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What are User Account Control settings?

What are User Account Control settings?
User Account Control (UAC) notifies you before changes are made to your computer that require administrator-level permission. The default UAC setting notifies you when programs try to make changes to your computer, but you can control how often you are notified by UAC by adjusting the settings.
The following table provides a description of the UAC settings and the potential impact of each setting to the security of your computer.
Setting
Description
Security Impact
Always notify
  • You will be notified before programs make changes to your computer or to Windows settings that require the permissions of an administrator.
  • When you're notified, your desktop will be dimmed, and you must either approve or deny the request in the UAC dialog box before you can do anything else on your computer. The dimming of your desktop is referred to as the secure desktop because other programs can't run while it's dimmed.
  • This is the most secure setting.
  • When you are notified, you should carefully read the contents of each dialog box before allowing changes to be made to your computer.
Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer
  • You will be notified before programs make changes to your computer that require the permissions of an administrator.
  • You will not be notified if you try to make changes to Windows settings that require the permissions of an administrator.
  • You will be notified if a program outside of Windows tries to make changes to a Windows setting.
  • It's usually safe to allow changes to be made to Windows settings without you being notified. However, certain programs that come with Windows can have commands or data passed to them, and malicious software can take advantage of this by using these programs to install files or change settings on your computer. You should always be careful about which programs you allow to run on your computer.
Notify me only when programs try to make changes to my computer (do not dim my desktop)
  • You will be notified before programs make changes to your computer that require the permissions of an administrator.
  • You will not be notified if you try to make changes to Windows settings that require the permissions of an administrator.
  • You will be notified if a program outside of Windows tries to make changes to a Windows setting.
  • This setting is the same as "Notify only when programs try to make changes to my computer," but you are not notified on the secure desktop.
  • Because the UAC dialog box isn't on the secure desktop with this setting, other programs might be able to interfere with the dialog's visual appearance. This is a small security risk if you already have a malicious program running on your computer.
Never notify
  • You will not be notified before any changes are made to your computer. If you are logged on as an administrator, programs can make changes to your computer without you knowing about it.
  • If you are logged on as a standard user, any changes that require the permissions of an administrator will automatically be denied.
  • If you select this setting, you will need to restart the computer to complete the process of turning off UAC. Once UAC is off, people that log on as administrator will always have the permissions of an administrator.
  • This is the least secure setting. When you set UAC to never notify, you open up your computer to potential security risks.
  • If you set UAC to never notify, you should be careful about which programs you run, because they will have the same access to the computer as you do. This includes reading and making changes to protected system areas, your personal data, saved files, and anything else stored on the computer. Programs will also be able to communicate and transfer information to and from anything your computer connects with, including the Internet.


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