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Microsoft to overhaul UAC in Windows 7

'Controversial' security tool isn't working

Microsoft has admitted that its User Account Control (UAC) tool is a nuisance for Windows Vista users, and has promised to overhaul the security feature in Windows 7.

Ben Fathi, corporate vice president of development for Microsoft's Windows Core Operating System Division, said on the Engineering Windows 7 blog that UAC is one of the "most controversial" Vista features, and that it plans to make prompts displayed by the tool "more informative" in future.

UAC was introduced in Vista to give users more control over security, but many people found the tool to be over-zealous in warning about apparently trivial 'threats'.

Windows 7 preview: what we know so far

"UAC was created with the intention of putting you in control of your system, reducing cost of ownership over time and improving the software ecosystem," Fathi said. "What we've learned is that we only got part of the way there in Vista and some folks think we accomplished the opposite."

The security tool allows only those with administrative privileges to make changes to a PC, but in its current form it can also prevent authorised users on the network from being able to access applications and features they should normally have access to.

Microsoft has now promised that UAC's "unnecessary or duplicated prompts in Windows and the ecosystem" will be reduced so critical prompts can be more easily identified.

Windows 7, Microsoft's next desktop OS, is scheduled for release in early 2010, but few details have emerged so far. However, the first pre-beta version of Windows 7 will be in the hands of developers later this month. The company confirmed in September that every attendee at the Professional Developers' Conference will get a pre-beta build of Windows 7 on an external USB 2.0 drive.

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