User Account Control

I’ve really been enjoying the Engineering Windows 7 blog. The latest post is by Ben Fathi, the VP of core OS development for Microsoft. He talks about all the reasons the much-maligned User Account Control of Vista is the way it is, and what they’ve taken away from the tons of feedback they’ve gotten on it.

In the first several months after Vista was available for use, people were experiencing a UAC prompt in 50% of their “sessions” – a session is everything that happens from logon to logoff or within 24 hours. Furthermore, there were 775,312 unique applications (note: this shows the volume of unique software that Windows supports!) producing prompts (note that installers and the application itself are not counted as the same program.) This seems large, and it is since much of the software ecosystem unnecessarily required admin privileges to run. As the ecosystem has updated their software, far fewer applications are requiring admin privileges. Customer Experience Improvement Program data from August 2008 indicates the number of applications and tasks generating a prompt has declined from 775,312 to 168,149.