Windows 7 to tone down User Account Control

Engineers working on the newest Microsoft operating system acknowledge that Vista's security prompts are annoying users.

Engineers working on Windows 7 are promising to tone down User Account Controls in the forthcoming operating system, admitting that Vista's system was too intrusive.

"We've heard loud and clear that you are frustrated," said Microsoft engineer Ben Fathi, in a posting on the Windows 7 engineering blog. "You find the prompts too frequent, annoying, and confusing. We still want to provide you control over what changes can happen to your system, but we want to provide you a better overall experience."

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According to Fathi, when Vista first launched, 775,312 unique applications were producing prompts,mainly because "much of the software ecosystem unnecessarily required admin privileges to run."

This, he claimed, has fallen to 168,149 as developers have adapted to Vista's new requirements. He also argued that number of sessions marred by one or more UAC prompts has declined from 50 per cent to 33 per cent.

Although some may be disappointed to hear that UAC will not be scrapped, Fathi has promised to "evolve" the feature for the next version of Windows, based on customer feedback.

"The benefits UAC has provided to the ecosystem and Windows are clear; we need to continue that work," said Fathi in the post.

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"Moving forward we will look at the scenarios we think are most important for our users so we can ensure none of these scenarios include prompts that can be avoided."

The comments echo those of Steve Ballmer, who admitted at a conference in London that "the biggest trade off we made was sacrificing security for compatibility. I'm not sure the end-users really appreciated that trade off."

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