have no business messing with and allow programs to do what they want without permission. In some cases that won't happen. Instead, absolutely nothing will happen you will have no clue why when you try to do something, it just doesn't happen.

A little story from personal experience. One time a few months ago I was sitting near my computer while watching TV. A UAC warning popped up asking about some program I had never heard of. I click know and ran a scan with MSE. Sure enough it found a keylogger. If UAC is off, such a warning will not appear.
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12 Aug 2010   #4

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

If you run a good AV it should pick this us anyway
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12 Aug 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spiderplant0 View Post
does it also protect you from programs doing things silently in the background.
Yes it does and is the primary reason that I leave it enabled. if an applications needs to escalate up to admin credentials, I want to know about it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spiderplant0 View Post
Also if I disable it will the equivalent of Windows XP protection on what programs are allowed to run still exist?
Yes, but Windows XP was terrible as far as security was concerned. Everything was done as an admin and hence the reason so many machines were compromised.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by spiderplant0 View Post
I'm not worried about the chance of me inadvertently corrupting my Windows installation (as I'll just restore if from a disk image). All I care about is a malicious program stealing my data or bank password.
Thanks.
Sounds like a good reason to keep running as many of the security features as you can.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I like to think of UAC as a safety net. Recently, I had a colleague who hated UAC and always disabled it. I actually explained to him the benefits and if it annoys him so much, to put it on "auto-pilot" though I didn't recommend it but to at least keep the protections on. Sure, for the most part most of us will not download a malicious program intentionally but there will always be that one time one will sneak past us and UAC is there to catch it.
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12 Aug 2010   #7

Win 7 32 Home Premium, Win 7 64 Pro, Win 8.1 Pro
 
 

Having the UAC enabled could save you some problems down the road. Yes it's annoying, but it's a minefield out there on the net, not all AV's catch everything.

It's added protection, and as Petey7 said, it can let you know if somethings trying to launch that you have no idea about. Same for what pparks1 said.

I would keep it on. PIA? Yes. Every layer of protection you can run on your PC? Well worth it.
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12 Aug 2010   #8

Windows Server 2008 R2
 
 

Not only that, but if you are getting constant UAC prompts (and running as an administrative account) in Windows 7, then I would have to ask what you are running that would be causing it. The only things that should trigger it are applications needing to write to protected registry locations like HKLM or HKCR, or protected folder locations like the Program Files or Windows directories - these sorts of things are considered "OK" by installers (which you would expect would trigger UAC, as they need the highest access possible), but if programs running everyday need these sorts of accesses, the problem is not UAC, it's the poorly-designed program itself. Only specific OS binaries for administration and installation or removal of apps should be triggering UAC, so if it's going off constantly I would perhaps consider the apps you're running might be due for replacement. You can disable it if you wish, as it's more a part of defense-in-depth rather than a true security mechanism in and of itself, but it *does* provide a (very good) layer of security. The choice is yours, but I would choose to leave it on if I were in your shoes.
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12 Aug 2010   #9

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

Another thing, I'm 99% sure, you will still have to run some programs as administrator even without UAC on.
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12 Aug 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 x2 + x86 + Windows 8.1 x64 x2
 
 

One other thing with UAC it is intrinsically linked with protected mode in IE8 - switching off UAC also removes a lot of the more advanced protection from Internet explorer.

IE may not be your 1st choice browser but almost everyone will find themselves reverting for particular sites

I'd rather have the better protection working on what is probably the most targeted browser for the malware writers
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 What are the implications of disabling the UAC





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