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Windows Vista’s UAC feature failed Microsoft?

Experts agree that Microsoft’s Windows Vista is relatively well-protected, but its security features — such as User Account Control (UAC) — have been highlighted by security experts as one reason why the operating system is far less popular than its predecessor, Windows XP.

According to Scott Charney, vice president of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, UAC was designed to give users more control over the applications they run and help them make better security decisions by providing them with more information. However, the main problem with Vista’s UAC, according to Charney, is that it prompts the user far too often.

“Clearly there has to be work done on UAC user prompts, where users get prompts at times they don’t necessarily expect it — and it’s not intuitive. The challenge is — as with many of these things when we try to give users control — if you give people too many prompts in too many situations, they view it as an impediment,” Charney told ZDNet.com.au yesterday at the AusCERT security conference on the Gold Coast.

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