Although users have valid reasons for objecting to UAC in its present form, it still is the best automatic protection against malware and poorly-coded applications provided in any version of Windows. Our time is not so precious that we can’t click away a warning or two in the course of normal use, and when Vista bleats by activating the secure desktop, it’s certainly going to get our attention. In a way, it’s better to deal with the devil we know than wonder about the devil we don’t.
That’s my position. I don’t think that UAC is flawless, and it annoys me more than it helps me. Still, if it keeps me from doing something stupid every month or two, it’s worth dealing with the rest of time.
Want to reduce the number of UAC prompts that you experience? I have some suggestions.
First, don’t use the “Run" menu choice in Internet Explorer. That basically downloads whatever app you’re interested in to a temporary folder on your desktop and runs it from there. Of course, UAC won’t like this. Try saving the file to your PC instead, and then run your antivirus program on it before double-clicking the file.
Even better, try using Firefox as your main web browser. Firefox has its own built-in safeguards, like running your antivirus program on any downloaded files, but it does not have Internet Explorer’s “Protected Mode" which is responsible for so many UAC prompts.
Keep your applications updated. Third-party providers are getting better and better at having their applications avoid or reduce UAC prompts.
And, as I find myself writing so often, enable Windows Update on your PC and set it to update at a time when your computer is actually on. I’m amazed to no end at how many folks leave it at Vista’s default setting, which is 3:00 am.