Working around UAC

This content is 17 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

There’s been a lot written about Windows Vista’s user account control (UAC) and personally I can’t see what the criticsm is about (Mac OS X and Linux both have similar mechanisms, although the implementation is slightly different); however it was interesting to hear Steve Lamb mention at a recent event that commands launched from a command shell (cmd.exe) running as administrator will not invoke UAC.

Of course it goes without saying that, just as when running a root shell in Linux, the use of such sessions should be limited and I’ve written previously about how the shortcut to run cmd.exe as an administrator can be modified to make it very obvious that elevated permissions are in use.

Steve also pointed out that, if developers wrote less code that requires privileged execution, then UAC would not appear so frequently. Although UAC behaviour can be modified in group policy, it is not recommended.

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