Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
User Account Control is a security feature of Windows 7 that's intended to protect you from malware making unauthorized changes. I'll look at configuring it.
I am the ONLY person using an Acer notebook with Windows 7 and have full administrator authorization, obviously. Nevertheless, there are many things that I cannot do (like unmark 'Read Only' from some folders or move/copy files into them. I get a message saying, 'You need full administration rights to do this'). If I click Continue, nothing happens. So the question is: how do I TOTALLY disable ANY limitations on the operation of this computer and in Windows 7?
As I discussed in an earlier article, Why does my computer say I need to be administrator, when I am?, even when you're logged in using an account that has administrative privileges, you're not really running as administrator. You'll still need to confirm administrative operations - those operations requiring what's called "elevation" to true administrator.
User Account Control, or UAC, is an important and, in my mind, very valuable security feature. It prevents malicious software that you might accidentally run from having administrative access and wreaking all sorts of havoc.
I don't recommend turning it off. Not at all.
However, for those that insist, I'll show you how.
Open Control Panel and click on System and Security:
Click on Change User Account Control Settings:
This should open the User Account Control Settings dialog:
This is where you'll make your change.
Windows 7 introduced the ability to adjust UAC to different levels.
Never notify: Click and drag the UAC control to the bottom to effectively turn off UAC. You won't be notified, no matter what happens. (This is roughly equivalent to Windows XP's operation when logged in as administrator.)
Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop): While it seems like the visual "do not dim" is the primary point here, it's not really. Dimming the display is a side effect of Windows taking additional steps to prevent malware from automatically answering the UAC prompt on your behalf. With this setting, sufficiently sophisticated malware has the opportunity to bypass the UAC prompt.
Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer: As indicated, this is the default setting. When the UAC prompt is presented, Windows switches to what's called a "secure desktop" - the dim desktop that prevents certain types of malicious interactions.
Always notify me when: This setting notifies not only when programs attempt to make changes, but when you make changes as well. Much like the item above, it's an additional step that prevents malware from "pretending to type" as if it were you. For example, malware might automatically send fake keystrokes that fired up control panel and turned off your firewall. Without this warning, you'd never know or have a chance to disallow the setting change.
Microsoft has a more detailed What are User Account Control settings? article online if you'd like more.
If you're a half-way knowledgeable user and don't run around visiting the darker or more questionable side of the internet or download lots of potentially questionable software, the default setting is appropriate. It's what I run and I don't find it objectionable at all. In fact, it serves as a fine reminder that something that modifies my system is about to happen.
I'd recommend the highest level setting for those who are less experienced or don't have a clear sense of what may or may not be safe.
Turning UAC off is, of course, an option. As I said above, it's roughly equivalent to the way that Windows XP ran for years. Of course, XP was (and remains) vulnerable to everything that UAC in Windows Vista and Windows 7 protects you against.
So as you can imagine, I no longer consider turning UAC off completely a wise decision, except perhaps in some extreme or problematic cases.
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