How to disable User Account Control like a pro

Question: What’s the number one thing that pisses you off about Windows?

Pick any fairly recent version of Windows: Windows 8, Windows 7 and Vista included.

If you could fix one thing what would it be?

I don’t know which Windows feature you feel the greatest antipathy toward but I bet if you’re running Windows 8 or newer it’s the missing start menu.  Or maybe it’s the stupid hot corners in Windows 8 that impulsively emerge from the screen edges all the time.

In Windows 7 it was inane taskbar that only displays a single button icon for each application.

Ahh, but whatever your gripe is I’m pretty sure User Account Control (UAC) is some on that list.

What the hell is it?

The key word in User Account Control is: Control.

UAC is Microsoft’s abortive effort to help you stay in control of your computer by pestering you every freakin’ time an application attempts to modify your system in a way that requires admin permissions.

At first blush it sounds like a great idea – well at least in the abstract; however, in actual use it’s a vexing pain in the ass that really annoys me.

On the one hand, UAC really does help you stay in control because if you see an application bugging you for administrator permissions and you don’t recognize it, you can click Deny and possibly obviate a security breach.   Furthermore, UAC is a boon for enterprise businesses because it can effectively deter users from intentionally or accidentally installing software prohibited by IT.

On the other hand UAC sucks balls.

Why?

Because if you’re an average user who knows what he’s doing or a seasoned pro adept with PCs then UAC just gets in the way.

That’s why today I’m going to show you how to disable UAC.

Now keep in mind, I don’t suggest leaving it off forever.

After all, the most perturbing phase of the User Account Control boxes is when you’re setting up a new PC.  You’re installing new software and trying to get everything right but once you have your PC conforming to your fastidious preferences, UAC won’t bark at you.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, it’s a bad idea to disable UAC because invidious programs can furtively modify settings under the radar.  With UAC enabled you can catch some of the bad guys before they catch you.

That being said, if you feel like your on the brink of losing your mind with all the importuning UAC prompts chiming on your screen, here’s how to disable UAC like a pro: from the good ol’ command line.

First we need to kick open the command prompt with elevated permissions.  In Windows 8 and 8.1 you can type Windows Key + x + a.  In Windows 7 and Vista just press the Windows Key, type cmd and then press Ctrl + Shift + Enter.

Now copy and paste the following command to disable User Account Control:

cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

If you look closely you can see we’re adding a registry key called EnableLUA and setting the value to zero.

You can just as easily enable UAC again by changing the slash-d-zero value to slash-d-one like this (it’s the fourth non-space character from the end of the string):

C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k %windir%\System32\reg.exe ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System /v EnableLUA /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

You’re changes will become effective after rebooting.

Best of all you’ll get your sanity back.

Share your life changing experience in the comments! haha

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Posted in Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8 Tagged with: ,