User Account Control (UAC) and administrator rights

User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 7 restricts the user and software to change major settings. This first hurdle must prevent the system to be infected by malicious software, but makes it more difficult to install and run software as well. Although UAC makes Windows safer, for many it is annoying. This security rule frequently interrupts all activity, because every change in system settings must be confirmed individually by the user. Unfortunately the frequency is very high, which causes the user to click them away as fast as possible. By clicking automatically to proceed malicious software will soon pass this security test and User Account Control won't be of any use. The executable files and system changes which have to be confirmed by UAC can be recognized by the shown administrator shield, which informs the user about the popup which will show up.

User Account Control (UAC) and administrator rights

Changing the User Account Control settings
By default, UAC comes in action when programs try to apply essential changes to the system. As an unpleasant side effect, UAC temporarily secures the desktop when prompting for elevation. Switching to the secured desktop can be disabled by the Control Panel item User Accounts, option Change User Account Control settings: adjust the slider one level lower. UAC can be disabled as well by setting the slider to Never notify which can be very useful when programs frequently apply essential system changes. If there is no need to, it is better to leave UAC on.

Notifications by User Account Control

Solving problems by changing permissions

Because of the additional permissions, some files (or registry settings) can't be changed by a certain user account (even the administrator accounts). In some cases, opening/reading files (outside the personal folders) is no problem but saving the same files can be almost impossible because of the limited permissions to write or modify files in these folder.

Problems with the permissions

The individual permissions can be taken care of in two ways: 1) running the program as administrator, or 2) changing the assigned permissions. This can be done by right clicking the file (or the folder/partition containing the file) in the Windows Explorer and to select Properties, tab Security. This screen will show that the group administrators have been assigned full permissions, while the group Users doesn't have any rights to make any changes in the files. These reduced permissions cause the error messages which indicate that the file can't be overwritten (but saving with another filename is no problem). These settings can be changed by clicking the button Edit, selecting the group Users, enabling the option Full control in the column Allow and clicking OK. If the changed permissions only need to be applied to one user account, the user name can be added first by clicking Add to add the name of the user account.

Changing the permissions: full control


If it's not possible to delete or move certain files because one of the running processes keeps it on hold? Track and disable the process with the Windows Task Manager (key combination CTRL-SHIFT-ESC) or Process Explorer (download: Replacing the Windows Task Manager by Process Explorer (Options, Replace Taskmanager) is in Windows 7 only possible by disabling User Account Control permanently (because that's not desirable, Process Explorer must be run by a shortcut).

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