The types of actions that require elevation to administrator status (and therefore display a UAC elevation prompt) include those that make changes to system-wide settings or to files in %SystemRoot% or %ProgramFiles%. Among the actions that require elevation:
- Installing and uninstalling applications
- Installing device drivers
- Installing ActiveX controls
- Installing Windows Updates
- Changing settings for Windows Firewall
- Changing UAC settings
- Configuring Windows Update
- Adding or removing user accounts
- Changing a user’s account type
- Configuring Parental Controls
- Running Task Scheduler
- Restoring backed-up system files
- Viewing or changing another user’s folders and files
Within Windows Vista, you can identify in advance many actions that require elevation. A shield icon next to a button or link indicates that a UAC prompt will appear.
I’ve been using the final release of Windows Vista every day for nearly three months. I rarely see a UAC prompt, and when I do, it takes one click to deal with it. On at least two occasions, I have decided against installing something as a direct result of seeing a UAC prompt. It made me stop and think about whether I really trusted the program I was installing. In both cases I went and did more research, found some bad reviews, and decided against installing the program in question. That’s worth the price of admission for UAC, in my book.