- What is the purpose of User Account Control?
- Disable UAC via the Control Panel
- Disable UAC via the Registry Editor
You may have noticed that when you perform certain "sensitive" operations on your PC – installing new software, for example – Windows displays a warning window indicating that this action will result in changes and asks for your permission to continue. This warning comes from User Account Control(UAC), a protection mechanism that has been built into Windows since Vista, and is therefore present in Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.
What is the purpose of User Account Control?
Activated by default and working constantly in the background, User Account Control acts as a security barrier. Its role is to prevent certain actions – especially those coming from applications – from touching sensitive system functions. Technically, UAC operates on the basis of the notion of access rights – also known as privileges – associated with user accounts. It is the level of rights granted that allows or denies access to certain functions – installing applications, deleting files, launching processes, saving to system folders, etc.
In Windows, the administrator type accounts are the only ones to have the highest rights that allow them to do everything – logical! -The others, of the standard type, have only limited rights. By default, applications launch with limited rights, even when used with an administrator account. And when they need more rights, to perform certain operations, they ask the system for them. This is precisely where UAC comes in, by displaying an alert to ask the administrator for permission to grant the application rights. This warning is designed to prevent unknown, potentially malicious software from quietly granting itself access rights to the system. To put it in a nutshell, the UAC is like a security guard who filters the customers of an establishment, making sure that no one enters the back room without explicit authorization from the boss!
As valuable as it is, this control can be annoying in the long run, especially when the warning is displayed several times a day. That’s why some users prefer to disable it. It’s a simple operation, but not recommended for obvious security reasons. To put it plainly, only disable UAC if you really know what you are doing on your PC and if you have full knowledge of the software you are doing!
How to disable User Account Control via the Control Panel?
The easiest way to disable UAC is through the Control Panel, which is present in all versions of Windows since Vista, including Windows 10.
- Click on the Startmenu, scroll down the list of applications, open theWindows System folder, and then click on Control Panel.
- In the main Control Panel window, click on theUser Accountsheading.
- In the next window, click on User Accounts again.
- In theEdit Your User Accountsection, click on Edit User Account Control Settings.
- The User Account Control Settings window will appear, showing a gauge that indicates how much security is currently set on your computer.
- Set the gauge to the lowest setting to completely disable UAC, then click OK.
- To re-enable user account control, simply repeat the same procedure and raise the gauge to the desired security level.
How to disable UAC with the Registry Editor?
The other way to disable UAC is to edit the Windows registry. Here again, the manipulation is valid for all versions of the system since Vista, but it is more delicate, the registry being a very sensitive element. Before any modification, make a backup of the registry (see our practical sheet).
- In the Start menu, go to Windows Administrative Tools and click on the Registry Editor shortcut.
- Browse to the following path in the left-hand menu tree: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionpoliciesSystem.You can also paste this path directly into the address bar of the editor.
- In the right part of the window, identify the value EnableLUA. Right-click on it, then click onEdit … in the context menu.
- In the window for modifying the value, enter 0 in the Value data field , then click on OK to validate.
- Restart your computer for the deactivation to take effect.
- To reactivate the user account control, repeat the same procedure and enter 1 in the Value data field.