From a security standpoint, all Windows 7 users should typically run as "standard users": in case a virus infects your computer, it will only have the same privileges as you do, which in most cases will mitigate the damage. The downside of running as standard user is getting the UAC prompts for any action that requires elevated permissions (though you can always configure UAC setting to a lower level, or even turn off UAC prompts altogether - definitely not recommended!) The other side of this equation is standard users who do not know the administrator's password they would need anyway: in that scenario, UAC prompts are not only (mostly) useless, but also an aggravation. This tutorial explains how to turn off UAC prompt for standard users, while keeping the same security settings (silent protection, in other words). This also prevents standard users from gaining elevated privileges even with administrative credentials!
Hide User Account Control prompts for non-administrative users
Follow these steps to eliminate UAC prompts for standard users:
- Click on the start menu, type "secpol.msc" and hit Enter.
- When the "Local Security Policy" editor ("snap-in") opens, double-click on "Local Policies" -for those affecting this particular machine- and double-click on "Security Options".
- Scroll down until you see a node labeled "User Account Control: Behavior of the Elevation Prompt for Standard Users" (careful, another policy starts with the same name, but actually affects computer administrators!) Double-click on it and the following dialog will open:
- The default behavior for standard users, selected in the dropdown menu pictured above, is "Prompt for credentials": whenever elevated privileges are required, they'll need to select an administrator and enter its password in a UAC prompt to proceed with the action.
- Click on the dropdown, and select the "Automatically deny elevation requests" option instead; click "OK" to apply the new setting: from this point on, standard users won't event get a UAC prompt when they attempt any task that needs administrative permissions. FYI: the "Prompt for credentials on the secure desktop" setting is a variant of the simple "Prompt for credentials" - the "secure desktop" ensures that the entire screen is grayed out, thus preventing third-party applications from mimicking the true look-and-feel of authentic UAC prompts.
Note that this setting takes effect immediately, so make sure that you and/or someone else does have the full administrator credentials, which will sooner or later be needed to logon to that computer. While this is a very secure setting, that eliminates possibilities even for those who have admin name and password, it can also become very impractical, especially for advanced "power" users, who'll find their computing experience quite frustrating! Be sure to see how you can also hide usernames and only show blank text boxes on the Windows 7 logon screen for an even safer computer.
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