Understanding User Account Control

User Account Control (UAC) is a feature that started with Windows Vista and is included with Windows Server 2008 that helps prevent unauthorized changes to your computer. If you are logged in as an administrator, UAC asks you for permission, and if you are logged in as a standard user, UAC asks you for an administrator password before performing actions that can potentially affect your computer’s operation or that change settings that
affect other users. Because the UAC is designed to make sure that unauthorized changes are not made, especially by malicious software that you may not know you are running, you need to read the warnings carefully, and then make sure the name of the action or program that’s about to start is one that you intended to start.

As a standard user, in Windows Server 2008 R2, you can do the following without requiring administrative permissions or rights:

  • Install updates from Windows Update.
  • Install drivers from Windows Update or those that are included with the operating system.
  • View Windows settings.
  • Pair Bluetooth devices with the computer.
  • Reset the network adapter and perform other network diagnostic and repair tasks.

When an application requests elevation or is run as administrator, UAC will prompt for confirmation and, if consent is given, allow access as an administrator.

UAC cannot be enabled or disabled for any individual user account. Instead, you enable or disable UAC for the entire computer. If you disable UAC for user accounts, you lose the additional security protections UAC offers and put the computer at risk. However, if you perform a lot of administrative tasks on a computer, the UAC prompts can be annoying and can stop you from performing certain actions including saving to the root directory
of a drive.

Enable or Disable UAC

To enable or disable UAC for a particular user account, follow these steps:

  1. In Control Panel, click User Accounts.
  2. On the User Accounts page, click User Accounts.
  3. Click the Change User Account Control settings. See Figure below.
  4. Then slide the slider to the appropriate option level as shown in Table below.
  5. When prompted to restart the computer, click Restart Now or Restart Later as appropriate for the changes to take effect.
    User Account Control 1

    Figure: UAC Settings

    User Account Control 2