User Account Control (UAC) notifies you before changes are made to your PC that require administrator-level permission. By default, UAC is set to notify you whenever applications try to make changes to your PC, but you can change how often UAC notifies you.

This table describes each UAC setting and how it can impact your PC's security.

Setting Description Security impact
Setting

Always notify me

Description
  • You'll be notified before applications make changes to your PC or to Windows settings that require administrator permissions.

  • When you're notified, your screen will be dimmed, and you must either approve or deny the request in the UAC dialogue box before you can do anything else on your PC.

Security impact
  • This is the most secure setting.

  • When you're notified, you should carefully read the contents of each dialogue box before allowing changes to be made to your PC.

Setting

Notify me only when applications try to make changes to my computer (default)

Description
  • You'll be notified before applications make changes to your PC that require administrator permissions.

  • You'll be notified if an application tries to make changes to a Windows setting.

  • You won't be notified if you try to make changes to Windows settings that require administrator permissions.

Security impact
  • It's usually safe to allow changes to be made to Windows settings without you being notified. However, certain applications that come with Windows can have commands or data passed to them, and malicious software can take advantage of this by using these applications to install files or change settings on your PC. You should always be careful about which applications you allow to run on your PC.

Setting

Notify me only when applications try to make changes to my computer (don't dim my desktop)

Description
  • You'll be notified before applications make changes to your PC that require administrator permissions.

  • You'll be notified if an application tries to make changes to a Windows setting.

  • You won't be notified if you try to make changes to Windows settings that require administrator permissions.

Security impact
  • This setting is the same as "Notify me only when apps try to make changes to my computer", but your desktop won't be dimmed.

  • If you choose this option, other applications might be able to interfere with the visual appearance of the UAC dialogue box. This is a security risk, especially if there's malware on your PC.

Setting

Never notify me

Description
  • You won't be notified before any changes are made to your PC. If you're signed in as an administrator, applications can make changes to your PC without your knowledge.

  • If you're signed with a standard user account, any changes that require administrator permissions will automatically be denied.

Security impact
  • This is the least secure setting. When you set UAC to never notify, you effectively turn off UAC. This opens up your PC to potential security risks.

  • If you set UAC to never notify, you should be careful about which applications you run, because they'll have the same access to the PC as you do. This includes reading and making changes to protected system areas, your personal data, saved files and anything else stored on the PC. Applications will also be able to communicate and transfer information to and from anything your PC connects with, including the Internet.

Note

  • Accessibility devices or applications – such as screen readers – work best with either the Always notify me or the Notify me only when applications try to make changes to my computer UAC settings.



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