Windows 7 will nag users 29% less often, Microsoft claims

Promises nearly a third fewer UAC prompts than in Vista

One of the most hated features of Windows Vista will be seen a third less often by users of the upcoming Windows 7, a Microsoft executive promised Monday.

"You'll see a lot fewer UAC prompts in Windows 7," said Paul Cook, the director of Windows 7 client enterprise security.

User Account Control, or UAC, the security feature that debuted in Vista, was designed to reduce the chance that malware could hijack a PC by forcing users to confirm that they really meant to do such things as install new software or modify key operating system settings.

People hated it, calling it intrusive and worse, forcing Microsoft to reduce the number of UAC prompts - pop-ups that prevented the user from doing anything but dealing with the dialog box - even before it launched Vista. And earlier this year, a senior-level executive cited a study that said user "click fatigue" had convinced the company to further scale back the prompts in Windows 7.<

Monday, Cook claimed that Windows 7 users would face UAC significantly less often than people running Vista: "From our beta and internal testing, we expect a 29% decrease in UAC prompts compared to Windows Vista," he said.

Among the changes Microsoft's made to UAC that will drive that decrease, Cook cited several specific examples, then pointed to the new "slider bar" that will let users fine tune the intensity of the security feature. "We've reduced 16 different points of prompting," Cook claimed, ranging from allowing a standard user to pull operating system updates without seeing a prompt to viewing (but not changing) firewall settings sans a pop-up. Nor will Windows' own components throw up a UAC prompt, Cook added.

Microsoft has already modified Windows 7's UAC for reasons other than prompt reduction; In February, the company responded to critics who argued it could be easily disabled by attackers, saying that it would change the feature to make it more secure when it rolled out a release candidate.

The company has not confirmed a ship date for Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), but a page on Microsoft's site that was live for several hours this weekend pegged May 5 as the availability date for partners.

Cook said he expects the reduction of UAC prompts in Windows 7 to exceed the preliminary data Microsoft's acquired so far. "Personally, I expect that number to go up as it gets in the hands of more unsophisticated users," he said, referring to the time when Windows 7 is pre-installed in new PCs and in the hands of people who don't typically bother beta testing software.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags paul cookMicrosoftWindows 7

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?