Security Feature in Windows Vista Could Drive Users Nuts
An annoying surprise awaits 2 million consumers expected to enthusiastically step forward in the next few weeks to help Microsoft test its new Windows Vista PC operating system. Beta 2 testers can expect to encounter an obtrusive security feature, called User Account Control (UAC). Designed to prevent intruders from performing harmful tasks, the feature grays out the computer screen, then prods you to confirm that you really want to do certain functions.
In early test versions, the queries crop up so often that they interrupt routine tasks, such as changing the time clock or deleting shortcuts. And UAC sometimes triggers an endless loop of dialogue boxes that can be curtailed only by rebooting, says Paul Thurrott, news editor of Windows IT Pro magazine.
“Microsoft completely botched UAC,” Thurrott says. “It’s almost criminal in its insidiousness.”
Microsoft counters that refinements are being continually made. “The final product will be very usable and have a good balance of security,” says Windows senior product manager Alex Heaton.
Security experts worry that Vista users will dismiss the dialogue boxes, clicking through them rapidly and undermining any security benefit. Or they will figure out how to turn off UAC. “Consumers, sadly, are probably going to disable it,” Thurrott says. More info…