For years people in the world of Unix based operating systems (Linux, BSD, Mac Os X, etc) have had an advantage over Windows.
They had a setting that was created to make programs ask for permission before they made any significant changes to their computer.
In most versions of Windows, if you were already logged into administrative mode, which most people are, then a program could do anything that it wanted to.
Your computer was just a sitting duck – as soon as you click the button to install, it was fair game.
This was especially true for programs that would install without your knowledge.
In other operating systems this is hard to do since they need you to type in sudo and then your password.
But in Windows, since you are logged in as administrator, that program could do whatever it wanted.
Now in Windows 7 this is no longer the case.
(Well it was actually starting in Windows Vista, but Windows 7 has made the process so much better)
In Windows 7 they have the UAC.
User Account Control
UAC stands User Account Control.
It allows the user to be warned about what is being installed on his or her computer.
When a program is initiated it will display a pop up asking do you really want to install it.
After you confirm, it then starts the install process.
If it runs into part of the install that has to do with sensitive files for the operating system then it may ask for permission once again and ask do you really want to do this.
You give it permission again and it finishes what it was doing.
This process may be more involved than other installations in the past but it is needed.
It keeps it so that someone cannot sneak a piece of malware on your computer without you knowing.
Security is the end goal for Windows 7 so everything must ask permission before it is allowed to operate.
Turning UAC Off Can Leave You Vulnerable
Windows users are not used to this setting however – it is what made so many people upset when Windows Vista was first released.
The constant pop ups started to get on peoples’ nerves so they would search for ways to turn it off.
Windows 7 has made the interface for the pop ups asking for permission less annoying than it was before but people still have bad flashbacks about Windows Vista.
They do not bother giving the new version a chance and they turn the UAC off once again.
Doing this puts their computer at a high state of risk.
Microsoft did not create that feature and then leave it in the next version just so they can annoy people, they did it so that they could offer the safest computing experience that they can.
They have learned from past mistakes and, in the age of the internet, security is a high priority.
Turning off UAC is never a good idea.
You can adjust the settings so that it doesn’t pop up as much, but if you turn it off, you will leave your computer open to infection.
Read more on Windows 7 Security