A huge part of Microsoft’s challenge with making Vista look like an improvement on its Windows predecessor is User Account Control (UAC), the security rewrite which means Vista constantly challenges any application which tries to do anything even vaguely out of the ordinary. Sadly, Microsoft hasn’t pledged to kill off UAC when Windows 7 arrives, but in a new post on its Engineering Windows 7 blog, it has suggested that it will try and tone down the more offensive nagging aspects:
Based on what we’ve learned from our data and feedback we need to address several key issues in Windows 7:
* Reduce unnecessary or duplicated prompts in Windows and the ecosystem, such that critical prompts can be more easily identified.
* Enable our customers to be more confident that they are in control of their systems.
* Make prompts informative such that people can make more confident choices.
* Provide better and more obvious control over the mechanism.
Microsoft has also acknowledged that the all-pervasive nature of UAC might be counter-productive:
We are seeing consumer administrators approving 89% of prompts in Vista and 91% in SP1. We are obviously concerned users are responding out of habit due to the large number of prompts rather than focusing on the critical prompts and making confident decisions.
My own take? In 18 months, UAC has never once flagged a security breach, but it has constantly interrupted me when I'm trying to get Vista to fix problems with networking, and has suggested that app installs from major vendors (Microsoft included) are untrustworthy, so any improvement would be welcome.