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 Good Gear Guide 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

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?